FMP: Installing Work

Having cleaned the space I set about installing in the small darkened space.

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First I had this plinth cut to size and painted in order that the projector would sit on it. Then Adrian and I set up the projector.

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The projector used is the small hitachi projector that was used for the initial measurements to work out if the idea was feasible all those weeks ago.

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The film itself is on the memory stick going into the black box, which is a media player that allows for films to be shown on the projector.

I put the projector into place and used the projection on the wall to work out where the canvases would go as planned in my sketchbook.

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Using strips of velcro to attach to the wall the arrangement came out like this, quite similar to the drawing.

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Adrian then attached this speaker to the projector and media player to allow for sound.

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In order to hide all the wiring this V shape was cut into the back of the plinth and all the plugs and wires were pushed underneath.

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The remaining wires were concealed using this plastic tubing.

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My exhibition statement was mounted on to foam board and then attached to the outside wall with velcro.

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Finally this black curtain was put up to fully darken the room for projection.

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FMP: Preparing an Exhibition

We spent four days clearing and preparing the Richard Hamilton Building for the exhibition. There has already been a degree show here so it was already pretty clean, but there was still the usual list of jobs. These were painting walls white, filling walls, removing screws and nails, and painting plinths. There was also a bit of sweeping. For my own space there wasn’t much to be done because it is a darkened room. However I did sweep the floor and have a plinth cut down to the right size for the projector to sit on.

FMP: Creating a Soundtrack

One problem with this project has been that I was unsure until the very last week whether there would be a suitable space for the work. As a result I decided not to edit the film with sound, I did it all silently. During this process the silence seemed like a good idea, it meant the images said more.

Anyway, it turned out that the allotted space for my work is quite suitable for installation, a very small darkened room isolated from other work in a larger room outside. I decided as a result that it would be interesting to at least see what effect a soundtrack would have.

I made a very rough soundtrack using audio from the footage I took in a music program called Ableton Live, which allows for the layering of different audio, sort of the sound equivalent of the video editing software. It was pretty difficult at first because I was working in a different computer program, so I had to check the times in the film where different things happen, and then go to the music program and put sounds at that point. It really would have been much easier to do visuals and audio at the same time.

I decided straight away that a soundtrack was an improvement, and decided to start refining more and more. Initially I simply added audio taken from the footage, so essentially field recordings. Working on the soundtrack more, I added complexity, layering different field recordings on top of each other, which matches the simultaneous four clips playing in the film. Then I thought to add a musical element, which would make the film more interesting to watch and add a certain expressive element. I added into the soundtrack some elements of recordings I made last year, re-cutting and changing them in the software. The music is generally jazz to link to the underground-night-city theme and also to link to the projects influences. Finally I added some snippets of recordings of speech by Cartier Bresson and Allen Ginsberg as a kind of pop art reference.

These are buried pretty deep in the mix. I treated the whole thing quite heavily with effects to create a more immersive effect, for example I added quite a lot of reverb, an audio effect which creates the illusion of a large space, to all the audio to mimic the larger spaces of underground stations. I also employed panning heavily, which is when the audio is put into the left or right speaker/headphone, which hopefully will create some kind of surround sound effect.

It was hard work making a soundtrack on such short notice, but generally I am pleased with the result, everything syncs up and the atmosphere is more or less what I intended.

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This is where I did most of the work. Along the right are all the different bits of audio, and then in the the large middle space is where I layered them all. The horizontal lines are markers for when different things occur in the film.

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This is where I added the effects. You can see the reverb at the bottom, and also EQ which can be used to increase the amount of bass or treble in a piece of audio.

FMP: Extra Editing

For various effects I have also been manipulating the video. For instance as it is going to be projected on to another surface, some of it coloured, I decided it would be better to have the film in black and white so as not to have any colour clashes. However some of the panels within the split screen are coloured, only on the top left and bottom right as those panels on the collage are more or less white. To change the colour in final cut you have to use the effects, which is on the bottom right.

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Black and white is pretty easy, the colour correction part is also really useful as it means you can accentuate certain colours and get weird effects, like a very blue looking film.

I have also, to emphasise feelings of tension or rushing around, been changing the speeds, to make sped up or slow motion sections. To do this there is a little button which looks like a curly arrow.

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Another effect is saturation, which I don’t totally understand, but which in combination with black and white makes a very grainy, atmospheric effect.

 

 

FMP: Editing a Film

To edit the film I have been using the program Final Cut Pro, which is really good.

My idea for the film is to have four different feeds of video playing at once. This seemed like quite a tricky idea but I worked out a method to do this in the program, which works though it takes a little while.

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When you open the program it looks like this. Then you have to put some clips in to the bottom part which is the timeline.

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I found that when you click on that, then click video in the top right there are options that let you change the size of the video on the screen. This is the key to doing all the stuff.

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I found that 44% is the perfect scale to fit four on screen. Then I discovered the magic numbers 480 and 270, which will put the smaller clip exactly in one corner depending on whether the numbers are negative or not.

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Then I found you can sort of stack the bits of video you have on top of each other.

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If you do the same process again for the new bit of video you can make a split screen film. It’s quite cool.

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Then you just have to keep stacking and changing the size of each clip.

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Eventually the finished film looks like this:

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This is what I have been doing for all the footage I made in London.

FMP: Making a Collage-Screen

The process of production was very straightforward after the designs had been made.

In the past I have had technical problems keeping collages stuck down so I did a bit of research and found that some people find acrylic gloss medium is excellent as an adhesive. This has turned out to be more or less true, it’s good stuff.

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For the top left quarter I intended to have a mock brickwork pattern. I drew this on in pencil before adding layers of ink and occasionally some impasto paint.

One divergence from the design is the top right quarter, which I originally wanted to be a torn poster decollage. However I came into possession of a lot of cardboard and felt the effect would be interesting. I was also pretty unsure as to how to pull of the decollage effect. This was a simple matter of gluing.

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Bottom left quarter is simply large pieces of coloured card attached to the canvas. This took quite a few gluing attempts, mostly weighing down with a book.

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The bottom right quarter was the most fun to make, with lots of elements made into a collage, including receipts, tickets, maps, pages ripped from a japanese book i found, beer labels and some studio ephemera, including some writing by my friend.

The whole thing is too large to put together, so I laid some of it out on the studio floor. The effect so far is more or less what I intended.

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FMP: Meeting with Adrian

I had a meeting with the photography technician Adrian Pawley to discuss the feasibility of my idea of projecting on to a collage. What I needed to know was how big the screen a projector projects is.

Adrian explained that there is no set size but that video has a universal 4:3 ratio, which is 16:9 for widescreen, which includes black bars. However he said that it would be an idea to simply measure the screen of one projector and then bookmark this for the installation of the project. We did this and the screen was 220cm x 167cm. Now I can simply begin filming and editing, whilst making a collage which is of this size.

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Adrian’s diagram explaining ratio.

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The size of the screen and collage.

Project Number Fourteen : Pick a Technique

In between the end of the museum project and the Copenhagen trip and FMP we were given a week to choose a technique and make something interesting. I had a tutorial with Myfanwy and Alison at some point and they mentioned the element of the barrage of images that appears in my work. For instance this is my studio:

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Anyway one of Myfanwy’s ideas was to use four projectors in tandem to make a video installation. I quite liked this idea as it reminded me of the ‘polyvision’ widescreen technique that was invented by the French silent film director Abel Gance for his 1927 six hour epic Napoleon.

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Three screens man.

Anyway I got pretty obsessed with this idea because it linked to everything I had been doing, neo-cubism, montage etc. and indeed a film I had seen in New York by the hippie/beat experimental filmmaker Bruce Conner called Three Screen Ray, which had left a big impression.

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I decided however that multiple projectors was near-unfeasible in terms of resources. Furthermore it would be very difficult to synchronise the multiple images. In any case I was doing something for week and wanted to see some tangible results.

The solution I came up with was to move the multiple images on to one screen using editing software, in this case final cut pro. The source footage was film I had taken in Berlin of the view from the windows of above ground subway cars. This I thought was really exciting because if I displayed multiple views simultaneously, it would be like the camera roving across different parts of the city simultaneously, showing you a larger view of the urban landscape.

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I found in final cut that one can stack multiple timelines of video on top of each other, and then transform them, making a split screen effect. It was initially pretty difficult to line up each video in to four equal parts of the screen, but I eventually found a way to painstakingly arrange them by setting the exact co-ordinates each clip sits at on screen.

Anyway the final video is entitled U-Bahn. I am very pleased with the results, I think it is one of the best pieces I have made on this course. I think there are a lot of possibilities as well, like creating a soundscape of all the different subway noises that could play in the same room, and even going further and having the spectator sit on chairs from trains, having piss all over the floor and buzzing striplights, and a tramp staring at you from across the room. This may be what I go on to explore at the FMP stage. For this reason I think this video is more of a study for a larger, recut video piece using some of the same footage that could be used for FMP.

 

Experimental Screenprinting

David Farrar, an ex student from Brookes and now a technician in printmaking at Glasgow School of Art, came to visit and do a workshop on screenprinting.

He showed us a few interesting experimental methods outside of the standard ink and silkscreen printmaking. One of these was to use powder paint rather thank ink, which creates a really interesting effect very similar to charcoal drawings.

Another technique was to cut out a paper stencil and stick it on to the front of a blank screen. Then different coloured inks were pushed through the blank silk on to paper. This creates simple abstract designs that can be used to make a large number of prints.

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