Amy Hanley

The Ways of Making studio initially appealed to me for two primary reasons; firstly I was intrigued by the notion of alternative ways of filmmaking; secondly, I sought the opportunity to develop my technical skills behind camera and work with the studio leader, Paul. Initially the vast creative freedom offered in this studio had me a little lost, as I am a person whose mind is somewhat chaotic and therefore enjoy the harness of structure. Nonetheless, I soon found a rhythm within the studio and the set tasks, and the fact that I was able to experiment so broadly and pursue my creative vision resulted in a fantastic learning experience.

I set out with the intention of exploring the relationship between image and sound within film. I endeavoured to investigate the existence of a hierarchy between these two mediums, and perhaps which (if any) is privileged as the primary storyteller within film narrative. The project I developed acted as a vehicle for this investigation, as I set out to create a film in which the story is told wholly through sound, and the image component is to act as a means of aid; both for the auditory story and the viewer’s imagination. Although the research I did into the relationship between these two mediums was interesting and very insightful, I gained the most from the practical, hands-on tasks and experiments I conducted. As mentioned above, I had intended to use my time in the studio to increase my skills behind camera, whilst maintaining my existing interest in audio production. I felt that the studio and the project I created really afforded me to do this. Although I didn’t spend an extremely large amount of time behind camera, I definitely did increase my understanding of camera operation, largely from a theoretical point of view, which has undoubtedly translated in a practical sense.

The process of the final production itself was a very steep learning curve. The closest I have come to an understanding of the relationship between image and sound, arrived in the final stages of post-production. I would like to say that all was revealed to me through the process of attempting to apply the images that I had shot to the sonic story I created, but unfortunately this is not the case. (I think I may have used up all my epiphanies throughout the semester). However, this was the moment that I came to conclude that the relationship between image and sound is so extremely complex, that these two mediums fuse and marry and disconnect in so many fantastic and intricate ways that we cannot consider sound to be subordinate to image, or vice versa. In fact to attempt to observe a hierarchy within this relationship is somewhat impossible as the cinematic conventions, which originally brought these mediums together, have expanded and rapidly evolved into multiplatform media (an a variety of film), as a result of the synthesis of these two mediums, the relationship is incredibly fluid and making it increasingly difficult to analyse.

This project and The Ways of Making studio is only the beginning of what one can only assume is going to be a life-long investigation of these two mediums. I believe one of the more specific ways to explore this relationship is through the psychological responses that are generated from our engagement with both image and sound, namely when the status quo is turned upside down. My research in this studio has inspired an interest in the way that these two mediums reside within our perception, and the way that we recreate the sense of hearing and sight into film narratives. For example there is an awareness of the intimate nature of sound, and this is often stated in theoretical discussions on the subject; although we may acknowledge that intimacy is a principle characteristic of our psychological relationship to sound, to truly consider it, is perhaps so intimate that language cannot express the ways in which we know it. At this point I would suggest that the same can be said for the image’s relationship to sound, that perhaps the intimacy of this relationship is too great to express through language. For this reason I will continue to pursue a fuller and perhaps endless investigation of this relationship, not only between these two mediums, but their relationship to us, and the human experience of film. I would like to finish this final post with (an adaptation of) a quote from a well-known children’s story, one which I believe somewhat, encompasses my experience of the Ways of Making studio.

“Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?”

“That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,” said the Cat Paul.

“I don’t much care where–” said Alice the student.

“Then it doesn’t matter which way you go,” said the Cat Paul.

“So long as I get SOMEWHERE,” Alice the student added as an explanation.

“Oh, you’re sure to do that,” said the Cat Paul, “if you only walk long enough.”

Lewis Carroll, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (1865)

Amy Hanley, Ways of Making (2016)

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