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: Visiting London and Going to Exhibitions

I went to London twice to shoot the footage for my film, which was fairly straightforward. I used a small digital camera, the trusty Olympus OM-D, which was great as it takes very high quality video but is also really small and light. I experimented with very static shots as well as taking very long handheld tracking shots through long tunnels. This will all be clearer in the finished film.

While I was there I visited some current exhibitions. First I went to see Eduardo Paolozzi at the Whitechapel Gallery. This was really great, I particularly liked his series of screenprints inspired by the philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein. They are really dense and colourful, I would love to know how on earth he created the designs.

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Eduardo Paolozzi – Wittgenstein in New York

Another really interesting exhibition was by an artist from Ghana, Ibrahim Mahama. I think it is  important to find out about artists who aren’t from the West so this was really fun. His work is mostly made up of found materials, he is sort of like the Rauschenberg of Ghana. My favourite piece I saw in London was this work by him called Non Orientable Nkansa, which is made out of boxes used by shoeshine guys on the streets in Ghana. They store all their stuff inside and also use them as a drum to attract more customers. There was so much hidden detail in the work you could look at it for hours, things like pictures of George W Bush pasted on to the boxes. Also the scale of it was pretty overwhelming.

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Finally I also saw the Deutsche Boerse Prize at the Photographer’s Gallery, which is sort of like the Turner Prize of photography. One entry I really liked was the series Imperial Courts by Dana Lixenberg, who photographed people in LA 25 years after the riots.

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My favourite however was the work by the duo Taiyo Onorato and Nico Krebs. Their work is based on road trips they take as a pair. They have already been to America so they decided to a road trip through a little-seen part of the world, Eurasia, in places like Kazakhstan and Mongolia. The things they found are completely surreal and have made amazing photographs. They show these as slides which I really liked, alongside 16mm films which are very beautiful.

Zaha by Taiyo Onorato and Nico Krebs (2013)

FMP: Raymond Hains and Nouveau Realisme

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Raymond Hains was a French artist operating in Paris during the mid twentieth century. His first works were surrealist photographs using special lenses that multiplied and abstracted the subject.

He is most famous for probably inventing the torn poster decollage technique, which was used heavily by him and his collaborator Jacques Villegle. I am very influenced by this process, which was simply to tear the accumulations of posters off Parisian walls and fix them to canvas, thus bringing a part of the street into the gallery space.

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One of the first decollages, the ambitious “Ach Alma Manetro”, made with Villegle.

Travailleurs Communistes by Raymond Hains. His new technique was also used for political purposes, for instance in a later exhibition criticising French activity in Algeria.

At this point Hains became involved with the Nouveau Realisme movement, which was founded in 1960 in the apartment of the artist Yves Klein. The other artists included Arman, Villegle, Niki de Saint Phalle, the young Christo and Jean Tinguely. The Nouveau Realisme movement has also influenced me a lot, and I think it is one of the best jumping off points for new artists. They believed that abstract art was too cut off from the world, while figurative painting had been hijacked by Stalin or the petit bourgeois. Thus they decided to bring art and life closer together, directly appropriating material from the outside world, for instance in Arman’s accumulations of trash. This made the movement in some ways similar to Pop Art.

The original Nouveau Realisme manifesto, which was signed by all the artists.

Later Hains’ adventures included helping the artist Daniel Spoerri turn a gallery into a restaurant for 11 days, and building a giant box of matches, which caused the gallery owner Iris Clert to hire two firemen. He also was an artist obsessed with not repeating himself, often burning all his previous work. After a long career he died in 2005.

In my own project I have incorporated some ideas of Hains and the Nouveau Realists. For instance the large collage I have made is constructed partly from street ephemera like receipts and pieces of cardboard. Also my film is really dedicated to the street and the outside world, finding the amazing features of the underground world.

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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: Designing a Collage-Screen

To recap: the idea is to create a film which uses a screen split into four videos. This will be projected on to a corresponding collage-screen, also split into four, of dimensions 167 x 220 centimetres.

I set about working out how to cover this space. I found that I could obtain a large number of small canvases for a low price. These measure 50 x 50 cm. In the sketchbook I made a lot of detailed diagrams working out how the whole thing would work. As shown below, I planned out an arrangement of a grid of canvases, and then designed what will appear on each one. I find this way of working more or less essential. I like to plan everything out, I don’t feel I’m particularly good at just attacking the canvas.

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FMP: Christopher Doyle / Wong Kar Wai

As a form of slightly more in depth research I have decided to make a few posts concerning the key artists who have influenced this project. I have decided first to look at this artist:

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Christopher Doyle is an Australian born cinematographer. He lives in Hong Kong and is fluent in both Mandarin and Cantonese. This has led to his work, and great success within the Hong Kong film industry. In particular he has worked with the much heralded director Wong Kar Wai on such landmark films as Chungking Express (1994) and In the Mood for Love (2000).

I have been really influenced on this project by the light in much of Doyle’s early cinematography. He created a very modern aesthetic via the use of strip lights and artificial light, particularly in Chungking Express. 

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The results are spectacular. In In the Mood for Love this aesthetic took on a grander quality as it was used in the service of a 1960s set period piece.

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I am also very interested in Doyle’s use of space. In the interview below Doyle talks about how he would find spaces that matched the overall tone of the film, and then use those as the basis of a scene. A street in Bangkok becomes part of the overall idea of loneliness in In the Mood for Love. This fascination with architecture in cinema is a hallmark of some of the best filmmakers of the 20th century.

When filming underground I was also particularly preoccupied with the harsh white strip lighting; the beautiful visual quality of it, and also the tendency of it to change the space, making it sometimes more sinister, casting strange shadows and illuminating the faces of strangers in a bizarre clinical way.

Wong Kar Wai, Doyle’s collaborator, is also an influence. In an interview from the late 1990s, Wong spoke about how the film Chungking Express isn’t really about any of the characters; the main character is the city of Hong Kong itself, and the relationship between it and the people living there. It seems clear why the two filmmakers worked so well together.

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FMP: Narrowing to Final Idea

After all development and consultations my final plan is to project a split screen montage film on to a collage split into a corresponding four part arrangement. The dimensions and basic plans are shown below.

The only point I am not clear on is the inclusion of sound. I need to speak to my tutor to see if this feasible. Other next steps are planning, filming and editing the video portion, and planning and making the collage screen.

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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.