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Project 1 Rationale

Keep Smiling is an exploration in the synthesis of visual and audio elements expressing the theme (noun) of anticipation (but just as easily relating to tension and anxiety). Similarly I choose a grouping of verbs (drill, pierce, repulse, scrape, etc.) to guide my sound design.

The video begins in a very serene state, a blank screen with only a barely audible clock ticking. This is meant to communicate a relatable feeling to the audience – that of falling asleep or relaxation. It also acts as a sort of norm that will soon be disturbed with the build up of sound and image.

The first instance of this occurs when the viewer hears footsteps pass by, signifying that they are not alone. But the sound is muffled, it is occurring outside of the viewer’s room. You are still safe. This separation/privacy is broken as someone soon enters the room, the viewer is no longer alone, and the serene blank screen is replaced with a glaring white light. Now the claiming, predictable sound of the clock ticking in the left ear is challenged by aggressive noise from the right. This tension exists throughout the whole video; it is up to the viewer’s subconscious to determine when the clock has stopped ticking.

Familiar noises start to pour in, each one more aggressive then the last. There is another person in the audience’s presences but no visual or audio communication between the two. Instead the dominant sounds are sharp and metallic. There is an added flash of imagery as particular sounds occur – this is meant to disrupt the viewer, to question what they are hearing by directly placing an image in front of them. Since the image only appears for a fraction of a second the viewer cannot fixate on it for to long before being consumed by the next. This also echoes the loss of control exemplified by the static shot throughout the video.

Soon the building tension approaches from the right and converges on the viewer, now filling both the right and left audio channels. The audience can now hear someone breathe over them. The sound intensives as switches are flipped and mechanical noises heard in intimate proximity. By now the intensity of the light has increased significantly. A final swallow is heard from the person who the audience has become; a sort of final presence before the viewer is completely muted by the noise of suction inside their head. Finally the dramatic dentist drill comes down in a climactic finish, breaking the connection to the light and completely drowning the audio in a piercing and grinding sound so familiar to the dentist.

Here is the Sound Essay for ‘Keep Smiling’. Video and Rationale available above.

PART A

Inside (Tunnel connecting B Wing to A Wing)
• paper bag crumpling
• even footsteps followed by plastic wheels rolling by
• door creeks open far away
• a person drags their shoes along the floor, slowly, pausing
• coins jingle in pocket
• keys jingle in pocket
• constant noise/unrecognizable chatter from far away
• beep (access card is swiped). Door opens
• Flip flops clack in the distance
• Laughter
• A table is dragged
• Jeans swoosh together; the pull tab from a zipper shakes
• Slippers clank by
• Loud solid heels walk by
• Someone runs by
• Door creeks open, at it closes it hits the frame, bounces off, and hits it again
• A man yells in the distance
• A conversation: ‘3, “how many?”, ‘3’, “3!”

Outside (Behind cafeteria, patio furniture, children’s daycare nearby)
• Kids playing, chanting/singing
• Ventilation/fan (white noise)
• Light paper crumpling
• Woman has a phone conversation
• Keys jingle
• Shoes drag across the floor, as they stop a door opens
• Bee (zzzz’s by ear)
• Door shuts
• Kids continue to chant (one girl seems to dominate)
• Paper crumples by
• Plane flies overhead
• Truck starts engine, releases air from hydraulics and drives forward
• Breaks squeal
• ‘Clack clack’ (something hitting?)
• Ding, ding – bike bell
• Engine shuts off
• Leaves ruffling

The particular sounds that were of dominance seemed to be everyday familiar things (shoes, footsteps, doors). Other sounds that dominated were more obvious loud, sharp sounds, something like change jingling. It was also interesting that when I heard a sound it almost became more common and easier to hear again. There were also sequences of sounds that once fixated on I stuck with them ignoring others (for example a truck which started its engine, released hydraulics, drove, turned off engine, etc.)

PART B
Sound recording was taken inside a Go bus heading from Sheridan to Square One. I’ve mostly described the sound and left the feeling/thought/etc out to see if the sound provokes something for you.

Sound that evoke an image:

  1. Clacking of a flip phone closing shut.
  2. Ruffling of soft plastic bag.

Images that evoke a sound:

  1. Overhead red plastic button labeled ‘Stop’.
  2. Traffic racing by outside the bus window, overpowered by the sound inside the bus.

Sound that provoke a feeling:

  1. Ambient noise inside the Go bus (humming of fans, chatter, cracking of plastic interior)
  2. Velcro strip separating

Sounds that provoke a thought:

  1. Driver announces stop over intercom
  2. Page flipping from textbook

Sounds that compete with an image:

  1. ?
  2. ?

Sounds that work counter to an image:

  1. Visible outside the window is a farm landscape, it’s presuming claim disturbed by the loud ambient noise inside the bus.
  2. ?

Sounds that were easiest to describe were those that seem very common such as the flip phone closing or plastic bag ruffling – I got these almost instantly. More difficult were finding competing images and sounds. I think this may be a result from the high level of ambient noise in the bus and relatively little visual stimulation/change.

I’m also interested if any of you guys, particularly those that don’t take the go bus, have feelings/thoughts provoked by the descriptions – so feel free to leave a comment.

 

Fruit Architect is an exploration in anticipation of form. By working with a consistent pace and suggestive frame composition the viewer should quickly understand what is to come. This could potentially play as a setup to something unexpected like having the stack fall over, or change into Jenga Blocks.

Here’s another time-lapse I did a couple weeks back while making my way to Roger Wood’s studio to shoot the clocks.

For Exercise 1 Light/Duration we decided to explore an unconventional method in time-lapse photography – having our composition partially change (partially because our subject, Kyle, is always in the same place but the camera is obviously rotating.)

This approach has similarities to more traditional time-lapse (changing background, light, and shadows) but manages to do it in a fraction of the time.

We initially framed the composition in a way to capture the changing environment around our subject. A few shoots in we started noticing that Kyle’s shadow was really emphasizing the change in light and acting almost as a clock hand. Once we got the images on the computer you could see the change in light/shadows on Kyle even more.

Measure was created by: Matt Wiechec, Shawn Mahabir, Kyle Dutka, and Payam Rajabi.

 

Clockworks is an experiment in time manipulation where natural elements of time progression (such as light, shadows, and even human movement) have been stripped away. This leaves only a mechanical component by which to tell time, which by its nature can be easily distorted by a person.

I wanted to challenge the typical notion of time-lapse photography and raise questions of whether this video is shot in sequence or if the clocks themselves have been altered to spin faster. Because we do not have natural elements of time progression visible (elements we cannot control) it is impossible to make the distinction.

So this exercise can be further explored by having the clocks slowed down to take 2 hours to progress only by 1. Or bounce back and forth between a time frame of only 5 minutes. All examples I think which relate back to how film editing can manipulate a time sequence.

 

On a technical note: I ran free software called Icarus Camera Control on a laptop which controlled the DSLR and took images at a set interval – this will save you from having to click the camera every time. It is also a great way to not disturb/move the camera since you don’t have to touch it.

And special thanks to Roger Wood from Klockwerks for letting us shoot in his studio.

A couple years ago I did a project in Electronic Landscape where I photographed a subway journey using time lapse. The original project was a website but I’ve also included a GIF. Thought I’d share, details below:

Website Link

subway

Short Brief
Create a web work based on the idea of interference/narrative where an orderly progression of events is disturbed or re-routed.

Rational
I wanted to capture the Bloor – Danforth subway ride in its entirety from the perspective of a rider. This would of course be a very linear experience, and gave me the opportunity to use a website to break/alter that effect. Using the horizontal scroll bar, the viewer is able to manipulate time and space at any pace they desire. The map and station links help to further break the natural linearity by removing the sequence in between. The experience of the subway rider is thus fundamentally rerouted and unique, while at the same time relatable.

Technical:
Camera: Canon PowerShot S3 IS (6mp)

Setup: A tripod was set up inside the subway car, facing a window. Connected to a laptop running Canon Remote Capture, the camera took a photograph every 15 seconds for the entire journey.

Process: Over 180 images were cropped into ’window’ portions; the process was hastened using actions (or macros) in Photoshop. The resulting images were then placed in a long horizontal table inside an html page.

Side Note: For those of you interested, you ARE allowed to shoot on TTC property WITHOUT obtaining permission or permits, as long as it is for non commercial purpose. As stated by the TTC here (read last paragraph) and by Toronto TTC by-laws (specifically 16b) which states:

No person shall operate for commercial purposes any camera, video recording device, movie camera, or any similar device upon any vehicle or premises of the Commission without authorization.

Most TTC employees and Toronto police don’t know this, so just print these pages out and be polite.