Sunday, April 25, 2010

3D Shoot

The 3D workshop was a lot of fun. The process is so logical - kind of felt dumb for not thinking about that already. But I thought it was really cool how we used to cameras focused on the same image to capture the footage. I had never used After Effects before so I felt quite disoriented just watching Tory try to figure out how to turn the damn thing into 3D. I am interested in editing though so I'd love to become better acquainted with the program in the near future. I consider any day that I get to dance in a Soul Train line to funk classics such as The Brothers Johnson's "Get Da Funk Outta Ma Face" and K.C. & the Sunshine Band's "Boogie Shoes" a good day. I do have some regrets though - upon looking back over the footage I regret not boogieing harder when approaching the camera. I feel that I was giving maybe 70% boogie effort when I should have been giving 110% boogie effort. All in all - I consider the shoot very successful (thank god you helped us figure out the After Effects!). As for the 3D glasses - fucking awesome. I made a slick black framed wayfarer style glasses with white sides (with the customized AB insignia on the sides. I think Tory was a little jealous. Anyway - the surprise work day was awesome and I can't wait to see everyone's found footage projects in class today. I really enjoyed constructing a Jean Claude Van Damme scene with Chris Farley and the Rupert Holmes hit "Escape (The Pina Colada Song)". Truly absurd...

Van Dammage

video

Monday, April 19, 2010

Mystery Workshop: Forts are the shit

So, last week we had the most awesome class of my college experience. We made a fort! Now personally I've been ranting to my roommates this whole year about building forts. Here has been my central argument: if you were nine years old and you had a house to yourself what would be one of the first things you/I would do in the house is make the most badass fort ever. I loved making forts as a child and have found that I still do. Recently, my girlfriend and I have constructed two separate forts in her Mayfaire apartment. Each fort has consisted of half aerobed walls and half real walls (i.e. walls of the apartment). We thumbtacked tons of sheets to the walls to use as a canopy/roof and of course an aerobed to lay on inside of the fort - duh. I thought we were bringing the sheets into class because we were going to make a rough theatre stage to perform some impromptu performance or what not. I was excited but not near as happy as after we made the fort. I really went to town on helping out with the ampitheatre-like structure of the fort and loved that so many other people were into it as well. I love this class and how creative we get to be - I really do feel like all of these unorthodox methods and new ideas that we've been working with all year are going to help me on my path to becoming a successful and interesting cinematographer.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Rough Theatre

The article on rough theatre that we read for this week was quite brief but it brought up some very good points about formal popular theatre vs. rough theatre. Personally, I am the type of person who is typically drawn to things that are improvised. I have found that even if I am not aware that something is improvised I will be more likely to enjoy it or find it interesting/intriguing. My favorite musical genre is jazz and improvisational rock & roll. I love improvisational music from the likes of John Coltrane and Thelonious Monk all the way to my personal favorite modern-era band, Phish. When it comes to movies and film, I've always been drawn to improvisational comedy like that of my favorite comedy, Anchorman. I used to be an avid painter and thought that was what I was going to do for the rest of my life until I read Andy Warhol's autobiography of the factory and his life during the 1960s. In it he inspired me to convert to film simply because he used film to try to capture authenticity via film. He would turn on the camera, step away, and allow people to just be themselves, to live, to improvise - or he would just point it at something and let that something function as if nothing were filming it (i.e. Empire or Sleep). To me improvisation is living - it is life. Since junior year of high school I've always thought of the process of living life as a very similar process to the way certain jazz or "jam band" songs are performed. It starts out with some kind of structure, whether it be complex or simple, and then it begins to build on that structure with improvisational notes. The improvisation isn't just random notes - they are notes that are reacting to the notes that the others in the band are playing. They are all playing together, having a conversation, reacting to each other, but reacting in context to the original structured piece of music, thus resulting in structured/controlled chaos. The problem with formal theatre to me is that it is way too structured. In a high school theatre production, if someone messes up a line on stage, they normally stutter over their words and repeat the line over or try correcting themselves word for word. The audience most likely does not know your line word for word, so it would be much more natural if they just improvised and applied something that fit the situation in context. Perhaps one of the reasons why actors are so uptight and don't think on their toes to actually act/become the character is because of the formalities of the theatre and dogma of the audience. I understand that a lot of the focus of theatre architecture is behind acoustics and aesthetics. But perhaps the rudimentary components of the rough theatre allows audience and actors to be more relaxed. Perhaps it also allows them to all be more involved in the story and less concerned about formalities of the theatre.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Confusion

I am confused about what we're supposed to blog about this week...

Monday, March 29, 2010

Dylan Putting "Plagiarism" In Its Place Via Modern Times

A debate has sprung up since the release of Modern Times discussing whether Dylan should be found guilty for plagiarism on account of lyrical similarities (sometimes exact phrases according to Peter Greens’ translations of Ovid’s Letters from the Black Sea) to the Roman poet Ovid’s poems and the Civil-War era poet Henry Timrod. Along with these accusations, many have wondered how Dylan got away without giving credit to many blues artists he borrowed lyrics and musical arrangements from including Muddy Waters on “Rollin’ And Tumblin’” and Memphis Minnie on “Thunder On The Mountain.” No lawsuits have been filed and Sony has not budged on their rock-hard support of Dylan’s methods. Robert Politio of the Poetry Foundation stood up for Dylan against allegations of plagiarism stating that people were confusing “art with a term paper.” Artists from the likes of William Shakespeare to Roy Lichtenstein have always used and adapted ideas from their predecessors. Folk music in general is a form of art that is built upon using other musicians’ ideas and creating new ideas with them. Woody Gunthry, one of the most famous and well renowned folk musicians, as well as, Dylan’s biggest idol, once said, "That guy stole that from me, but I steal from everybody.” Stealing or borrowing musical ideas from other musicians is just the folk tradition. In a 2004 interview with Rob Hillburn of the Los Angeles Times Dylan said, “That's the folk music tradition. You use what's been handed down.” Ever since Dylan’s beginnings as a young man in New York City he has followed folk music’s tradition of always using and reusing other musicians ideas and sounds to create new ideas and sounds. After completing his second album, Free Wheelin’ Bob Dylan, he released one of his most famous and revered songs “Blowin’ in the Wind,” a piece he created by adapting a Negro spiritual song "No More Auction Block,” and an old Scottish folk song. Dylan’s piece “Blowin’ in the Wind” was then covered by everyone from Dolly Parton to Stevie Wonder. In this modern age, music has become an industry and genres have transformed into molds in which artists must conform. The popular music of today has come a long way from the traditions of folk, blues, and jazz where musical ideas were shared and built upon like Lego blocks. If a musician takes an idea from another musician in today’s society then a lawsuit is bound to ensue (i.e. Rolling Stones “The Last Time” vs. The Verve “Bittersweet Symphony”). Dylan uses Modern Times to show us how absurd it is to be fighting over music that is being shared (i.e. Napster vs. Metalica, etc.) and borrowed. The hammer's on the table, the pitchfork's on the shelf, for the love of God, you ought to take pity on yourself (“Thunder on the Mountain”).” He is showing us that even in these modern times genuine music can still be found. The usage of Ted Croner’s photograph, “Taxi, New York at Night” (1947), for the album cover showcases his beliefs perfectly. The photo shows a 1940’s taxi passing by in fleeting overexposed lights. It shows us that even though the times have changed significantly since the 1940’s due to the accessible technologies that allow American culture to move so fast, music as an art does not have to change with the times.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Reflections on the Saturday Shoot

This past Saturday our 6x1 class shot and developed 56 second shorts on 16mm Bolex cameras. Working with the cameras was an absolute blast for me. I am very interested in cinematography and have always wanted to work with real film. It feels like such a rarity to get to work on actual film as a student these days with the perpetual flux of modern technologies. Truthfully I wish I could have worked with the Bolex camera a lot more because I didn't get much hands on time with it but I got some good time with the 8mm camera. I have always been interested in the different sub-mediums of film (i.e. 8mm, 16mm, video, etc) and each formats appearance and limitations. Now I want to learn everything I can about operating cameras as I can so I can explore the limitations of each format/technology. I want to be able to know cameras like the back of my hand - just be able to pick any camera up and know exactly how to use it. Once I can comfortable with cameras and really get to know them and what no,t then I can truly start to use my full creative potential. This weekend was awesome because I feel like it was a good step in the right direction and has only caused me to become more interested in different film/video formats. I am really interested in finding an old Bolex or 8mm camera and start making my own experimental or short films with them. It's so awesome that I can shoot with an old film camera and edit it on my computer - although this does lose some of the film quality. I need to start taking advantage of this and hipefully I'll have my hands on an 8mm or a Bolex of my own by next fall.

As for more on the Saturday shoot - it was fun dressing up and rehearsing in order to get the time down. It worked out a lot better than I thought it was going to so I was very happy with that. I didn't realize that it would be in negatives but it looks really cool that way. I am interested in seeing what it will look like not in negatives and look forward to using some of this footage in other experimental projects in the future.