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:
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”.