Non Drop Frame

We’re switching gears.  That’s right.  Theory time is over – put it to bed, read it “The Giving Tree” and shut off the lights.  Now we’re in practical city.
Phew – I think I mixed about ten metaphors there.  But it’s true.  I think we’ve covered a lot of conceptual ground over the first half of the semester, but I’m not sure we’ve completely addressed the technical side of things.  While the projects you turned in (and will hopefully turn in as the case may be) were technically solid, I think we can do a bit more with the nuts and bolts of how to use the cameras and the editing software. 

I’ve been debating with myself on how to do this.  The logical, pants-one-leg-at-a-time Me thought that putting together teams of people at different experience levels would help everybody learn from each other.  Now the wavy-thinking, 12-minutes-into-the-future Me is considering a new approach.  This wild-eyed Me has discovered that mixed-level groups – when thrown into a time maxed out situation – end up relying on the most experienced members to push all the buttons so the project gets finished on time.  There might be some osmosis learning with this approach, but probably not a lot that sticks. 

So the new Me is thinking – let’s try groups of similar experience levels – at least during class time.  That means I’ll go around and teach the beginners how to do the basic stuff, the intermediates how to raise their game, and the experienced folks how to experiment with totally new stuff.  Then I’ll bounce around among the groups to see what’s what.  Sound fun?  We’ll see.

This means we’re going to need you to bring in your documentary footage to class on Friday.  I mean, you were supposed to anyway, but if you don’t well, we won’t have anything to work with and we’ll all go silly with fear.  Now, we probably won’t be able to load up all your footage (since class would be long over by the time we did) but we’ll get into our new groups and capture as much as we can. 

Before we strike out into this absurd new land of production, I do want you to keep thinking about different ways to make videos.  To that end, I want you all to go to this website:

On it, you’ll see a bunch of videos by the contemporary videomaking team of Duke and Battersby.  I want you to pick one video, watch it and post a comment back on this site about it.  You don’t have a reading assignment this week, so consider this your reading assignment. 

There’s only one weird thing about the site – when you click “watch” from the site above, it will take you to a page with a movie player – however, it doesn’t play the video you selected from the previous page – just the first one on the list (called “A Year in the Life of the World Demo).  So, just make sure you remember the name of the piece you intend to watch, so when you get to that second page, you can click on the right one from the menu.  Confused yet?  You’ll get it!

ALSO – since Caitlin and Joe have already commented on the piece called “The Fine Arts”, let’s have everyone choose a different video to review.  While it’s a good piece, I think Caitlin and Joe have given terrific insights already.   

What do I want you to comment about?  Well – what you thought about the video, sure – but not just your opinion.  I want you to talk about what the piece was trying to say and what techniques it used to get its themes across.  I’d suggest not choosing any from the series called “New Freedom Founders” simply because it was originally a three-channel installation for a gallery, and I’m not sure the piece will make complete sense watching the video feeds one at a time.

Okay – so that’s the assignment.  Watch one video and write a paragraph about it on the weblog.  My god – what an easy class you have!  It’s sick with easy-os-ity!

By the way, Lost Highway just came out on DVD this week in the USA – strange timing.




~ by sosundays on March 24, 2008.

9 Responses to “Non Drop Frame”

  1. The video that I enjoyed the most was “the fine arts.” In this video she discusses her nudity and the fact that she is speaking in french as being nonsensical and not one of her best ideas. She felt compelled to do it anyway…it brings attention to the idea of art as being first and foremost a process. I like that, and I can identify with going through a dry spell for ideas that I am excited about. Also I though that it was funny.

  2. Well, I found “The Fine Arts” to be absolutely hilarious as well. She begins the whole thing by expressing her “hate” for the fine arts and its tricky use of “artifice”. Whether its manipulating a story through the use of editing and rearranging your shots, or using audio to accentuate a film’s crucial points, the woman’s very reservation is that you can somehow “trick” the audience into grabbing its attention. But what’s most ironic about this video, is the degree to which she uses her own “natural artifice”, to perhaps captivate her audience unfairly. If you are a young college male– no matter how mature you think you are– it is hard not to let your “gaze” drift, when a topless woman stands before you(at one point even moving directly into the camera’s vision), blatantly admitting that she has nothing truly interesting or unique to say. There is no cutting, no sound alterations, and for that matter, nothing truly interesting about what she is saying; but she is smart, perhaps brilliant, in recognizing that no matter what, people are going to allow themselves to be dragged through the mud with her, for the very reason that she is telling this story while being topless. In the end, you have to wonder: if no one is willing to listen to what you have to say for three minutes, is the best, most unique bet to just get naked and tell your story? That’ll show em….

  3. I had a hard time trying to find a video to analyze because many of the videos are boring and somewhat confusing. But I decide on a video that I could understand a little better than most. I chose “Curious About Existence.” I liked this video because I think it was rich in hidden meaning. It wasn’t shot in any fancy ways, it was shot in a way that makes the viewer think about what the filmmaker’s were trying to get across. This clip talked at length about energy and disorder, and how the first law of thermodynamics doesn’t recognize order or disorder. I think that the filmmaker was trying to say that a human relationship has elements that always stay the same, but transform, like love or affection or other. Another thing I noticed when looking back at the beginning of the video and the ending, where the animals are talking, is that disorder was talked about a lot. In the song, disorder is one of the last words, and the animal on the left (whatever it was) was saying how he is thinking about how bad he feels and how bad everybody feels all the time. Maybe this piece is saying that entropy and disorder is natural to human relationships.

  4. I watched the video “Being Fucked Up”. This video was comprised of several short segments incorporating not only video footage, but animation and still photography as well. I though that the animation portions were rather funny. I liked how they were just simply black and white sketches of dogs/cats. I also like how these animals ha human faces and could speak. It rather hilarious too see a sketch of a dog with a human face talking about smoking weed. I thought a majority of the other segments were a little too artsy, they were almost trying too hard. I did think it was excellent how the video was comprised of several short segments. As a result of this, I was able to keep focused on the video for the entire 10 minutes. This was rare for me, as i get board very easily. This video was bizarre, but it did encompass some good techniques.

  5. Though the title caught my attention, I almost stopped watching “Curious About Existence” during the first two minutes which consist of this really annoying song being sung by some girl while the lyrics track on the screen. Besides that, the movie was pretty interesting.

    It seemed like the filmmaker had some random philosophical ideas in their head that they wanted to express somehow. The first part, about entropy and thermodynamics, included graphical representations intercut by footage from some retro college lecture, probably about the time Dave was in school. The lecture footage didn’t really serve a purpose in explaining the ideas, but it was a great way to keep my attention. Instead of feeling like the movie was directed at me, I just felt as though I was observing a class with an interesting lecture topic.

    The second part was great too and it seemed that this filmmaker must have really like this passage from Nietzsche. It wouldn’t have been interesting if someone was just reading Nietzsche on camera, but by making a really simply animation with an otter and a fox or something it made it quite interesting.

  6. I initially watched perfect nature world. But that was ridiculous. It’s sort of an animated short that has direct interpretations of the lyrics of a folky song that played in the background. There were a lot of animals and it was bambi-esque on more than one level. It was cutesy and nice and sort of boring. The animation was a pan over drawings, as opposed to the drawings moving. There must be a phrase for that but I don’t know it. The lyrics seemed to be insinuating an overarching, more philosophical tone about being a good citizen. I mastn’t partial to this one, so I watched another that I thought would be a little more provocative- Being Fucked Up.
    This one was pretty sweet. I enjoyed it most because i had watched that bambi one before. The beginning segment of Being Fucked Up, in which a chick smokes some crack (didn’t look like pot to me) and then covers her face with a bag to get the most out of it. the kicker is that the happy folky cheeseball song from Perfect Nature World is playing the whole first segment. The rest of this movie was interesting, but the highlight was that juxtaposition.
    Being Fucked Up made some interesting commentary on the topic. The used of video of photographs was effective in conveying the feelings of a party and being out, but the reflection upon it, as opposed to filming a party, where it makes it the present instead of the past. The green dancing butt was unusual, but I got a chuckle out of it. the end bit with the girl and guy shaking and nodding their heads with a voiceover and good editing was sweet too.

  7. “A year in the life of the World Demo” was a very interesting and well done video. It took a while to pick one piece of write about because they all were very good and had their own intriguing characteristics. I loved the editing and the concept of time lapse in this piece. It gave it a very real feel to it, which one can relate to. I first chose “Being Fucked Up” because it had a funny title and an interesting blurb about the video entailed, but I was in the mood to try something different than I’m used to. I’ve never done a video using time lapse which is something that I really want to try now. The music was very calming and played well to the footage, which is something that I want to get better at as well. Overall I really liked this video because its about something everyone is interested in – our world.

  8. “My Heart the Lumberjack” was, to say the least, odd. In the 15 seconds of its entirety it expresses a lot about the instant nature of ‘reality’ TV and how it can be used for visualizing our sexual fantasies and, sometimes, capturing real, honest moments. In this excerpt from “Blind Date” a beefy looking man follows the woman he has supposedly been set up with, saying “Look at you! Look at that little body! You are so small I’m going to split you like wet pine.” These are the kind of moments that some filmmakers look for and try to incorporate into their scripts. This is the kind of quote that we would all write down to share with our video class.
    Duke and Battersby might have chosen this clip precisely for Beef’s great use of simile, or for something else. I definitely didn’t pick this clip, because of video techniques—in that sense it is pretty basic, handheld, technique. To me, it speaks about the nonsensical nature of emotion and excitement and saying things without thinking.
    It disheartening to know that people can be so lame.

  9. I thought that this rendition of the numa numa video was actually less interesting and funny than the original. Though they used multiple frames on screen as a devise to grab the audience’s attention I felt that it took away deserved attention from the original and gave it to videos less deserving….

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