Reflection

Finally ‘Fractured’ is done and dusted! Here is a screenshot of the opening aesthetic:

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And the closing aesthetic:

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Overall I’m pretty pleased with the end result. But I have had too many problems to count in getting to this stage. I was literally in the media lab until almost 1am on a saturday night (seriously sad). My main issue was the rendering process but then extended into my final edit. In order to render some of the 30 second slots out I had to change the frame rate. I had been editing in 25 fps despite having filmed at 23.97 ( a mistake i realised very late into the process). Stupidly, I exported some at 23.97 and others at 25 which meant when I came to synch the sounds I had all sorts of problems. I had to split the audio up into countless sections and manually synch each line of dialogue. This process was so lengthy that unfortunately my soundtrack suffered due to a lack of time. I’m not all that pleased with the soundtrack as I wanted more of a climax to build and am even considering re-doing it once the assignment is over. I definitely allocated myself a much larger task than the assignment asked for and paid for this tenfold in the entire process of the project. I’m really pleased with the visual aesthetic and am also really glad to have started my after effects learning experience, now I’ve done this huge task it doesn’t seem that daunting. I also don’t love my script, but perhaps that’s just a result of hearing it way too many times now. Ultimately I am glad I chose this as an experiment and I aim to continue experimenting with this form in more short pieces. Things can only get better, and at least I know to expect the hell I have already experienced in editing 35 screens at once!

 

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Pre-Production

Just realised I forgot to actually publish my pre-production post so here it is:

I’ve decided to use the image of Maurizio Galimberti that I posted in my proposal as a structural framework for my project. Therefore I will need 35 shots to create my split screen. While this is quite a few screens, the composition itself is quite simple so I don’t think it will be overpowering. Originally I was thinking of only having 9 screens but I don’t think that would adequately match my proposal. Here is an experiment I did this weekend (practising on my Grandma) of the 9-screen format. Image

I’ve done a rough sketch so I can allocate how many shots of each close-up I will need.

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Because I need a lot of shots focusing solely on the hair of the character (15/35) I have chosen an actress mainly based on the texture of her hair, which I believe will provide an interesting aesthetic to the work. 

After researching into the effects of compartmentalisation I was led mainly to soldiers in war who must lock away their emotions and memories both from their civillian lives while in battle and their battle lives while in civilisation. However I am not really all that interested in using a soldier as my main character as I wan’t the reasons for the compartmentalisation to be more ambiguous. Ultimately I have come to the conclusion that this form of coping is detrimental as the compartments are bound to collapse at some point in ones life. This notion is reflected within my script which I have attached at the end of this post. I’ve booked my equipment a day earlier than my shoot so I can do a few experiments with camera technique before the actual filming begins.

Script:

She started way back. Back in the haze when her bones still grew and her feelings still felt. She filled glass jars with the most beautiful bugs you’d ever seen, wings stained with hope-fuelled-glaze, legs trailing a toxic stench. Matchbox cars and Barbie bras. Collections of collectables. She tended each with the utmost of care and never let them know that the others existed. Never let them know they weren’t alone. And it brought her a strange kind of joy. But eventually her collections would evolve from such childish things. Soon they would bring her much more than joy. Perhaps some sorrow? A little heartache? Soon they would bring her undone. After it, her collections manifested within. Boxes beside a rib, tucked under a lung, boxes to stop her mind come undone. It changed her to her very core, she pushed into her insides a pain far too sore. And in the meantime it worked. And she pushed forth with hope, and despite it and itness she managed to cope. She knew once she’d started she never could stop, so each box got pushed lower, each lid got a lock. And people, they asked her just what it had done, gave her shoulders to dampen, showed her court cases won. Each gave their condolences, each gave her false prayers, each told her repetitive cliché’s of care. So she built her walls higher to keep safe each box, collected emotions as though they were clocks. And each ticked within her the faintest of clicks, enough to remind her of her dreadful pasts its. Til one day the hand struck at 6:46, and triggered within her an erosion of bricks. Her walls tumbled down and through tears she could see, she’d locked her away and replaced her with me. So I tried to uphold her compartments of fear, tried to keep them apart tried to keep boundaries clear. But curiosity bit me, it nibbled and gnawed, til I peeked in one box and took down one wall. And there sat my feelings that begged to be felt, so I lifted out heartache, let sorrow be dealt. And low and behold, fore I knew what I’d done, the locks started breaking, one box after one. The feelings rose round me, grabbing ankles and hair, and before I could stop them they’d burnt up my air. And my lungs sucked in terror, and my heart pounded hard, and despair started cutting my mind shard by shard. And the fear kept on rising, yes it drowned me in grief, as I screamed out in horror and received no relief. And she cried and I sobbed and we both gave right in, admitting defeat in the face of our sins. And we hit the ground running and forever we’ll stay, trapped here in filth while our poor minds decay. 

Editing

The editing process has been so much more painful than anticipated. Mainly because I’ve chosen to have 35 movies running at once on the one screen. Stupid me for thinking the computers at my University of Technology could have kept up. So I basically have had to blind edit because the previews are taking ridiculously long to render – 15 minutes for not even 8 seconds of footage. However, seeing as this is my first time using After Effects I’m pretty happy with how I’ve managed to work through it all. It’s taken me 4 solid days to edit the 4 minutes of footage and now the rendering out process is taking even longer. To render my project would have literally taken over 24 hours so I’ve had to split my piece up into 30 second increments over 8 computers to get the job done quicker. But now I have been left with a strange effect in some of the clips so I am back in the lab trying to fix it! 

Filming Process

Typically, my filming process did not go to plan. My chosen day was beautiful weather and my shots were looking amazing, but my actress didn’t know her lines and then my camera battery ran out and the media lab men had conspired against me by not including the charger in the bag. So filming was postponed til 3 days later, which wasn’t a complete waste of time as I got to practise the shots that I hadn’t been able to quite wrap my mind around. Then the new (and final chance) filming day came around and of course just as I start filming the first rain sydney has seen in weeks came bucketing down. So after my location was compromised, we moved to filming in my actresses carport. Several flat batteries, full memory cards, planes flying over head and cars passing by later, filming was finished. It then took around 3 hours to get all the footage on to my computer so I could see what I had, which of course was not enough. However, I was pretty happy overall with how the shots I did have turned out. The filming process was definitely a learning experience and I was really lucky to have an extremely patient actress as it took me a while to get everything together. While I always knew to have back ups of everything I now know the importance first hand.

Project Proposal – Fractured

Working Title: Fractured

Medium: digital film & photo media

Techniques/Methodologies: Composition, the combination of various extreme close-ups into the one shot using a split-screen editing technique post-production (almost mosaic). Attempting to create an almost three-dimensional depiction of the human face and the emotions that lay beneath, while only using a series of flat images and an evocative script. Exploring the consequences of compartmentalising ones emotions and what happens when these walls break down. Exploring how something fractured or fragmented can hold incredible power and resonance.

Research Plan: The work of Maurizio Galimberti is one of the massive influences of my proposed experiment. His ‘instant art’ he creates using multiple shots on a Polaroid camera represent what I am trying to emulate via film. I think it’s amazing how he has managed to capture a three-dimensional impression using a two-dimensional format.

http://www.yellowtrace.com.au/2013/03/28/polaroid-portrait-mosaics-by-maurizio-galimberti-video/

http://www.mauriziogalimberti.it/

Maurizio Galimberti

I need to research further to find works that use split screens effectively, not only as an aesthetic choice, but as one that portrays meaning and adds to the overall story of the piece. The following video shows a montage of split-screens used in cinema, but most of the clips use the technique on a superficial level, I want to explore how the split-screen can be used on a deeper level.

http://vimeo.com/23768767

I also need to research more into the fractions present between a person and their emotions and the compartmentalisation used by many as a coping mechanism. I need to learn the telling signs of someone who compartmentalises their grief and the benefits and consequences associated with this form of coping mechanism. I think exploring these areas within the script will appropriately accompany the visual aesthetic.

Description of Project: In basic summation, my project will consist of a series of video-portraits that examine both the visual front of a person as well as their fractured emotional state. Each portrait will resemble a mosaic, composed of varying frames of the individual, as seen in the work of Galimberti, attempting to create a three-dimensional portrayal of these characters both physically and emotionally. The fractured aesthetic of the visual component will be carried through to the script as I experiment with how to depict compartmentalisation as a coping mechanism and what happens when these compartments are broken down. My work will examine whether such erosion represents a healing process or a collapse of mental health.

The opening will consist of several split fractions of the person – numerous extreme close-ups of the individuals face running concurrently as they reveal their story to the viewer. Gradually, as compartments collapse, so will the number of fractions decrease until we are left with a complete, unbroken shot of the individual in their raw emotional state, healed or destroyed.

Why this experiment interests you: I have always had a deep interest in psychology and in particular how individuals cope when catastrophic events happen within their lives. I am fascinated how some people can manage their grief while maintaining complete dignity and sanity while others are reduced to madness. As a viewer I am always drawn to characters who are forced to cope with unbearable circumstances, I have come to realise that these extreme emotions draw me in far deeper than their lighter counterparts and thus I hope to engage my viewer with the same level of fascination. Thus, I want to experiment with how somewhat abstract aesthetics, such as the split screen, can work to represent abstract notions such as locking ones emotions into various compartments in their mind. In my research for ideas for this project I was grabbed by Galimberti’s work and how it lends itself to exploring compartmentalisation as a coping mechanism within characters. Thus I am interesting in experimenting the best process to allow the aesthetic to mirror the purpose of a film.

Expected Outcome: Exploring both aesthetically and psychologically how compartmentalisation affects an individual. I want to blend these two compartmental elements together until they represent a seamless depiction of an individuals outer portrayal mirroring their inner turmoil. I want the work to represent a visual experimentation of how aesthetics can mirror a deeper purpose of a film.

Schedule:

Week 11:

  • Further research compartmentalisation as a coping mechanism in order to inform the script writing process.
  • Experiment with the filming & editing technique: collecting a series of extreme close-ups and attempting a rough edit.
  • Complete & submit forms.
  • Complete rough draft of script.

Week 12:

  • Complete script.
  • Cast characters and send them their lines to memorise.
  • Begin & Complete filming.

Week 13:

  • Begin editing process & explore how best to compose visual mosaics together.
  • Finish the film.

Pop Song challenge

We set out to create a hybrid between the pop and indie genres with an almost tongue-in-cheek approach, making the assignment all the more fun in producing. We married the two genres together by manipulating the all too repetitive and cliche’d pop musical structure with a progressive indie composition to achieve a piece which, in keeping with the pop trademark, became impossible to get out of our heads. Our construction of ‘Marc of a Man’ allowed us to explore how indie music tries (often too hard) to intellectualise the musical process, as can be seen in our 250 word blurb. Our tongue-in-cheek approach was continued and almost epitomised by the name & attached logo of ‘Marc of a Man’. By attributing the symbol of a question mark as the mark of a man (in a group that outweighed men by 3-1) we hoped to humour our female audience members by drawing attention to the cluelessness of men. 

There were so many possibilities with this assignment that given the chance to do it again I am sure we would have created something completely different. Listening to some of the other groups assignments in class I particularly liked the ones that mashed up older audio pieces such as instructional videos with modern beats and electronic sounds. I feel like these songs worked on numerous levels and would have been really interesting in exploring different issues they can portray. If we did the assignment again I would have liked to immersed myself more with the actual recording process and learnt how to use the equipment in a more detailed manner but with the time restraints there wasn’t really room to experiment. It was also interesting to see the visual aesthetic of the different groups and particularly their use of GIFFS to add another layer of construction to their act.

Overall I’m pretty happy with the finished product and I think the song itself sounded pretty polished and professional. The vocalist we used was really strong which was a huge bonus and definitely took our work to another level. Of course there was room for improvement with our construction of Marc of a Man but I was pleased with the stage that we got it to.