Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Adventures in Filmmaking: Something to Show for Myself

After months of complaining about my cinema classes, I finally have something to show for myself. I have to say, I am pretty happy with how this whole thing turned out considering how much I stressed out about it. My professor really liked it and the annoying guy in my class who I've been calling "pretentious film snob guy" on twitter said the sound was really good and that he could "watch the image all day." Which is pretty impressive seeing as he can find something to nitpick about everyone else's films.
The film is called Phantasmagoria and yes I knew what it meant before I used it as my film's title. Watch the film below and then if you really want to know the magic behind my movie, keep reading below. 
Just so you know, everything is purposeful, there are no glitches, so just keep watching.
When I shoot I occasionally have an idea. This was not one of those times. This was one of those times when I got lucky. I happened to be awake at 3 a.m. because I am a night owl when I realized it was snowing. Of course I didn't have a tripod, I was planning on getting one in the morning, but snow waits for no one. I grabbed my camera and headed outside, right to the woods behind the back of my building. The image that eventually became Phantasmagoria was the first thing I shot. I saw the snow falling around the street light and thought the image would look interesting. I shot a lot of other things that night, including a family of deer and snow covered tree branches, but without a tripod and in the dark, nothing really came out too well (good thing I'm not trying to be a surgeon, I have the shakiest hands ever).
I honestly don't know where the idea came from for this project. I think the first thing was since it was shot at night, I wanted to create this sort of dreamscape. The more I learned about final cut pro the more fun I had manipulating the image and sound. I slowed down the image of the snow falling by 80% and distorted the colors by adding filters. I rotated some of the images so that in some scenes the snow appears to be moving upside down. The sound is of boots walking on the snow and the song "Howl" by Florence + the Machine both drastically slowed down and layered on top of each other. I also added an echo to give it a strange quality so that you can't quite decipher what the sound is even though it sounds familiar. 
The end of the film I wanted to be like waking from a dream. I wanted to show what ordinary images made up the extraordinary phantasms. 
I guess since I've looked at these images so many times during editing they do not seem remarkable to me, but everyone in my class really seemed to like them. I do have to say there is something nice in the image. Almost soothing. I honestly do like how it came out which is rare because I am usually very critical of everything I do. I think I like this film so much because it is a product of many hours spent in the cinema lab freezing as I waited for my film to render on the world's slowest mac. But I think it all paid off. 
I would love feedback or questions. Anything really. I am putting myself out there. My first film is up for all the world to see. I want to improve, I want to know what people think. This is the first film I've been able to show and it's a big deal to me so I would appreciate greatly some opinions.

1 comment:

  1. This is really lovely imagery, and excellent use of sound! You manipulated the seemingly simple shot of falling snow really well and I definitely got a surreal vibe. I liked the film as a whole, though I think the flashing title "Phantasmagoria" at the end is sort of unnecessary.