Monday, January 31, 2011

Study of a Space/Style.

For those that don't know, I'm currently a senior Film and Digital Media major at UC Santa Cruz. As with most students I have my qualms about the layout of the major, but my main concern is not getting into classes required to complete the major. I am also in what is known as the "production concentration," which basically means I'm focusing on the production aspect of filmmaking over critical analysis. I only have two more quarters left at this school, and I need to take two more production classes. Thank God I was able to get into the film production class I needed this quarter.

Film 172 is essentially an intermediate film production class. We are expected to have a decent knowledge of film terms and concepts. Making films is what I live for, so lectures for this class can get a bit dull. I understand the importance of the information, it's just a lot of redundant stuff most of us know already. Regardless, the focus of this class is to create one eight minute short film by the end of the course.

I had my idea for my short film even before the first day of this class. I've done a few stop frames in the past. Most notably "Sculpey the Slug" which premiered at that 2009 Santa Cruz Film Festival and "I-KAN Love" which won first place in IKAN's Short FIlm Contest. As an attempt to challenge myself, I wanted to raise the stakes. After seeing a few films online, I wanted to make a stop-frame with people.

Here are a few of the short films that inspired me.

So instead of animating an inanimate object or some clay sculpture, I plan to animate a human. Obviously, it would be easier to just film it like live-action, but that wouldn't quite get the look I'm going for. Also, I plan to tap into the imagination realm by including the animation of random household objects (i.e. iPods, pillows, slippers, etc.). The story I have planned is a bit elementary in terms of content, but this is more so I can focus on the style of the film.

Eli Hollinder, our professor for Film 172, gave us the assignment of studying a space/style. He recommended that we shoot in a space or in a style that we planned to use for our longer film. This was the perfect opportunity to try out the "style" of my film, because up until then I had never experimented with it.

After waking up one morning to catch the sunrise via timelapse, we set out to film everyday actions, but by taking bursts of photos. When we were all done, I think I had somewhere around 2400 photos. I then spent the rest of that day editing together the photos with sound. It was not always easy to pick the best sounds for each action, but I like the way the sound design turned out. Sound has never really been my forte, so I hope I can change that with this assignment!

After showing my class my work, they seemed pretty impressed. This was a big ego boost for me. Sometimes when you sit down with an edit for so long, grueling over the small, minute details, you can quickly lose focus of the piece as a whole. Many of the students asked how I did the intro timelapse/dolly shot. The teacher seemed pretty impressed with the work too. I'm happy with the overall outcome of the study and can't wait to get started on the real project! Check back in a few weeks and I should have the film online. For now, you can check out my tests below.

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