This was a very different experience to Strike Laser Tag. I’d say that the biggest difference was how we all felt before we went in to play. Firstly, the place was incredibly quiet, considering it was a weekday during school term.
I was very hungry beforehand and lost my touch pretty quickly after a couple games. Made me consider how immersion can be affected by your state of mind before you go into an experience of any kind. I was keen for the first couple games, then I got pretty weary pretty quickly.
Another big difference was the general structure of the place. The Dark Zone course was enormous compared to Strike, and I think I liked that better. I definitely felt like I was in a video game at Dark Zone, the course reminded me of courses in Call of Duty. Like last time though, I was not very good at the game.
The music choices at Dark Zone were more fun as well. The place didn’t seem to take itself quite as seriously as Strike, save for the very serious video brief set up before we started playing.
For the immersion audit, I have decided to explore laser tag with some of my classmates. At first I wanted to explore spiritual places, but I chose not to because it feels cliche. That’s not to mean anything bad against spirituality, but I explored it a fair bit through the year in other projects, uni or otherwise, and I feel like literally playing around a bit with this one.
Laser tag at Strike was a lot of fun, and interesting since I haven’t played laser tag before. It felt very night clubbish, and I think it was the techno music and the LED lights. It was definitely a workout. The most immersive thing about it was I don’t recall thinking too hard about the assessment, I just wanted to win.
I definitely had a struggle during the game itself, which disappointed me since I thought I’d do better.
Nope to this class. Nu-uh not havin it.
Today we discussed immersion in horror cinema, and I cannot watch horror. It terrifies me. Its easy to make a horror story in my opinion. But I cannot take the suspense. Alien (1979) just about destroyed me.
What I hate is prolonged scares, like what we watched from the Conjuring today. So much suspense, and definitely the sound design affects me the most. Sound definitely brings the audience into the universe of the film and utterly immerses you. So when there is utter silence, or the ambience is off key and building it makes me feel unwell and scrambly.
I admit I was hiding under the chair during the Conjuring viewing, so I cannot comment on the visuals. If I’d watched the visuals and blocked my ears it may have given me a different reaction.
Night of the Living Dead was not as immersive for me, despite being a classic, but considering it was probably the first of its kind, it is fairly brilliant from the scenes we watched. The technical immersiveness was not as engaging as contemporary horror films, the sound design felt clunky in comparison to Conjuring. The visuals weren’t far off from basically what is seen today, however.
For our next project brief we have a group assessment where we have to compile an audit of a space. From the list that we have been given, I’ve immediately found myself gravitating towards spiritual spaces (i.e. churches, cathedrals etc.)
The funny thing is, I’m not religious or anything. I do believe in there being some spiritual force or universal essence that is present over human life though. When I watch a film, or look at an artwork or listen to a piece of music, I sometimes find that it really affects me and gets me emotional. I think that exploring what makes religious spaces affecting or spiritually transcendent would be fascinating and enlightening.
In this project brief, I responded to the mystical, ethereal sensation that I got out of the sound design and how it made me feel on a spiritual level. The ethereality of the sound came mainly from the faint melodic high pitched singing sounds that I interpreted to be train brakes on the tracks and actual human voices singing.
I blended audio and visual in my piece by making an effort to compliment the sounds with movement. This included the movement of water back and forward on the beach and the movement of trains and trams laterally along their tracks. For instance, in the swell of voice and sounds in the last ten seconds of the audio, I used a clip of a swelling wave on the ocean that had movement to match the sounds.
Additionally, I found that the squeaking squealing sounds of the train in the audio clip was not completely unpleasant to listen to but piercing and unusual, so I decided to use choppy fast cuts between the tram and train with frames of the beach to create a sense of the sound having an affect on how the vision was being communicated.
The finished work immerses the viewer in the consistency of images, in particular the first image of the figure at the train station matching visually with him standing at the beach. Also, I chose to communicate my visual piece based on aspect-to-aspect storytelling which focuses on placing an audience in a space absent of any particular time. I made this decision because without an emphasis or focus on time and action, the audience is given a chance to absorb the visuals that they are given and immerse themselves in the reality that I present them with.
This week we looked at texture and the ways it immerses us in cinema. This includes the texture of film itself, whether we are watching pixel based digital film or celluloid, which is regarded by many as superior to digital film. Tarantino and David Fincher are both believers in the benefits of celluloid film over digital and continue to use it.
Secondly, we discussed texture in the world of the film and how diegetic textures of objects, fabrics, sound and the general production design can immerse the viewer. We watched a clip from Stoker, directed by Park Chan-wook, and is a prime example of a film that integrates all kinds of aural, visual and physical textures into its story. For instance, when India is rifling through her uncle’s belongings, the sounds of every object is emphasised and enriched, from the creak of leather to the soft click of a pair of sunglasses.
I feel that one of the most important things about texture in relation to cinema is the texture of sound, because without proper sound design an entire film can fall apart. A good example of sound design in film that immerses me entirely in it is Jurassic Park, partly because they created dinosaur noises when nobody really knows what dinosaurs sound like and brought them incredibly close to our own reality.
This week in our Wednesday class we watched Ted Talk about neuroscience and the brain’s ability to adapt to different sensations, like how a blind person can regain their sight after having lost it a long time ago and not understand at first what they are receiving.
This was a bit of a meta class for me, and freaked me out since I sometimes get a bit paranoid when things get meta and I start thinking about reality and existence. I think I am the kind of person that is more comfortable with the shadows on the cave wall, and would rather forget reality and be plugged back into the Matrix than face giant jellyfish robots.
What really interests me is the relationship between cognition and perception, because it interests me is how two people can look at the same flowerpot for instance, and both people will register that there is a flowerpot but one of us might focus on the pot, and the other might focus on the flower. What I like to think about is how people with different personalities receive information differently. I like watching Hayao Miyazaki and cry at the end of most of his films, but other people consider the films too fantastical or cartoonish to be taken seriously. It makes the whole thing of immersion interesting because what can we consider truly immersive if we don’t all think the same way?
I love the film Fury Road, I saw it in cinema, but my dad watched it in cinema too and didn’t enjoy it. Does the fact that multiple people side with one film make it the better one, because more people were immersed in it?