Saturday, May 1, 2010

Where's My Motorcycle?

There are moments of Zen in art and then there are moments of mayhem. Such as finding out your video proposal has been accepted for the SALA Moving Image Project, tempered with the knowledge that you have 15 days to cast, scout for locations, make costumes, book equipment, film, capture and edit and present a meaningful work.
It certainly sharpens the mind to have that adrenalin boost.
Day 1: In the last 12 hours I have managed to sort locations, waiting to hear back about a potential actor and am still wrapping my head around all contingencies.

Day 2: Spent the day teaching and chatting with friends. Friends are good. Friends are brilliant. Friends have given me two potential performers. Will know today (hopefully) if I have a body to film.

Have also sorted costuming.

Day 3: Will do a test run of the location shots today down at the Torrens River to see if my handycam has the resolution to pull this off rather than hiring the big guns.

Day 4: Filming at the river went relatively well, except I forgot about the psychotic swans. Will need to reshoot when I have little more time for the birdlife to zoom in on me, start circling the wagons, get bored and move on.

I have an actor! Will film her drowning poetically in two days. I love it when a plan comes together!

Day 5: And Lo, there was a day of rest.

Day 6: Test filming of the body on water at the Aquatic Centre - worked very well, will film the real bod tomorrow.

Day 7:  After school meetings and working on the Mother's Day stall all morning, filmed at the Aquatic Centre in the afternoon. Soooo tired. Beautiful shots of my lovely actor, though. Will start playing with them now to see how far I can push these handycam images. I'm a little concerned about de-interlacing when I slow this sucker down.

Day 8: Took extra river footage in the morning and have started the long process of first pass editing. I'm cutting the messy stuff out of each scene and then rendering it from mpg to avi which seems to be solving the de-interlacing issue. Now beginning the fun process of trawling through all the footage and pasting together something beautiful, meditative and moving... not much of an ask.

This is also the stage where the disparity between my initial vision and the what I was able to actually capture on film becomes apparent. You can't get caught up in driving a fixed vision. To paraphrase... artistic proposals can't survive contact with the enemy... um, camera... um actor?
Day 9: edit edit edit

Day 10: Mother's Day - the mythical day of rest, ie. spent cooking and cleaning 

Day 11: All preliminary editing is now complete, ie trimming the footage, and clarifying colour, brightness, hue etc. I'm now onto the fiddling about with composition. I've been thinking a lot about the deconstructed video; displaying the individual elements of the work separate to one another yet in the same frame. More thinking and playing to be done.

Day 12: Mentorship with the SYC SALA group today

Day 13: Head down and finished the first major edit. The overall composition is quite simple and I feel like I haven't done enough yet - I usually agonise for longer. This is the point in the process where I have to remind myself to trust my instincts and keep it simple and to the point. 

Rendered overnight (7 hours) and eyeballed first thing. Will need to make some small refinements and re-render. Some parts work well, but I think I'll speed some of it up and add another section.

Day 14: First major revision of rendered work; cleanup and tweaking. And rendered again.

Day 15: Second major revision of rendered work; cleanup and tweaking. And rendered again.

Day 16: Third major revision of rendered work; cleanup and tweaking. And rendered again.

Day 17: Fourth major revision of rendered work; cleanup and tweaking. And rendered again. Hopefully this is it.

It's a good thing there's been a deadline extension. But I feel ahead of the game and able to perfect the piece.

Day 19: handed in to the office today - baby will have to walk on it's own now.

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