Monday, March 13, 2017

My Rough Theater

Peter Brook's article on the "rough theater' denotes both the imperfections of theatrical works and the roughness of the elements that occur in everyday life. He suggests that the element of chaos is important to the structural parts of life. He also suggests that the crudity of theater is a part of life itself, noting the pursuit of imperfection of noises by  early electronic composers in order to replicate real life instruments.  So in relation to film-making, my rough theater is this: I like grain.

I know what some of you are thinking. Grain is old and dated, and takes away from the detail of the image that can now be brought to life more clearly with digital photographic technology.

And honestly, you're probably right. Film stock has been around since the turn of the century, and its artifacts belong to a different age. But I would swing this the other has been around so long, that it would be a shame not to use it, or at least pay tribute to its cinematic qualities.

I'm not gonna begin to go into the digital vs film debate-film is expensive and creates limitations in the production of a movie or short.  Not to mention the potential accidents that could happen to a print during production or when processing it.

So, I'm not going to be bothered that most lower budget productions choose digital over film.

What I do desire is some sort of visual callback to the earlier technology, the simulation of grain creating the image. There are various plugins and settings for that in various editing programs, some free, most commercial.

I'm not endorsing GorillaGrain, but I did want to give an example for the sense of three-dimensionality and texture that grain adds. In film, the grain literally is the detail of the film (the halide crystals reacting to the light).

In digital, grain is an optional a visual effect (not to be confused with digital noise that results from poor lighting), but one that I think adds personality and a sense of richness to the image.

The "con" is that the image is no longer "perfect", but I think the richness comes from it's roughness.

It's a rough theater of picture and texture.

Of course, one could argue that in addition to these film artifacts, one must add "jitter", scratches, fake timing devices, and dust and hair fragments. Of course when going that far, one must add in the hum of the projector.

Or one can make clean, perfect pictures..the likes that exist all over the place.

Take this all with a *grain* of salt. Or film :P

Sunday, February 19, 2017

16mm experience

What can I say?

I scratched, bleached, doodled with sharpies and animated over clearleader,  The scratching turned things a greenish color before turning the image on the recorded 16mm transparent. The bleaching removed elements of the film stock, and the doodling created a sort of primitive animation overlay over the image.

The clearleader animations were mostly a waste of time, as I did not use enough duplicate frames to create a discernable moving image (the individual frames were projected too fast)

Nevertheless, my 75 frame tornado animation turned out decent (I supplemented the rest of the frames with alternate animations) , and my partner's creature animation turned out very well.

The magazine transfer seemed to jam the projector somehow, but it could be the wrinkles on the stock.  Anyway, I hope to see the final project on video.

 PS. Clearleader is kind of a blank film reel without any image or negative on it, designed to assist in projecting of film.

Week 3 readings

In the conversation with R.Murray Schafer, he recounts the importance of creating natural soundscapes over the loud, urban "sonic sewers" of the city.  He also compared the noisiness of the past with the overpowering loudness of the present.

The film "Listen" emphasizes natural soundscapes and the importance of listening to the sounds that occur in the real world. Schafer recommends reducing the amount of sounds that exists by tuning out artificial noise.

In Justin Boyd's video, he focuses on stimulating his hearing and attention to details on sound. He created a sound archive using cassettes. Sound stimulates the imagination-apparently.  Boyd also likes to manipulate sound data by putting it through makeshift filters, such as a bucket. 

In the Acoustic Ecology, acoustic activism is defined.  The author talks about how this movement gave rise to the idea that natural soundscapes are hi-fi, and that artificial ones are low-fi. This article talks about the rise of sound preservation and the regulation of human noise. 

The article also talks about the use of natural soundscapes as a recording art that appears in several CDs.  EarthEar being the prime composite of popular soundscape recordings.

The author finally finishes by talking about his own experiences in listening to sound. 

In my personal experience, when I go outside, there is never an absence of manmade traffic sounds, even in the early morning. I suppose it's what happens when you live near a public street. 

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Thoughts on Crowdsourcing

David Bratvold explains what Crowdsourcing is, the various types of crowdsourcing, and the necessity of clear instruction. In the Jimmy Wales TED talk, he explains his motivations for Wikipedia, and his aim to reach the entire world with Wikipedia. He talks about how highly successful it is-how he's able to use a volunteer system, and how the community is mostly complying with the standards of neutrality. He also talks about how he has administration votes for the deletion of fake articles, with litmus tests in regards to accuracy. It is basically using the democracy of hopefully unbiased volunteers to decide the fate of a page.

Aaron Koblin's TED talk examines the implications of monitoring human data. He talks about a crowdsourced music video as a tribute to Johhny Cash with the animations by the people involved.

I think the thing about crowd source data is that it needs an overarching standard to make it work. Without clear instructions or an obvious vision, individual components can falter.

Credit: The Standing O-An Obama Honoring Crowdsourced Gif Mosiac

Sunday, January 22, 2017

The First Materials

The Wikipedia article on Synesthesia was interesting in how it branched out on the types of synesthesia. Grapheme-color synesthesia  (numbers and letters having individual colors) being the most prominent form of it. Chromesthesia is the association of aural components with colors.

More forms are presented but I will not talk about them. It is not considered a disability, because it is not consider to impair the livelihood of people who have it.
What struck me as interesting is how synesthesia is used in art and music, and how there is a presents of the blending of the senses.
The TED talks were interesting as well. Cymatics incorporates sound data and their shapes and can be used for scientific exploration.
Daniel Tammet's talk was interesting in how it shows the role of synesthesia in art, language, and
 mathematics. He gives an illustration on how the word 'hare' gives a sad pictorial quality of vulnerability.

 The short we watched in the first class Monday had a cymatic quality. The animated strings responded
 to the music, and there was a sense of intensity to the red and green color pallette.

The idea of cross-sensory perception is interesting, because it is atypical but not "wrong,"

In other words, it isn't a distortion of reality, but a viable experience with reality that few people possess. Food for thought, indeed.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

1rst Post Assignment

I was assigned to write a sentence based of a Brachage-esque musical fantasia on film. Mainly, the combination of animation and music.

This is what I wrote:

"Sound vibrations show up as shapes. Has a very Brachage feel.
Colors have a faded quality. The use of [animated] circles (marbles?) to break up the shots of lines are interesting. The lines have a stringed instrument quality. Lots of red and green. I enjoyed the music but  felt no emotion during the viewing."

For class we had to basically mess around with an existing 16mm film using razors, sandpaper, and markers, scratching and defacing the emulsion layer. I hope to do more in the future, though I accidently spliced the movie with the old splicer the wrong way. I'll probably have to resplice the footage. It was great to see new images be placed in a 60 year old military-grade projector.  I think I'm gonna like this class.

- John