Dan Hume's Blog


Final Pieces
May 13, 2012, 12:37 am
Filed under: Extended Major Project, Video

iSolation

Cubist London

Photography Slideshow

Short Project Evaluation

For the extended major project, I wanted to follow on from the Specialist Project, which was to shoot another short documentary on an iPhone. I wanted to carry on exploring this idea of being discreet when filming because I feel it’s something unique to filmmaking. On the last project, I didn’t stand out from the crowd; I was able be a ‘post-filmmaker’ and blend in within the people on location and capture the rawness of people’s state of mind. To be more concise, I felt Invisible because I was using a mobile phone, which to the general public doesn’t really suggest they’re being filmed or photographed. This led me to calling the overall project, The Invisible Camera.

My approach to the EMP has been relatively similar to the specialist project, however this time I’ve also been looking at how video content can alternatively be delivered in the 21st century. To take this further I not only wanted to deliver this documentary as a video, but also as an iPad publication as well. This new medium also meant that I could implement other different types of media into the project, such as photography.

I had a series of tutorials with storyboard artist, Tony Chance, who guided me through my development process. I initially was looking at creating a documentary that had an environmental focus to it, but this particular approach didn’t really ignite any creativity for me and I felt quite restricted by it. I then found myself exploring themes such as connection and disconnection, which then lead me to develop this idea of technology withdrawing people from interacting with each other face to face. I decided to name the documentary as iSolation, using the same concept as apple’s signature for its products, iPod, iPhone, etc, to correspond with the tool I was filming with.

This idea emerged quite late in the project, I was really pleased that I came up with topic that I could relate to from my own personal experience. I linked this idea to the philosophy of existentialism to which Steven Earnshaw describes as…

a philosophy that takes as its starting point the individuals existence. Everything that it has to say, and everything that it believes can be said of significance – about the world we inhabit, our feelings, thoughts, knowledge, ethics – stems from this central, founding idea. (Earnshaw, 2007 P.1)

I wanted the documentary to explore the idea of isolation amongst a densely populated place. Our dependence on technology, in a way, has enabled us to cut ourselves off from interacting with other people and the environment we’re in. Over a period of 10 years, there’s been a radical change in mobile phone technology and it’s become a huge attachment in people’s lives.  Even if we are aware of what’s going on around us, we’re not always 100% focused on one thing, for example, talking to someone face to face whilst texting. Listening to music on the move is another example of isolation amongst a crowed of people. People maybe looking face forward, but their minds could be immersed in the music. I’ve experienced this form of isolation myself, so I’m aware that I’m not paying attention to what’s going on around me. It appears we’re now spend a lot more time living in our imagination, because I believe we all want to avoid hearing all the negative events happening in the world.

For the editing, I was heavily influenced by the music. Like in koyaanisqatsi, the music dictates how the documentary flows. In my documentary, the opening beings with slow ambient music; therefore the editing was subtler. When the music became more upbeat, I wanted the shots to be fast and tightly cut. I began including a lot of these short transition cuts, which are roughly half a second long. They are basically extracts of quick movements from the footage I’d shot. I was holding the camera in a position where I wasn’t able to see what was being shot; therefore I recorded a lot of unwanted unsteady footage.

As an observational piece I felt that a musical score would be an appropriate accompaniment to the visuals. Depending on the genre of the music, I could really provoke any kind of emotion I want to the overall piece. My initial documentary, Life through an iPhone, had a Moby track called, Wait For Me, playing throughout. This is where I’ve taken inspiration from the film, koyaanisqatsi, where the music emphasizes how the audience is meant to feel. This is something I wanted to achieve in both my projects. I used another Moby track ironically called, Isolate, which I felt truly represented the mood I wanted to create in my piece perfectly.

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