Over the past 15 published posts, I don’t believe I have written much at all about my time in this first half of the year (Semester 1) at Kingswood’s Nepean College (NADC). I think now would be a good time to start sharing some of my thoughts, insights and back-stories to some of my work that i’ve produced there.
In the past month or so, our class has been working on creating a movie poster. Really it was an exercise to test the students Photoshop skills and capabilities, but for me, having spent the past 7 years slaving away to my own personal drive to teach myself about image/video editing, this was more of a “creative” challenge, rather than an academic/practical/technical one.
I’ve been immersed with interest when it comes to film production. For years, I have day-dreamed and fantasized about being ‘behind the scenes’ as a photographer; to witness the magic. When you first think of a behind-the-scenes photographer, you might think of Actor Jeff Bridges and his famous panoramic photo book memento’s that he gives out to his crew’s as gifts. Not only do I think of Jeff, I also think of Matthew Modine. He had the amazing opportunity (as an actor) to photograph behind-the-scenes on set with director and legend Stanley Kubrick on Full Metal Jacket. I love how “it was Kubrick’s idea to have him shoot so many candid shots of the set“. Candid photography can be so revealing and powerful, all at the same time. Like a fly on the wall, you bear witness to things people don’t normally see. You can read in an interview with Matthew, about some of his experiences photographing BTS here = Interview: Matthew Modine on Kubrick and His ‘Full Metal Jacket’ App
It makes me wonder if i’m somewhat dyslexic (though I can spell words, read and learn… although, I do go completely blank at times when I have to speak out loud. I also never received my ‘pen license’ in primary school, so my handwriting isn’t the best) just like Mr. Modine when I read “I’m dyslexic and I believe that part of the reason I leaned toward and preferred the Rollei was because when you peer into the viewfinder – the images appear backward – or normal for a person who sees the world backward.” – since I love looking through the lens of a Mamiya with a mirrored image. You compose differently when you have this influence at hand.
Back to the work of Jeff Bridges, I have to mention Matthew Fox’s beautiful work, in the fashion of that of Mr Bridges’ panoramic/behind-the-scenes photograpjy – that Fox put together while on LOST. I wrote a little bit about his video in an old post,’EL OW VEE EE, LOVE‘.
Back to the world of movie posters; Being a film addict, the Art of the movie poster made me think long and hard about what I could possibly create and put together, given the time I had allocated. I had a lot of choices to make when deciding which path to take, design-wise. Thinking back to a few weeks prior, I had a collection of photographs of various glassware from a previous class exercise. These images were absolutely pointless to me… and after a time spent in deep thinking (whilst suffering along side my black hairy sister), I chose to create and give meaning to those images I had of glass cups and bottles. Like all great photography – a Photograph should contain meaning (substance). The meaning I chose to give for these images, came (unexpectedly) from back when Brooke and Thomas were rescued from being deserted on a lone island in the middle of the ocean. Mum and Dad watch The Bold & The Beautiful every day (and have done so for years). And I know from experience how boring this show can get. So you remember when something BIG happens in the show… This Castaway-sque scenario was so hilarious and bizarre, there is no way you could easily forget something like that. Ridge, with Brooke in his arms, giving her water, repeating “Tiny sips!” with his guttural voice. As a phrase, I haven’t forgotten it.
When taken out of it’s original context, I could imagine someone like Craig Ferguson impersonating Hannibal Lecter with his “It rubs the lotion on its skin.”…. “Put the lotion in the basket” quotations from Silence of the Lambs; quoting or citing “Tiny sips”, but in that dark and creepy nature. When married with those images of liquid instruments, I felt that I could create an interesting and compelling pseudo/concocted movie poster series.
And a special extra, a concept card, promotional design.
After the ‘posters period’, our following tasks were heavily related to video/motion picture media, as opposed to straight still photographic presentations. Our introduction to this cluster of study, surrounded stop motion animation and story-boarding. To begin with, we had to use Photoshop’s video and animation functions and features. My current version of Photoshop is a pre-public release, so I didn’t have the necessary “Timeline” mode for the animation module. I didn’t want to use the ‘tweening’ feature supplied in the animation module since I wanted reliable control over the animation, and I also didn’t want to download updates for the software since my hard drive is teetering on full capacity. My only option was to go the advance method – something I hadn’t visited in quite a while. Adobe After Effects is a really fun program to use. I’ve followed VideoCopilot‘s tutorials since early 2008, and I have learned so, so much, thanks to Andrew Kramer. The information i’ve gained from him has helped me in so many fields, other than VFX. In general, his advanced knowledge of such an advanced piece of computer software really brushes off on you (if you really concentrate and study what shares – he shares so much!). With this advantage in my pocket, I went ahead and created a looping animation, featuring an upside-down “headshot”, which I had planned for a family album book cover (still in the making).
In respects to “Thinking in Reverse”, both in method and process, and also in both idea and actuality – I created a what I felt could be called a “screen saver”. SAVE YOUR SCREEN!!! – With craziness and mental-ness in mind, ‘Headspace‘, a mental health organization/service (having been on tv a lot recently) came to give me more meaning to my idea.
The first edition can loop for infinity (here). Both in motion and sound =
The second, has more of a mental conversation through tempo, bass, and a fluctuation in volume and vibrations. It can loop for as long as you can handle the track…
After this fun play around with idea’s, it was time to become more serious with the task at hand. Story telling; a realm of communication. With 30-60 seconds available for the exercise, I thought I would tell a short story, with David Hockney’s “Joiners” series in mind, and Darren Aronofsky’s (an absolute master of storytelling and filmmaking) The Fountain, musical score (by my favourite, Clint Mansell) supplying the emotion – I came up with ‘Transcendence’.
The story of a tree.