Tag Archives: Pixel Pun

Resolution.

Remember how the moon blew up in March?  Well I made a movie about that. Or…

Remember those two filmmakers who were going to team up and make a movie together?  Well I made a movie about that too. Or…

Remember those four larger film projects that I’ve had in post-production, some for around 8 years?  Well I made a movie about that too. Or…

Above all else, I made a film about failure.  I made the film below called “Resolution.”, and it’s below.  Let’s watch now, shall we?

Resolution. from Vvinni Gagnepain on Vimeo.

So there’s a lot of things here to parse out, but first let’s look at some technical aspects.  I’ve been working on “Resolution” since February of this year when I decided to use it as a way of exploring the software “Resolve” as a new editing suite (I’m still using Final Cut 7 for most of my projects, and I feel like sooner or later I’m going to have to switch to something newer and more up-to-date).  Well, I tried using Resolve, but in the end I just didn’t like it for editing.  It’s good for color work, but not for editing (and it’s designed to be for color work, editing is just something they’re just now incorporating).  But was “Resolution” still a project that should be completed and shown? Yes, in fact now it was more than ever.

The relevance goes to why I chose the projects I chose: Tracy McKnightly, Stories From Sturgeon, and Superb Fire Space Laser Blasters (more on “Lun” in a second).  These are three projects that have been simmering for a long time, projects that are so close to being finished but won’t be because of small but significant things: Tracy McKnightly needed so much ADR work mostly because of a last minute drop-out of the main actor, but also because I had only completed one semester of school and I didn’t understand that sound was a thing; Stories From Sturgeon wasn’t able to get enough footage from the filming of the project itself and so with only interviews to go by there wasn’t much of a documentary I could make; Superb Fire Space Laser Blasters! needed lots of miniature work or animation work or something to get exterior shots of the spaceship, but also I was missing video and audio from when we shot, and even on set I had lost a lot of my ability to plan and work on a film set which resulted in a rushed schedule that didn’t quite work out.  Now I know that no one was waiting with too bated breath for these films to be completed, but I had failed them and I needed to make it right.  So, much like with “No!” before this (the most obvious predecessor, right down to having a punctuation mark in the title), I decided to fuse these failed projects together into one.  I fused them into one project that had itself failed on a small but significant level.

Now, let’s talk about “Lun”.  Right off the bat I realized that the biggest difference between “Resolution.” and “No!” was the projects chosen, particularly how they could communicate and function together.  You see, “No!” is made of primarily visual and experimental pieces, things that I thought would be neat to look at but never quite did.  Fitting these looser pieces into one narrative (“Death is a Corgi”) was just a matter of filling holes.  In “Resolution.” I was working with three pieces that had their own stories, three pieces that each had their own feel and their own flow, and fitting them together proved to be tricky.  So I decided I needed a framing device, and it seemed the best way to do that would be to latch on to the documentary aspect of “Stories From Sturgeon”, the discussion of the moon from “Superb Fire Space Laser Blasters!”, and the single image of a shining moon from “Tracy McKnightly” together into one piece.  This piece would end up being called “Lun”, and I decided that the framing device would be me going around and hosting interviews of one simple question: Why did you blow up the moon?  Lun quickly grew out of control and- as has been the case with many projects that I’ve wanted to complete these past four years- I ran out of the resources to make this happen.  What I was left with was a bunch of images of the moon (which I wasn’t even able to finish collecting, because the moon mysteriously vanished from the night sky.  Thanks, light pollution), and some title cards of Moon “puns” (as is said in “Resolution.”, these aren’t puns.  They’re not even plays on words).

We’ve already talked about “No!” being a predecessor of this piece, but I think the greater predecessor is “I Don’t Talk About Music: The Musical” (Another punctuation mark!  I use SO much punctuation!).  Soon, with my project on failed projects failing and everything not quite reaching the titular resolution, it became clear that this was to be another project based on failure.  More specifically, a project based on my failure.  I’ve since been treating this like a “IDTAMTM” Lite.  Whereas the previous film focused on a deeply personal sense of failure to belong and connect and all sorts of other messy things, “Resolution.” would focus primarily on a career-based failure.  So much of these past ten years have been about me growing into and defining myself as an artist, and now that I’m removed from my medium and have made the decision to move away from a career in cinema production, I can’t help but feel a certain loss.  The same loss I feel over the incompletion of Tracy McKnightly.

So I suppose that’s all why I made a movie about why I can’t make movies anymore.  Or maybe I made a film about why I can’t make films anymore.  It all depends on whether I’m One or The Other.  But at least one thing is certain: I shot for the moon and blew it all up.

Lincoln Park Zoo 07-16-15

Another Data Bend!  Much like with the previous Grand Island entry I was trying to bend some separate aspects of the original file separate from each other; this time it was Whites, Mids, and Blacks.  After more overlaying, etc. we get to the final file embedded below.

I believe I may have reached the point where I’m bending too much, or at least trying to do too much with all of this.  With the constant overlays and bendings, etc. much of the original file has been lost (not much of a problem), but also much of the chaotic beauty I find in these is being lost and obfuscated (very much a problem).  We’ll see if I’m able to fix this come next bend, or if I’ll move on to another experimental obsession.

Grand Island 07-05-15

 

I’m beginning to move into more exploration with my bends than the bending itself, this Grand Island glitch of a crab being an exploration of bending each color (RGB) separately.  The result is a fascinating bit that evokes a haunted security tape, that by glimpsing this crab on the beach we’ve somehow glimpsed into an extra-dimensional rift that’s destroying the fabric of reality itself.  The smattering of this reality boundary continues to be the thing I’m most interested with in these bends, and it’s something I hope to continue to explore.

The only regret that I have with this bend is that with all of the ensuing pixels, rainbow shatters, and freezes that the footage of the crab itself gets a bit lost.  With most of my other footage this doesn’t matter too much, as the footage for these bends is much like the footage for any other film, merely a tool for exploration and (in more narrative works).  The main difference for this ghost crab then is that I liked the little guy, I thought he was pretty cute.

A Study in Brown

This one is an old video, from maybe a year ago so not too old, that I had thought I uploaded here but apparently I didn’t!  So here it is now, A Study in Brown:

A Study in Brown from Vvinni Gagnepain on Vimeo.

I like to see my data bending work as gradually improving, and this marked the point where I was confident in creating these bent images, and wanted to begin pushing the boundaries further.  So For “A Study in Brown”, I not only had numerous versions of the main chick video on top of each other, but I also had a separate, also brown, video that was overlayed of sand falling (both videos were taken during a visit to the Museum of Science and Industry here in Chicago).  I think it’s a successful experiment and a good mile-marker for me as a growing experimental artist.

As an actual film to be seen online?  Eh, I’d put among my “Cat Video”, as something to watch keeping in mind that it’s an experiment.  A fuller experiment than my other bends, but still an experiment.  I do think the Brazillian Jazz adds a much more relaxed feeling than some other works, and mimics well the sleepiness of the chicks seen beneath the fraying video, and so perhaps this is all a way of visualizing the fraying of reality as a chick goes to sleep and enters the dream world?  Or maybe I’m just reaching too far.  I leave it to you, Comments!

Vanitas

Huh.  Well I’ve realized that I’ve been a bit behind on posting up-to-date films.  Sure, I’ve been putting up all of the short experiments that are on my YouTube Page, but what about all of the more important films on my ever-popular and beginning in a much better letter Vimeo Page?

If it weren’t for every major newspaper covering my life as front-of-page news, none of you would know of the slightly longer, more put-together experimental shorts that I’ve been making!  Well, I’m going to fix that. I’m going to fix that today.  Here,  Watch my latest.  Watch Vanitas:

Vanitas from Vvinni Gagnepain on Vimeo.

Wow, that was fun!  So let’s first take a look at how this was all put together.  Firstly, I wanted to try my hand at time-lapse filming, so for every ten minutes or so for one afternoon I took about 15-30 seconds of video of the same still-life in front of my Cactus: Okonkwo.  Once I put all of the clips together I had about six minutes of video, far too long for an experimental piece, and so I got to work speeding everything up to get it within the typical 1 minute these data bends are (Also: The longer the video, the greater the chance that my Data Bending program, Audacity, will fail to load everything).  After that I took the sped up video and transferred it into Audacity, where you’re able to manipulate the data inside of the video file and get the resulting glitches.  I repeated this about six times, each time exporting a new video file with the already-bent video files in it, sometimes these were overlaid on top of the original file, sometimes there were two bent files overlaid on top of each other, and I would also alternate the speed of the video (sometimes the file would be 1 minute, sometimes 2, sometimes 30 seconds).  Finally I had the completed video, I did a bit of color work (mostly to get the dead grey space resulting from numerous manipulations of data to be something a bit more interesting), and there we go.  The product is above. You should have seen it by now.

BUT WHAT DOES IT MEAN? The title, set-up, etc. of this film is based around the Flemish painting style of the renaissance, which features heavy themes of futility, inevitability, and death.  All the fun things.  I wanted to do something a bit more involved than using vacation videos, and I figured the best way to explore this (as well as using it as a focus on light, time, and interactions of form) would be to make a still life, and when I think still lives I think of the Vanitas.  Vanitas also feeds into what I’m exploring through these data bends: Using the essence of a digital video against itself.  There are two large camps of digital filmmakers: Those who use the digital medium and try to make it look “film-like”, and those who don’t try to make the digital video look like film but don’t try to do much to differentiate it from what has come before.  With my data bends I try to look at what makes shooting digital unique and explore the aesthetics of the digital (so pixels, frames bleeding into each other, freezing, etc).  Also, with digital works there is no physical record of what you’ve done.  Instead everything exists in a series of ones and zeroes on a hard drive somewhere.  So, in the end, a lot of what this piece plays with is the transient nature of the digital image and how soon (maybe in a week or so) this piece will be lost to memory and time and, as such, reach its “death”.

Bonne Terre Mines 5/30/14

So this is a data bend from a while ago, but currently the last one I have finished.  It’s from the Bonne Terre Mines in Missouri, the largest man-made underground cave structures (although most of the mines are now underwater).  Back in the day they were lead mines.  Now they’re a tourist attraction. And now it’s also a data bend:

 

Even for a series of experiments, this one is much more abstract than some of the others (due in large part because, surprise surprise, there’s not a lot of light underground).  The shimmering and jumping effect, then, becomes even more noticed, as does each extra pixel and splash of “missing green”.  I like it.  I’m also a big fan of the cameo of my brother-in-law Hector at the end as he turns around and is almost stuck in a pixelized time loop.  It’s like a monster from a J-Horror movie about a monster that attacks video pirates.

Lincoln Park 5/14/14

Another glitch, this one of birds at the Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago.

I like this one.  I tried to be a bit more experimental with it by layering two separate glitches of the same video file on top of one another, and I think the colors are a bit brighter and the glitches a bit more pronounced because of it.  Even the glitches themselves worked out much better than ones in the past have, perhaps it was the movement (and lack thereof) of the birds, perhaps it was  the colors or lighting, but I this is the first glitch I’ve done so far that I think could stand on its own.  What do you think?  What’s your favorite so far?

Bishops Castle 8-24-12

Here’s another Data Bend. It’s still interesting to see the glitch effects and variations in color, but there’s something missing to make this all click into place.  I feel like these would be better suited as a type of projection piece wherein the viewer would be immersed in this world, rather than watching it on a tiny YouTube window.  The other problem is that as the video gets more and more compressed from Final Cut to a usable mp4 then to YouTube a lot of the Effects that I found most fascinating and a lot of the digital texture gets lost.  Give it a watch and let me know what you guys think.

Next time I may try exporting this as HD all the way through, and I may try and see what I can do with color replacement and the like (Those grey blocks, though brief, can be distracting).  Fortunately these are works in progress, and you get to be along for the ride!

|Square|

One of the last films I made of my sophomore year of college was meant to be a documentary project (I don’t remember the exact assignment, but at that point it didn’t really matter).  Mind you, this was when my school had gone completely bankrupt and had, for all intents and purposes, closed down and so this was also looking like it’d be the last film I’d ever make at CSF.  So I decided to make a documentary on carpet. I also wanted to merge this documentary with my own growing form of non-linear story-telling to create something as scattered as the square patterns on the floor.  Let’s take a look at what I did, shall we:

|Square| from Vvinni Gagnepain on Vimeo.

So that’s that.  The reason I chose this carpet, if you didn’t catch it, is that it was  not only something unique to the school (the place) but it was also a suitable enough anachronism to fully capture every bit of  my time in New Mexico and at the College of Santa Fe.    To the extent of capturing a time and place, I’d say the film is a success.  To the extent of capturing a bit of what makes this carpet so interesting, I’d say it does half of the job.  Having three people talk somewhat confusedly I’d say sort of captures the confusion of it, and the movement over the carpet was a good idea in theory.  However, once again, my tendency to play fast and loose with color correction sort of ruined the psychedelic  scheme of the flooring, which is one of the things that makes it most interesting (I’m also not sure if I was sold on white balancing yet.  I am now, don’t worry).  The sound also sounds rather muffled, and I’m pretty sure it has to do with my technical lack of understanding (this is just one step in the journey that showed me its better to work with a crew of people who knew what they were doing, rather than alone).  It’s still a neat piece, and currently its the last documentary I made (though there are some others I’d like to make eventually), and after returning to CSF I was told that many people thought this documentary should be required viewing (and I’d also say that the larger and more immersive you can get this piece, the more spectacular it will be).

Paint Mines 8-2-12

This is a new experiment I’m trying out.  I’ve acquired some bits of video from vacations that I take, not a whole lot mind you, but when I come across something breathtaking I simply need to capture it.  Unfortunately the internet is littered with these, and also unfortunately the  video will never truly capture the experience, so instead I’ve decided to delve into the world of data bending in order to make these videos into something new and interesting (in theory).  So here’s the first one: taken from the Indian Paint Mines outside of Colorado Springs.  Enjoy, let me know what you think of these.