Hey, check out my friend James’ band, The Rouge Royale! I had the chance to film them a few months ago playing at a garden party, and James just threw it up onto YouTube. I’m glad the camerawork turned out well; though I’m used to shooting and then editing away the parts where I’m reframing, it gives it a very honest feeling!
Archive for 'Films'
New FilmAid trailer directed by yours truly. What an experience. Thanks to everyone involved, especially Jessica Brunetto, Mandi Corso, Wendy Finster, Kevin Hyman, Ryan Jones, Liz Manne, Mary Soan, and Anthony Weintraub.
The video and its accompanying dance are playing THIS WEEKEND IN CAMBRIDGE at the Harvard Ballet Company’s “Silhouettes” – go see them!!
About a month ago, friend and choreographer Owen David contacted me about doing an introduction to his dance piece, which was commissioned by the Harvard Ballet Company. His dance piece and the video premiere in a show THIS WEEKEND at Harvard, so buy tickets if you’re in the area!
So why is it called Studies in Play? Because we had a lot of fun making it! It was supposed to be a quick and light endeavor, but video projects rarely are. It was such a release to be behind a camera finding shots and playing with dancers, swinging around their bodies in interesting locations as they moved; I began to look forward to our after-work sessions even as they ate away at all my free time and then some. Owen and our third collaborator Patra Jongjitirat were loving the release and creative exercise as well (even if they were a bit flustered when I would hit record and say “okay now dance!” “Dance how?” Make it up..improv!”)
We began with a preproduction meeting, then walked around my area in Hell’s Kitchen to do a camera test, a few of whose shots ended up in the final piece. Next we went to my room and shot a bedroom dance, which was actually elaborately choreographed by Owen for the video. It was lit with a $8 worklight hung from my window to look like a streetlamp. We walked out onto my fire escape and filmed there, cand then did two separate video shoots with Owen and Patra – one in Prospect Heights and one on Roosevelt Island. In all we shot 3+ hours of footage.
Post production was a back-and-forth between the edit, the visuals, and sound. We completed a very rough 3-minute edit to start, then trimmed it down to something more approaching a final list. At the same time we began to select ambient sounds. There is a generator in there, a washing machine, overlays from multiple people at multiple parties, noise from the ocean in Hawaii, and very little of the sound we actually recorded. In some cases we were taking noises from the city, remixing them, and adding them to take the place of other noises. The breaths are all mine, the heartbeats stock sounds. I did color correction with Final Cut and the help of Magic Bullet Looks, which gave the film its grainy characteristic. Sound was edited on Soundtrack Pro, which gave us greater flexibility to work with pitch and reverberation.
Many of the films I make have deep symbolism and multiple narratives interacting, down to the shot-by-shot level. To me it is not important that every bit of that is clear to the viewer, and it is certainly not expertly conveyed in all cases. But I believe that a coherent structure and substructures make for a coherent watching experience. If there is a coherent idea on my end, the viewer will be able to impose their own coherent idea; if there is not, it can get confusing and I would do that only for artistic effect.
I can tell you what was going on in our minds. While Owen’s accompanying dance is all-female, light, and sassy, the video attempts to be another take on femininity. We wanted to convey the experience of going out at night and having an encounter: the thrill of it, but also its overwhelmingness. The oppression of drinking, parties, the city, sex, and ultimately the question: can I handle this all? Is this too much? Is it too fast?
Below I’ve put my two favorite shots that didn’t make it into the final cut. We burned a solo cup on a pan, and if we were to have used it I would have blacked out the background better – and decided it was a bit too much. I also got a beautiful rack focus on these subway steps that just didn’t fit in. Watch the solo cup melting or the stairs rack focus. That’s part of filmmaking, though–killing your favorite elements if they don’t work.
LAX -> JFK
I tried to capture my state of mind in that moment. It’s not supposed to be pleasant.
- Engine sounds
- Delta’s In flight Safety Video
- Barack Obama 2008 acceptance speech
- FOX, attempted shoe bomb
- NBC, Tom Brokaw, 9/11/01
- Osama Bin Laden 2004 speech
- Brassed Off, sampled in Tubthumping by Chumbawumba: Truth is, I thought it mattered.
- CNN, first 5 minutes of 9/11 attack coverage
- John F. Kennedy: We choose to go to the moon.
- My family singing Maot Tzur to me over skype
- First Moon Landing
- Ted Hope receives Trailblazer Award at Woodstock
- Battlestar Galactica miniseries
- CNN, Ivan Eland on the Terror Alert System
Music (not where I got the audio from, I had most of the MP3s:)
- Fischerspooner, Emerge
- Vivaldi, Four Seasons – Spring I
- Andy Suzuki, California
- Eartha Kitt, Santa Baby
- Beatles, All You Need Is Love
- Beach Boys, California Girls
- Alicia Keys, Empire State of Mind
- Beatles, A Day In The Life
- Simon and Garfunkel, 59th Street Bridge Song (Feelin Groovy)
- Kelly Clarkson, Star Spangled Banner
- John Lennon, Imagine
Edit: Our REJECTED entry in the film contest. Failure is one of the many steps towards success, and it was an awesome video to make. So…SEE THE FILM THAT NIKON DOESN’T WANT YOU TO SEE!!
Hey @rainnwilson, I’m lookin’ at you. I just uploaded our entry to the Nikon 140-second film contest, and if we win the prize is $100,000! I will find out in a few weeks if we have been selected to be among the top 50, and if that happens I’ll need all of your help in getting the word out and getting people to watch and comment.
For now, a comment on the Nikon website will really help and go a LONG way! Give it a watch–it’s a comedy short about my unemployed roommate:
On my trip to Greece, Bulgaria, and Italy, I brought my small digital camera, which also functions as a full-resolution video camera. I try to keep shooting and editing video, even if it’s just something fun. For now, here’s the first video. I’ve got some beautiful panoramas made from up to ten images, which I will upload soon. Enjoy!
Freelance work leads me to the most interesting places. I got a call recently from Butch Oxendine of the ASGA, which just a few years ago gave my student government documentary a favorable review in their monthly publication. I created the five-minute introduction to their annual convention in Washington, DC. Not only does it pay the bills, but it’s fun meeting new people and interacting with different organizations. I also got to recruit my friend Adam Robbins for the voiceover. Video coming soon – hit some YouTube hiccups.
Other recent freelance gigs include work with Meerkat Media on Pushback Network’s annual leadership summit, assistant editing on Isaac Solotaroff’s Wham! Bam! Islam!, and transcription for Rory Kennedy’s Moxie Firecracker Films and Stefan Forbes’ Interpositive Media. I’ve been afforded a rich diversity of work and I hope that continues to be the case!
I’ve been involved for a few months with the good folks at Digital Democracy, who are working with groups around Burma’s border to bring better communication technology to the region. It began with a study by co-founders Emily Jacobi and Mark Belinsky, which found a correlation between access to technology and self-identification as an activist. They have since been striving to improve the ability of leaders in the area to hold meetings and exchange ideas through technology.
My time with Digital Demoocracy began with an interview in May with a brief interview. After asking about my interests in the project, skils, and time commitment, Mark said casually, “just out of curiosity, what kinds of technology do you use?” When I told them about my MacBook and iPhone, a relieved smile passed over Mark’s face. “I’m going to like working here,” I thought.
Next week Mark and Emily leave for the Burma border region, and we’re launching a TV show that chronicles their adventures as they happen. Myself and another intern will be editing it from the US Subscribe via RSS or just visit the page from time to time: http://digitaldemocracy.blip.tv/. I will also be posting periodic updates on this blog.
In other news, the Sophie Barthes event was a complete success. Meeting her and Andrij was excellent, and they had a lot of insightful things to say about filmmaking and where true inspiration comes from. Thanks to everyone who came, and do check out Cold Souls this weekend! I leave in a few hours for Rhode Island for the film festival; it will be nice to see old friends and make some awesome new ones!
Read the positive review of the rough draft on ivygateblog here.
Zac knows the Undergraduate Council of Students’ constitution by heart.
John has a hard time thinking of anything he’s really done in two years on UCS.
And Arthur has never been to a meeting – he’s too busy playing with his band!
Watch as the three candidates, cheered on by a crazy crew of characters, fight for the hearts and minds of a student body that just doesn’t care.
In the race to the top, anything is fair game!