Editing

Editing was potentially one the most difficult aspects of making the film. The platforms used for video editing are notoriously difficult to work with, and having no previous experience with such programmes, did not facilitate the process. However, I found Premiere Pro CC to be quite accessible, once I figured out where was what.

Facing the camera

I sat alone in an empty room, with a mirror in from of me, and a camera pointed at my face. That was nothing new to me, I took pictures of myself before, however, photography does not require talking. It was like having a conversation with someone whom I had to look straight into the eyes. It felt unnatural to me, intimidating, and emotionally challenging. You cannot hide anything or lie in that situation. Lying to the camera would mean lying to yourself.

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Window scene

I waited till the very last moment to shoot this scene, and I was extremely excited about it. I had a clear idea of audio, setting and lighting, idea that I wanted to recreate in the most accurate way possible. Fundamental of the construction of the setting and the editing of sounds was Hanley’s (2007) discussion of the importance of sounds in enhancing the evocative qualities of images. I imagined the scene to stimulate a feeling of calm and ease, through the use of soft dark light of the late-afternoon, early-evening, To a minimal setting little and natural sound was associated.

“In some scenes, it’s almost 100%. It’s the thing that
can add so much emotion to a film. It’s a thing that
can add all the mood and create a larger world. It
sets the tone and it moves things. Sound is a great
“pull” into a different world. And it has to work
with the picture—but without it, you’ve lost half the
film” (Lynch, 2003:52; In: Henley, 2007:55).

Bibliography:

Henley, P. (2007). Seeing, Hearing, Feeling: Sound and the Despotism of the Eye in “Visual” Anthropology. Visual Anthropology Review. 23(1): 54-63.

A new collaboration

Today I met Federica, an old friend of mine. We grew up together, and cannot help myself but thinking of her as family. She is five years older than me, but the age gap has never been a problem; nor when I was 4 and she was 9, or now that I am 22 and she is 27. We have always been very close. I have always found funny, as our families have, how we ended up following the same path. Nothing was planned, it was just a matter of coincidence. I went to the so called “classical” high school, as she did; same classroom, same professors. She then went to university and studied Anthropology; so did I. I am now finishing my undergraduate studies in the UK, and she is about to start her PhD there. When she started to express a passion for photography, there I was, in another country, walking around with my first camera. I could list a thousand more examples, but I hope the message has already went through.

Thinking about my video project, asking her to be part of it came natural to me. I would like this film to become a means to express my feelings, to portrait of indecision, and the struggles of dealing with it, which are mine, but that of many others as well. I want it to be almost a confession, and focus the filming on my own experience. However, to overcome the issue of filming myself in non-static situations,  I chose to involve a second person, with whom I share similar feelings and experience. I believe involving Federica could benefit the narrative, by giving a more interesting twist and development, while keeping a still accurate representation of myself within the video. We mostly discussed several ideas about filming techniques, and framing choices, moving from our current sensibility and experience with photography, resulting of a nice combination of perspectives, architecture and portrait. Overall it was an incredibly productive and inspiring day, which helped me to further develop the project, and made me more confident about the potential outcomes.

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Filming – early days

The first filming attempts were not as successful as I expected them to be. I came to question my assumptions that the camera would become a tool to facilitate the conversation, or that people would eventually become less aware of its presence, especially when the camera was placed in strategic points. My goal, as that of many filmmakers, was that to record spontaneous behaviours (Møhl, 2011). However, I kept noticing a drastic change in posture, voice, and gestures, not much related to the presence of the camera itself, but to the awareness of being recorded. When participants were asked to describe the experience, they all said that they felt they had to be more formal when being recorded, and to present a “better” image of themselves.

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Bibliography:

Møhl, P. (2011). Mise en scène, Knowledge and Participation: Considerations of a Filming Anthropologist. Visual Anthropology. 24(3): 227-245.

Film proposal

Working title: Recede in the ipsum.

Director: Margherita Gorini.

Format: video.

Camera: Canon 700D.

 

In life I believe that everyone experiences a moment of indecision in regard to a decision to make, that shakes, to some extent, the perception we have of  ourselves. My film will show this in action by exploring the dichotomy that characterizes a moment of struggle, the crisis, that comes with indecision. A negative meaning  is generally given to the word crisis, however, if we reflect about the etymology of the word itself, we can get a glimpse of its positive connotations. A moment of crisis is a moment of reflection, which can stimulate creativity and set the basis for improvement. Therefore, my film’s main conflict is between the negative and positive aspects of crisis, seen from  the point of view of a single character, whose experience will channel that of many. I expect my film’s structure to be determined by the experience of the subject, whose  perspective will suggest a style that is simple, direct, and suggestive. Through this I want the audience to build a relationship with the character, and to feel as they are having a private conversation, rather than witnessing one, while reflecting on their own position in regard to indecision.

My film will have one main character. I will use my own experience to address the theme of indecision, as it is a topic that I feel very representative of the stage of life I am at right now, and I feel the urge to discuss it in first person. Constant within the video will be the image of a tree, a metaphor for a path leading to important decisions and crisis. The film will take place at the end to the trunk, when the person has reached a new breakpoint, and is now facing the many branches ahead.

The conflict the character is be facing, will mostly be a conflict of the self, which rises from the need for a direction, which at times is lost, at times is manufactured, at times is not found at all. By addressing this topic, I wish my video to become a means for my potential audience to obtain a new point of view on their own indecision, which could provide the opportunity to reflect and change. My intended audience is mostly my university colleges, who I expect to possibly relate to the topic of the film, and therefore, to experience countervailing feelings about their own struggles.

The film will be a portrait of a person, whose experience could be either that of a single individual, or that of many. Shots from to-camera interviews will be alternated to others following the making of the video. A narration, calm and honest will follow the events, and build a feelings of intimacy and vulnerability characteristic of a private conversation. Soft lightening and light instrumental music will bring the audience into a small room, where they become a friend, to whom a confession is being made, and help is sought from. The video will follow a cyclical structure, starting at a moment where a decision has to be made, and ending where another is being approached.

This video proposal was made with reference to Rabiger (2004).

 

Symbolic camera

To have my symbolic camera represent indecision. I decided to make it reversible, so to have the possibility to change its appearance according to the mood. It has two sides: one more “realistic”, white, with details copied from a real camera; another more “abstract”, pink, with camera features reproduced with geometric shapes.

My materials were limited, as I mostly used what I found at home. Cardboard from a beer box, white paper and glue for the base; pink and pearl paint to colour it, and black markers to draw. The original idea for a reversible camera was that to  cut the cardboard into a single piece, with a snap-fit design. However, where this design worked with an A4, it did not with the thicker cardboard. Therefore the cardboard was cut into different pieces, hold together by hook and loop tape to keep the shape of the camera, and to be able to fold it over anytime. Honestly the building process required lots of improvisation, especially due to very limited material, however, although the final result is a bit more rough than what I imagined, I am happy that I was able to realise my original design.

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Meditation and inspiration

One of the first exercises we have done in class consisted of a guided meditation. This was incredibly helpful to me, as I found the inspiration for my film. I clearly remember what I felt while I was there, laying on the floor, looking at the ceiling light. My body was relaxed, and it felt heavy. It was like my whole weight was held by the floor, a thin layer between me and a deep, dark hole. I was in a daze, looking at the tiny movements in the light; those little changes in colour that you can see only when you look straight into a source of light. Mike’s voice in my ear: “what do I want to tell with my film, what story do I need to tell with my video”. There I had the pressing feeling to use the film to express and let go the struggle of making a choice, my fear for not having anything that I see my self doing in the near future, my indecision.

At the end f the exercise we had few minutes on our own to walk around campus, and to find a visual inspiration. I am afraid I looked a bit lost and awkward while walking outside, looking for something that I did not know. Luckily for me, I did not have to go too far to find my inspiration. Looking at the metal tree in front of Marlowe building, and the white cubes in the sitting area nearby, I saw my story, and I saw my video. In the tree I saw a path, simple and straightforward at the beginning, but complex and intricate at the end. I saw myself now. Getting closer and closer to the end of my undergraduate studies, no clear idea of what to do next, and and infinite amount of possibilities, choices, and decisions to make. I turned around and I found my video. A white cube. A new point of view to indecision, a look from the outside, that could make my experience that of many, and become a means of change for those in a similar situation.