The past weeks we have been working on a video for a final presentation. The assignment was to create a short documentary, infomercial, commercial or portrait. We were assigned into groups that we would be working with for the next 3 weeks. Our assignment for the first week was to come up with an idea and create a storyboard. The second week we had to shoot our footage and create a rough cut and the final week we had to do the final edit and present our piece.
Coming up with the right idea was difficult. We all had many good thoughts and ideas so restricting ourselves to one of these was a difficult task. We decided to go for a short walk around Manhattan to see if anything would inspire us. Phone booths, human crowds and buildings were all considered. It was a warm day and we decided to include that as something in our video. We had previously seen a video of things melting with beautiful scenes and a nice fast forward effect. We were hoping we could somehow implement that too. We thought about creating a sun-screen commercial (one building had a picture of a baby that was hit by the sun, that we thought about including), but ended ud deciding that global warming would be a better theme. This way we could have things melting and other things being flooded. Our intentions were to create some great images and play with the contrast of something building up (the waterline) and something melting. Our storyboard looked like this:
We wanted to create 2 scenes: one with a melting gummibear referring to the increasing temperatures and one with a flooded landscape referring to natural disasters. We wanted the setup to be clean and minimalistic with focus on the melting of the bear and the rising of the water. We decided to split between the two scenarios having two parallel stories running at the same time and having the damaging sequences appear slowly but steady. At the end of the clip everything was supposed to be destroyed.
For video collection we tried out different methods. We needed an oven that could heat the bear, but where we would still be able to get a clear view of what was happening. Same thing with the flooding. We needed to be able to record through glass without having light reflected and we needed to be able to see what was going on. Our first tests were not very succesfull.
What some of our first footage looked like :
We went over the footage in class and talked about the things that worked and the things that didn’t.
We decided to try our footage again learning from our mistakes. Also, this time we gave ourselves a budget of 45$ (15$ each) to get a fish tank that would make our flooding scene look better.
Images from our 2nd setup.
Our second collection of footage was much better than the first. We all meet up to do the editing. We had to decide which clips were better and when to play with speeds and effects. First we had to come up with the music for the clip. At first we wanted something funny but when we heard “Grieg – In the hall of the mountain king” – we knew we wanted that for the piece!
The collaboration between us worked really well. Although we sometimes had different opinions there was no hard feelings if something was changed or ideas were turned down. Our final infomercial looked like this.
This week we presented our Sound walk to the other groups and critiqued each other. It went well. Our Idea was to present the values and history at ITP with a walk through the entrance – past the screens – and into the common area. During that walk you would hear speaks from Red Burns and Daniel Shiffman, presenting what I believe are some of the core values here. It ended with an awkward Siri conversation (Intentionally). Maybe that talk should have been changed to something else – or explained better.
When experiencing the other groups I realized that I liked the walks with many instructions – as to where to go, where to look and what to do. We didn’t do that, but that might have helped to a better experience during our walk. After the critique I told Kellee that it would have been great to try to do another walk, now that we know the errors etc. But next assignment is creating a movie. That should be interesting. Also, if I were to do another walk I would introduce and play with more different sounds. Our project was fairly simplistic, but catching the sounds from all over was a really fun experience – I would do more of that if a next time appears.
To work with Kellee was really easy. We agreed on the Idea quickly and did some re-recordings as our first recordings didn’t work well enough (due to background noise). I were taught how to use Adobe Premiere, the Zoom recorder and various Microphones also we learned that It is difficult to finish a project as there is always more to change.
On another note – we agreed on an idea for the video project. We are planning on making a commercial for an invented product. After running through ideas for the the storyboard Alice made this final draft.
Our assignment this week was to go on a Soundwalk. I have never really been on a soundwalk before – so this thing was very new to me. In agreement with a person from my group we decided to walk “the Gaits”. “The Gaits” takes place on the highline. You enter at Gansevoort and Washington streets and walk the elevated park to west 30th street. All we had to do in advance was to download “the Gaits” application on our phones. This app featured sounds composed by Lainie Fefferman, Jascha Narveson and Cameron Britt. The App told us to enter the highline at Gansevoort street and started playing different sounds for every step we took.
I must admit, I was really impressed by how well it worked technically. The sounds were really spot on – even to a degree where you wondered if someone was watching you. At first I could not figure how the sounds could be so well-timed, until I realized the application probably used the accelerometer in my phone to detect step counts. Impressive. During our walk we would enter new zones that would play different sounds. Some of these however did remind you a lot of the previous ones – to a point where it eventually started being monotonous.
The whole soundwalk concept has great potential, although this walk was based on simple sounds and noises I imagine you could come up with many interesting ways to play out a Soundwalk. This walk didn’t really interact with the surroundings as much as it could have but I think that was intentional. It seemed like the primary purpose of this soundwalk was to encapsulate the user and provide a meditative/isolated sense of feeling. And that certainly worked. I forgot to look at my surroundings and focused on the sounds instead. In the coming weeks I will try to explore some of the other walks and see if the standard, the finesse, the technical execution is generally that high. Overall a very good experience and something I see a lot of potential in.
I remember when I saw the work (Cover of LP’s) from my favorite danish artist Torben Ulrich and thought to myself : “How did he come up with such a brilliant idea. This is amazing.” Later, I realized that a similar project/idea was published many years ago in “Fin de Copenhague” by another great artist: Asger Jorn. At first, I was frustrated by the fact that the idea had been used before but when confronting my sister about it she said: All great artists are inspired by others and uses others ideas in new ways. To me that is exactly what todays text was about.When do you own an idea? Where is the line between plagiarism and “influenced by”? Lethem mentions several books, tv shows and music that are known to most people today, but would have never existed if we could not share information, text pieces, samples etc. The topic is really interesting as he also touches on monopolies, copyright, open source etc. One point that really hit me was Lethem thoughts when he received a copy of his own first novel published in a new form. As he said – it brought a second life to his work in a way he could have never have dreamed of. And why couldn’t the world have room for both books?