Experiment. Screen. Sensation

RMIT Media Studio 2019

“Deprived” dir. Emily Nicholson

The ways I hope my screened work engaged the audience and communicated the key concern of sensation in this studio is the use of music working in conjunction with visuals. As music is a medium that is consumed internally, it makes it a more intimate and personal experience. The rhythm vibrates through your body and you can feel the emotions running through you, which is a different experience to video and is more engaging. I hope the audience felt connected to the protagonist and his journey from isolation to freedom as the mood of the song transitioned from somber to blissful. In addition, the song I used gradually becomes faster and more upbeat towards the end. I hope the audience felt the weight of the moment when the protagonist finally breaks free from his self-imprisonment, which is when the song reaches its loudest and highest point. Furthermore, the visuals complement the music and allow the audience to physically see the character emotionally grow through his dance movements during specific moments of the song. I wanted to captivate my audience by experimenting with juxtaposition, which was my research topic this semester. I used match cuts that cut between the protagonists old and new self to visually strengthen the change in his confidence. My film also communicates experimentation, which is another key concern of the studio. I wanted to engage my audience through the visuals and editing as this was how I intended to tell the story. I experimented with colour and superimposing images, which creates a psychedelic atmosphere that I wanted the audience to feel immersed in.

If I were to keep working on this media piece, the key things I would want to improve and extend on are the editing and subject matter. I explored blend modes, colour grading and superimposing images, which I feel captured the psychedelic style I was aiming to achieve. However, I would be interested in developing my editing skills further and experiment with green screening and special effects. This could add an element of surrealism to the psychedelic visuals. By creating a surreal world, it could suggest the story is happening within the protagonist’s mind and he is imagining himself becoming more self-confident. This would emphasise his longing to break free, but does not have the courage to do so in reality. Also, by restricting it to the confines of his mind would add to my theme of self-imprisonment. I would also be interested in using more dancers as it could create a stronger juxtaposition between the start and end of the video. By beginning with the protagonist alone and then ending it with him surrounded by a group of people would create a sense of unity and belonging, which is what he has been deprived of.

Lili’s film ‘Morph’ explores surrealism, which was one of the key ideas addressed by the studio. Her use of unconventional camera angles, such as the abstract shot looking through the peep hole, gives this film a surreal quality. Her experimentation with editing and sound effects manipulates time and space, which makes the audience feel as though they have been transported to an unfamiliar world. In addition, her choice to isolate the protagonist makes you feel like you are trespassing into a private moment. The exclusion of dialogue also adds to the surrealism and creates tension as it forces you to focus on the visuals, making you feel as though you are spying on this person without their knowledge.

James’ video ‘For Esther’ explored similar techniques to the practice of video essay films, which is another key idea addressed by the studio. His continuous narration is poetic and transportive, which reminds me of Agnes Varda’s work. The visuals are kept quite simple, like hers, which makes you focus on what is being said. It is very intimate and personal as all essay films should be. His use of match cuts between home video footage and footage from the present day reminds me of Chris Marker’s film ‘La Jetee’. In this film, Marker uses juxtaposition by cutting between footage of past and present, which adds emphasis to their connections. James has taken a similar approach, but has expanded on this idea. Each match cut he uses makes you feel as though you are stepping in and out of specific moments captured in time, and by using real home video footage, makes it feel more personal and authentic.

Being part of an audience at an event like this had quite an impact on my experience viewing my own and other’s work. It was beneficial having a large group of people watch my film as I got the chance to overhear what some of the audience members thought of it, which were all positive comments. I also felt as though more people responded whilst watching the films at this event compared to when we viewed the rough cuts in class, so it was interesting to see how they reacted to certain moments in each video. It was also a more energetic environment and seeing each film on the big screen made it more immersive, which added to the whole experience. Overall, this exhibition was rewarding as we got to hear instant feedback through the crowds’ reactions, which informed me on what worked in my video and what could be improved.


jamesthompson • November 12, 2019

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