Everyday Media

An everyday blog about media by everyday blogger Louise Alice Wilson.

Month: July 2017

Think Outside The Box, Whilst Inside The Box (Studio)

Think outside the box, whilst inside the box (studio): 

As this studio is about working with constraints, I thought i’d google ‘constraints in filmmaking’ and see what comes up. One of the first links was to a journal article by Heidi Philipsen entitled ‘Constraints in Film Making Processes Offer an Exercise to the Imagination’. Interestingly enough the first sentence of her article states: “I would like filmmakers interested in thinking “outside the box” to recognize that they can benefit from being placed “inside a box.” I wonder if Paul had contemplated this whilst choosing the name for this studio.

Throughout her article Philipsen challenges the notion that creativity is an intangible innate quality, existing within the mind of one source, but rather creativity arises from a multitude of sources. Alike all things shared she suggests that creativity is easier to enhance by changing environmental conditions, rather than encouraging people to ‘think more creatively’. Perceiving creativity in this way allows you to see it as an organisationally influenced phenomenon, rather than a psychological  and individual phenomenon. Which enables you to have more control over creativity and to encourage creativity once being aware of how it can be environmentally enhanced. As Csikzentmihalyi (1996) states “a genuinely creative accomplishment is almost never the result of a sudden insight, a lightbulb flashing on in the dark, but comes after years of hard work”.

Constraints, as Philipsen suggests is one such way to manipulate the environment to enhance creativity. Students who attended The Film School in Denmark, who were forced into working with constraints for their  projects eventually considered constraints to be both useful and inspirational. Such constraints included: making a scene with a specific theme, within a specific deadline and with other specific conditions concerning the use of camera, sound, actors etc. Students stated that these constraints ultimately made them feel secure, inspired and focused and encouraged them to become more experimental as each student wanted to make their own ‘personal film’ and not the same kind of film as each of the other students. As many students stated it would have been much more difficult to make a film WITHOUT constraints than with. For it would have increased both the overwhelming options and the associated anxiety.

I for one, would have to agree. Within my second homework task one of the constraints was ‘no camera movement’. This singular constraint meant I could spend a lot more time thinking about shot construction, rather than whether I would move the camera, and if so how and why it would be done. Ultimately I ended up experimenting more with where to place the camera, e.g. placing the camera on a bed and billowing a sheet over it, or placing the camera under a pillow and have it witness the pillow land directly on it. These kind of shots allow the audience to feel physically close to the actions they are witnessing, and to feel as if they are experiencing it first hand.

 

Until next time,

Louise Alice Wilson

A Reflection:

After completing the first class exercise I learnt three major things:

  1. At uni, you gotta film what you want as quickly as you can.
  2. Lighting is KEY.
  3. What you intend to film, is often the least interesting.

Get in and Get out: When completing exercises at university, the vibe seems to be get in and get out as quickly as you can. Everyone’s kinda half interested and they’re all waiting to film their own shots. So you have to get pretty good at just taking charge and being like “you, your here, and this is your line”, you, you need to adjust the tripod to here”. Otherwise people kind just stand around looking at their phones or goofing off.

Lighting is KEY: Whilst filming the first class exercise I didn’t pay that much attention to the lighting, but once reviewing the footage I realised the lighting was pretty whack. The footage had this yellowy hue to it, and the room itself was pretty dim. Which meant the colours were all distorted and the shots looked pretty muddied. I ended up resolving this by exchanging the whites for purple, which gave the footage this weird, abstract, graphic feel to it, which made the footage a lot more visually engaging.

Keep shooting: Once reviewing my footage I realised that all the ‘coolest’ shit I shot was the result of just leaving the camera rolling, when it wasn’t meant to be. This footage ended up being much more engaging, and ‘real’ than any of the footage that had been planned out. Obviously this wouldn’t work in all scenarios, but when your able to be more abstract and experimental this accidental footage can be a sweet surprise.

 

After completing the Homework I realised two major things:

  1. I overshoot everything
  2. Some of the shit I shot was boring af

Overshooting: After reviewing the footage from my first homework exercise and trying to assemble it in Premiere Pro, I realised I had about  5 minutes worth of footage for a 30 second clip. Overshooting is a bad problem, because it wastes a lot of time, eats up space on your hard rive and encourages you to include footage in projects, that should never have been in there.

Boring footage: Is also a major problem. I realised after trying to assemble my first homework exercise in Premiere Pro that the majority of what I had shot, was extremely boring and disengaging. What objectively seemed like a great concept, turned out to be extremely visually uninteresting. This is where overshooting and boring footage intersect, because if the project had of been more planned out then neither problem would occur. Creating engaging content seems dependant on having planned the BEST way to shoot, whatever it is you are shooting. Otherwise you just end up with a lot of average shots, that weren’t well thought out.

 

Until next time,

Louise Alice Wilson

 

What I Want:

 

What do I want from this studio?

I applied for this degree to further develop my understanding and abilities in regards to the creation and critique of diverse forms of media. In high school and post, I have always been more interested in making media and being physically creative than sitting back and watching and re-watching media. Choosing to major in film studies, for me, was the most physical of the majors, allowing me a more tactical understanding of the actual act of media production. So far it has given me a great amount of insight into how and why films are made, but this studio “BOX”, should potentially give me an even better understanding of the physical and emotional process of filmmaking and media making in general. With a background in visual arts & photography I’ve always enjoyed the aesthetics, cinematography and art that is created through the process of filmmaking. I hope, by the end of this studio, to deeply understand how to go about planning, organising, designing and filming a film myself. I’m also ardent to use that knowledge, combined with my passion for the visual, to create unique pieces of media and to feel comfortable and assertive whilst doing so.

 

What I think this studio is?

This studio pitches itself as a way to engage with and physically learn the facets of filmmaking by working on numerous small filming projects that are confined by specific constraints. I believe this studio intends to teach students who are interested in the process of filmmaking how to go about creating great films relatively easily. This studio attempts to break down complicated film frameworks into bite size chunks, and each week have us explore them. This will ultimately enable those in the studio to feel comfortable working within specific film frameworks and to feel comfortable using ‘semi-professional’ filming gear.

 

Until next time,

Louise Alice Wilson

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