Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Arthouses and Microcinemas

The modern movie audience cannot help but be subjected to the massive multiplex. These cavernous monsters consume audiences while simultaneously sucking the life out of the viewing experience. However, there are holy places that offer sanctuary to more seasoned filmgoers. For years, Art Houses allowed audiences a more personal experience for viewing more personal films. Art Houses found their calling by showing small-scale pictures to smaller audiences. While they have had issues withstanding the establishing of multiplexes in developing areas, some Art Houses have endured the battle. Along with Art Houses, microcinemas, a significantly smaller venue showing often rare or non-distributed pictures, have also emerged. Microcinemas vary from Art Houses in that they can exist anywhere, sometimes even being created in churches, trailers, and warehouses. The microcinema has also rejuvenated the drive-in experience with a sense of spontaneity. With the corporate styled multiplex sucking the life out of the moviegoers favorite pastime, modern audiences can only hope to come across an arthouse of microcinema hidden in their city.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Photographing on Film

I thought that shooting on film was an incredible experience. I had never used real film before this assignment and found that I really enjoyed it. While the experience and assignment have greatly inspired me to experiment more with taking photos with real film cameras.
Shooting on film was initially a little intimidating to me. Having never used film before, I felt like the process was difficult and that it would be easy to mess it up. Working in a group, I was afraid that when the camera came around to me that I would mess it up and destroy the film. When it came time to take my first photo, I decided to just give it a solid try and see what would happen. After the first shot, I felt a little relieved and more confident in what I was doing. The rest of my shots were done with complete confidence and I found that reading the light meter was one of the funnest parts. Finding the correct F-stop was an interesting process that I really liked.
After I got over my initial fear of messing up the film, I found my next challenge. What was worthy of being shot on real film? With digital photos, there's no need to worry about making errors because the photos are easily erased and reshot instantly. Using film is much more complex than digital, the process itself can take at least a day and the photo opportunities are often a one-time-only kind of thing.
While I was overwhelmed by the thought of taking a photo and giving up the outcome to pure chance, I decided to just really think about the composition and content of my photos. When I had made up my mind, I spent a good deal of time meticulously placing the objects that I wanted to photograph. Everything about the real film process makes you really appreciate all of the aspects of photography.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Response to 1B

The objective of assignment 1B was to take the classes collective sound bank and create a two minute soundscape. The soundscapes design was to be inspired and crafted after a sentence selected at random from a book.

After the groups were assigned, we gathered and awaited our fate. My group was made up of Porshia, Ashley, Nick, and myself. We were the first to flip through the book and the fateful finger struck gold. Our sentence was “a cinematographer famous for terrible films with great cinematography.” We were excited from the start. Once we got together and began working on creating our soundscape we were optimistic about the project. It only took two sessions to finish our project.

The experience itself was very interesting. The first task that was evident was scanning the entire sound library to try and find items that would fit into our scenario or otherwise be altered and used. The sounds were definitely going to need some work to meet our needs. The experience of listening to a singular sound so precisely was amazingly eye opening. One notable sound we created was the starting of a projector. Knowing by heart the whirls and hisses of the machine made it easy to know the sound we wanted to create. More or less, we found the sound by altering and compiling a car, air conditioner, bicycle, and fan. This interesting process  went on to create a flow of sound that lasted for two minutes. Along the way there were some happy accidents, as some sounds came off sounding more like other sounds we had no intention of creating but could still use.

I really enjoyed this assignment and found inspiration to further develop abstract soundscapes in the future. My group worked together very well, although Nick was partially absent. In the end, we were happy with our project and the soundscape was well reviewed. The other soundscapes created in the class were also great. The next step in this process will be interesting as abstract images collide with these soundscapes.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Absolute Film

Absolute film stems from the idea that there is a sect of film art that, when united with a musical piece, can create a captivating experience with no equal. Absolute film is created when the a visual piece and a musical piece flow together rhythmically, lyrically, and at the same pace. The original, and still preferred method, for creating absolute film was to create a visual component and then build a soundscape to match it. Some artists, like Walther Ruttmann, had live music performed alongside their pieces to create a more extravagant viewing experience. However, since absolute films were traditionally hand-made pieces, a large number of films never saw completion. The advent of sound on film created a new obstacle for absolute filmmakers. Meeting the creative requirements needed to create film that could have music simultaneously recorded alongside it, absolute filmmakers continued to perfect their craft. Interest in absolute film grew over the years as more and more artists began to experiment with the medium. Absolute film is still a growing and captivating area of filmmaking.

In Response: Natalie on Mekas

Through  a very detailed and well put-together presentation by Natalie, the class was introduced to Jonas Mekas. Mekas was a filmmaker whose works found form after he moved to New York City and purchased a Bolex 16mm film camera. Mekas developed a great interest in capturing documentary styled pieces using defiant amateurism. Showing great potential, Mekas burst out of the gate by first making a feature film. His works would continue to grow in complexity while maintaining his amateur style and "snapshot" philosophy of filmmaking. Mekas’ style became very influential, even inspiring artists like Andy Warhol to make films. Mekas makes films to this day, showing that the art of filmmaking is a lifelong practice.

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

On Bela Belazs

Bela Balazs
Bela Balazs’ piece on sound gives a great breakdown of the different aspects of sound in cinema and their sole importance. Because the cinematic experience is meant to be so immersive for the viewer, the work that goes into creating a realistic soundscape is often overlooked. Balazs points out that things as small as silence can play a key role in expression and realism in films. Silence gives birth to the importance of sound in the same way a fade from black or white gives images their vibrant qualities. The key difference between images and sounds come with the need for sound to be layered. An isolated sound will be alarming and unrealistic, so a soundscape must be created through precisely placing even the most minute detail.