Scroll down for video of last edit.
THE WEEK’S RESEARCH
Rituals are purposeful, deliberate acts. How can I portray a sense of purpose with the camera?
Viewing the embalming scenes in Departures, it occured to me that, having an action enter a frame could be a possible answer. The camera becomes the stationary anticipating eye, welcoming something to happen. The camera is thus likened to the performance space, encouraging and revealing a set of practised movements.
Initially, I had merely intended to record a series of separate shots but it ended up becoming a linear sequence. The afterthought proved to add more meaning into the work: when small actions are connected, they add up and form a more meaningful picture.
Working towards a linear sequence also gave me more practise to “shoot to edit”. While recording, I constantly noted what the actor’s “first position” was, in relation to the previous shot, for continuity.
This week, I see that a purposeful entrance accompanied with combining smaller actions together can create a “ritual”.
While planning the shots list, I had a preconceived idea of the content and order of actions. During the shoot and editing process however, I allowed change to happen. Sometimes, it was done to overcome unforeseen challenges, hence the redirection. Other times, it was a new aesthetic choice based on whatever resources available. The end product is never fully faithful to the initial idea in mind.
I think it’s a good thing to be adaptable and allow the work to breathe; to be moulded by unpredictable circumstances. It helps me become more open to admitting what had been mistaken to work. On the other hand, it means I am not confident about any concrete idea and this can be problematic. I tend to lose sight of my primary research and end up filming flippantly. The research and reflection can then only happen in hindsight.
It’s good that I had made lists about my goals to keep some form of framework and consistency – a systematic learning and making.
THE INITIAL IDEA
“Every action has an equal and opposite reaction”, or so Newton believes. (Honestly, I live by this.) The main action is to effectively strip the bed. The interaction with the doll, an object at home with the bed, was meant to show dread and delay. A responsibility to clean the bed is countered by a distraction caused by the doll.
The shots list included more scenes with other dolls, caressing the bed and breathing in pillows. I thought these actions would inform better the character’s motivations (main action) and challenges (counter action).
However, during the shoot, I felt like those counter actions looked very self-indulgent, especially caressing and breathing. I am not very sure why. Maybe it was because subtle actions tend to take time to notice. They looked contrived in mid or wide shots, the only type of shots that could be executed working on my own. (This is what happens when you work without a good plan B.)
When I finally attained the assistance of a camera operator, the only counter actions I committed to were 1) reaching out for doll and 2) abandoning doll. It was probably a better outcome because the audience should not be overwhelmed or distracted from the main purpose: stripping the bed.
There are a lot of unused shots. I feel a strange sense of satisfaction rejecting things but it sure is heartbreaking to dispense with the invested effort and time.
- I have yet to pay much attention to editing sound and colour.
- Can explore more varying hand movements?
- Still unable to capture effect of objects e.g. duvet beat in the air