The Abstract/Haiku Film
I learned a lot about seeing and hearing the world as a filmmaker through the recording process of this exercise. When we left to start capturing footage, I had initially had a preconceived idea of a location to capture and, as we walked there, looking for other images to capture I didn’t really see much. Paul had highlighted in class about the effect created by the classroom light, how it fell on the wall or roof and yes, it was a shape and there was some contrast but I still just saw a plain, everyday room light.
The lights at the first location gave us a lot to work with, and we did our best to capture something of them, but this was where I started to see how the lights were interacting specifically with architectural elements to create images that were really interesting to explore as a viewer. It started to hone my focus and I stopped looking for interesting lights and started to see how light made even simple architecture interesting, particularly if it created some kind of contrast. After leaving class I couldn’t help but continue to look at how the light around me was creating a mood and drawing my attention to details in the world.
We started capturing images indoors and then moved outside. As we moved outside capturing specific lights became really important and it was definitely better if the source of light was brighter. This motivated me to do some research on the lens that the X200 and with an exposure of f1.9 I think that if we got closer to what we wanted to capture as opposed to using the zoom we would get a better quality image and capture of the light. I think. We captured the shot of the street light by zooming into the frame from across the street and, from what I understand, the aperture is the focal length divided by the lens diameter, so the aperture is dropping and letting in less light as we zoom in (unless we have a constant aperture lens). I am guessing that if we got the camera as close to the street light as possible we would have a better quality image to work with but the background in the frame would be different, we would potentially lose the depth of field effect and it wouldn’t be simple to get the same angle because we would be on the tram tracks and in need of something taller than the tripod we had. So I guess these are the compromises that need to be considered when capturing shots on set. How much do want something and how possible is it to capture with the equipment, time, permission and insurance that you have? It is actually a decision that might involve a lot of people depending on the size of the crew and scale of production.
Similarly, with the audio capture, I was able to approach the exercise with my new found focus for detail from the visual recordings but as soon as I put on the headphones I realised that this was much more challenging. Having such a directional microphone meant hearing the world in a completely different way. I had heard a sound that was part of a rich atmosphere and when I tried to point a microphone at it, it had diminished or changed. I guess that this is the art of sound design, capturing and layering a series of unique sounds that collectively evoke the expression of the story world.
I don’t think that this is something that I was able to achieve in editing. I picked sounds that were individually interesting to me and put them together and each piece of new information acted as if they were different instruments groups. It wasn’t like I was creating harmonies within the instrument groups to add to the richness of one sound environment.
Finally, in the editing process, I realised that just because I had a whole range of material and effects tools that I could use, doesn’t mean that I should. I end up playing with a lot of elements and then taking them out because I found them distracting or that they made the overall film undiscernable.