Monday, 4 February 2013

cycleAmerica 2011

I was approached by the owner of Esquires Cafe in Coventry to edit some footage from the charity cycling trip him and a friend did in 2011. They had a crew with them in their 3000 mile trip, but the editing has not been done. So I had about 400 Gig to play with. As I had a lot of free time, I just sat down and finished the first edit in one day. I haven't been editing in so long and I enjoyed so much that I didn't want to stop. So I was there for about 8hrs Few edits later and it was done! Because it was 30 min long I had to choose between losing quality or having it in two parts, and Stephen and I decided to go for the later. So here it is, if you want to spare 30 min of your day:) Part 1 Part 2

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Photoshoot: Bevu

Product Photography: Cookie Dough

My friend Jessica is just starting off her new company, Mmm Cookie Dough and I took some pictures of some of her products. I haven't done much product photography before, and it was an improv-studio with A4 sheets for backdrop and some desk lamps for lighting. It worked out well in the end. I also used my flash, which again, I didn't have much experience using in a non-nightclub environment. So here are some shots

Thursday, 30 August 2012

Final Project - Final Edit

So my final piece is done! I am happy with the final edit. The only thing I changed since the last edit was to put the sound a bit higher as I noticed that when I watched the video without headphones the sound wasn't as loud so the video didn't work as well as it did when I was editing. I can't really ask everyone who watches my film to use headphones so I have to be sensible. Another thing I changed was the second scene. Even though when I was shooting that was my favourite shot, because of the framin and the people in it, when seen together with the rest of the shots it didn't fit very well. The reason being that the rest of the scenes were very static and focused on the space, whereas that shot was full of life. I kept a part of it, the one that I liked most where there were some people walking far in the background and at the same time another person walking closer to the camera. I felt like that shot showed the scale of the space, so I decided to keep it in. It is only half way through the scene when the viewer actually sees the scale of the space, when the day wide scene comes up. Until then it looks quite closed off and dark. I like that it almost works as a little shock, so I like how the perception of the space is progressive throughout the film. I chose to mix between the close-ups and wide shots so a sense of scale is given away progressively, so each shot adds more information to the one before. Just like the mix of the day and night shots, I didn't want to split the film in half day/nigh or wide/close-up. I feel that the structure that it has now works great for what I was trying to achieve. Especially because it is such a big and complex space I don't think a very structured film would have worked. I realised how much impact the computer that the film is watched on can have when I watched on a not so great screen when I was showing the film to my friends. The screen had a facult and there were some green dots over the dark areas I find that the way in which I work is very intuitive; I just film and edit however I feel, and only afterwords analyze everything and I feel that for me it works. Some people might have to plan everything ahead, and have a strong concept and general feel and approach to the way in which they produce something, but what I found from making the experimentals this year is that I work the other way around. I just make something and then analyze and explain what I've done. So here it is!

Friday, 17 August 2012

Final project - 2nd edit

I just made a second edit with some slight changes. In one of the shots, I managed to get my hand in front of the camera which I didn't spot at took that out.. Also added an end scene just to close it off in a similar way as the opening scene.. And the biggest change is the sound..I added less echo as it felt like a chiche to have echo in an empty intention was not to make the space look scarry, and I think that the sound in the first vide had that effect a bit. The sound on the second edit is a lot stiller...It sounds like silence in a way; it is better than having the film silent because it acknowledges the stillness of the sound, and reinforces the feeling of the space. I am happy with the reythm of the film, the lenght of the shots...the longer shots are the ones that have some action in them, so they need more time to be analyzed as the action might take away, but also add to it...for exaple the second scene, my favourite, starts quite still, then a lot of poeple go by in different areas of the space, which helps the viewer notice the scale of it, and then it goes still again so it can be analysed again on its own. It works so well because I used the zoom lense, and I was quite far from the scene, which made all the layers seem closer to each other and it accentuated the perspecive of the scene. I mixed day and night shots because I didn't want to seem like the film has a narrative; to me having the shots in the order day to night would give a meaning - that I am looking at the change from day to night, when actually the focus is soely the space..this is why I mixed the shots with motion, people, cars, flies, with still shots and close ups.. And here it is:

Thursday, 16 August 2012

Final Project - First edit

I finished the first edit! Because I've been putting in together and picking it apart for the past couple of hours I can't really express how I feel about it, so I think I'll just sleep on it and update tomorrow about if I think it works or not, and if I like it or not..

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Final Project - filming

I started filming on Friday (4 days ago) and I have been filming every day since. Going in at different times in the day, mostly evenings and mornings before work (yawn). Yesterday I started filming at 7:30 am but there were cars in the car park already so today I went at 6:15 and it was completely empty. Beautiful. What I'm going for in terms of filming, I am taking still shots of the space. Wide and narrow. I figured a direction where I'm going..I started thinking about the other projects that I've done during the MA, specifically at the experimental about the sea in Skye and the video of the bridges along the motorway. If the video of the sea was aggressive and chaotic, just as the sea is, I thought that the video of the car park has to be the exact opposite; the car park is still and heavy, and at 6 in the morning or 10 at night it can be quite scary. So the film will consist of long shots of the different angles and elements of the space. I learnt from the video of the bridges how that film portrayed the feeling of the journey, long and not very exciting, so with this film I will portray the wider structures and then details of the space to show the size and feel of it. I recorded some sound separately as well, I'm not sure now what I'll be doing with it, but I am sure that I will be editing it a fair bit. I will be filming again tomorrow, and then Thursday and Friday I managed to get half days of work so I will start editing and see where I go from there.

Wednesday, 8 August 2012

Final Project - first few steps

In order to start thinking about the project more I went to the car park this evening to think about it, as being there is inspirational and very helpful. The place is truly majestic through its simplicity and structure. It almost looks like a cathedral, especially when there are no cars there to take away from the view and this is what I will try and convey through my film.

Final Project - Update

After a lot of deliberations with myself and other people around me I decided to slightly change the idea of the project. Because I struggled so much coming up with a creative idea whilst trying to sort out the logistics of the project, plus working full time at the same time which really doesn't help me think...I reached this stage when I have to change the idea from what I was really enthused about initially. The reason for it is that I know I would be able to do something even though it is so late, but it wouldn't be at the standard that I would like it to be...having this in mind I decided that creating an experimental piece about the space, and how I perceive and how it makes me feel instead of using it as a canvas for my work. Also looking back at this year's experience from the other modules I did, the ones I enjoyed most were the two video pieces I produced from Skye - the bridges one and the experimental one with the sea. What I am doing next is going into the space at different times in the day to get footage and sound. This will be done this week, and next week I will go and start playing around with the footage. As experienced from the experimental pieces from Skye, the ideas came to me once I had all the footage in place and started editing, and experimenting. That process might even help me discover new things about the space through the mediation of it. So at this stage I can't say what I am going to do creatively, or how the film is going to look because that is a secondary process that will evolve within itself whilst doing it.

Monday, 30 July 2012

Final Project

I find myself in a vicious circle where I am lost in the logistics of trying to do what I want with the projection, and I feel I am limited by a variety of factors - needing an expensive projector that is strong enough, getting generators, the wall being too dark etc - which stops me from thinking about what I actually want to project...the solutions I can think of would be to either contact art companies that might have a projector that I could lend without having to go through an official lending company that would charge £500-£1000. The other solution would be to seek for funding and get that projector. The problem here is that I try to do either of the two, I need to form a proposal in which in need to say what I intend to do, which takes me right at the start. The only way I can see to get out of it is to alter the idea, which is hard!

Thursday, 28 June 2012

Final Project idea

In the end I decided to go with the ring road project. I had a more clear rough idea of what I wanted to do with this one. With the other I would have had to work with a choreographer and have rehearsals and so on. I would rather do something simpler but of high quality than try to do something complicated that wouldn't reach the full potential because of lack of time. So the first step was to go around the Ring Road and find the perfect space. As I mentioned in previous posts, first I would need to find the specific space and then plan the rest - the actual video to go with it. The trip around the ring road was surprisingly pleasing. We were following it without keeping to the pedestrian paths, but making our own way cutting trough car parks, jumping over fences and so on. Not the safest way, but it was very enjoyable. This process was best described by Guy Debord when describing psychogeography as "a whole toy box full of playful, inventive strategies for exploring cities...just about anything that takes pedestrians off their predictable paths and jolts them into a new awareness of the urban landscape". And this is exactly what we did, we ignored the paths that were dictates to us, and made our own. Found few interesting and potential spaces and photographed them.
I will use the location of the first picture. It is after all the first one that made me think about this project and first captured my attention few years back. What I like most about it is that it is a space that hasn't been specifically designed to have a meaning or a certain aesthetic, it is a space that was constructed as part of the ring road. In a sense it seem natural. It is man made, but not designed. It feels like a break from all the architecture and buildings that have specific designs and require us to analyze them for their aesthetic and design value. Coventry has a big variety of designs as it has been almost fully rebuilt after the Blitz, therefore most of the buildings are lest thank 80 years old. So having a space that doesn't enforce a certain aesthetic on the people who pass through it feels like a 'breath of fresh air'. Guy Bebord also described Psychogeorgraphy as "the study of the precise laws and specific effects of the geographical environment, consciously organized or not, on the emotions and behavior of individuals". This describes how I experience this certain space as an individual. What I aim to achieve through this project, is to share this experience with the public, and maybe make them think more about the spaces that are so easily taken for granted. The point of art is to first of all rationalize a thought and a feeling that a certain place brings to mind, then externalize it and share it with the public, in hope that they get it and if not adhere to it, at least think about it and appreciate such places more.

Final project

After seeing all the video installations and projects I've talked about so far I really got into the idea of doing something similar. A video that is created in response to a certain space, that will be influenced by it but at the same time influence the space as well. I know that before being able to start working on the project, I first needed to find the space. So I started thinking about warehouses and similar spaces that I could use. The obvious one in Coventry was Fargo Space, a warehouse on Far Gosford street that is used for art exhibitions and performances. Then I've gone off the idea, as I'd like to use a space that is not designated for art, but that I could use like this. Then I remembered a space that I noticed since my first year; the wall and its surroundings under the ring road next to the university library. It really appealed to me, and I always wanted to see something projected or exhibited onto it. So this got me thinking that I could use such a space under the Ring Road. After seeing Nick and discussed this idea with him, I got to speaking with Sam, who has accompanied me in all the gallery visits done lately and who really helped me rationalize what I'm thinking and getting my ideas out. He is a graduate from an art course, so he talked to me about my final project from a graduate's point of view. He pointed out that I should take advantage of the opportunity of being in University and having access to equipment and facilities, and produce something for my final project that I could use as an example of my work after I graduate. I want to get into producing films that would be integrated into performing arts, which is a very niche area. Because I've only done two such projects so far, that had minimal creative input from me, it would be wise to produce something for my final project to show that I can actually do that. So now I am very torn between doing the project with the ring road that I came up with not long ago, but got excited about, and something that would be helpful to my career outside university. It's not the best place to be but it's better than having no ideas.

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Gallery and installation thoughts - final project

I though I would make a post about what I feel that I've gained from the visits to galleries and video installations in the last couple of weeks. I written something about all of them in individual posts, but I feel a wide conclusion is needed. The main idea that i got from all the installations I've seen is that the space where the screening is taking place is crucial. I decided I don't want to produce a film for my final project, that will go on a DVD for the assessors to see and mark. I want to make something out of it. I want to use a space, and respond to it with the medium of video. Produce something that works with it, that is produce as a response to the space, and by having the video there changes the space. I really liked the Beaconfields gallery, that was under a viaduct of a train; the space was completely dark when going inside, and it had the smell of a damp cellar. The roughness of the space worked really well with the screening, and the screening worked very well in that space. The other instalation that I experienced and really enjoyed was the 'Pitchfork Disney Pre-Show' which included some of my videos. The venue was a warehouse that was very flexible in terms of what rooms could be used and in what way. The producers of the theatre piece created a route that the visitors had to go through that would contain hints from the show that would later be mentioned in the performance. Click here to go to post and video about this.

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Pitchfork Disney Pre-Show

My videos go showed in the pre-show of a 3rd year final project theatre piece pre-show. I really liked the way they used the venue to work with the piece. It wasn't crucial for the public to see it in order to make sense of actual performance, but it added to it. The pre-show was the walk from the entrance of the building to the performance room; one of my videos got shown on a small tv and the second one was projected in a dark room. I really liked to use of the space. The warehouse was very flexible; I liked the way they described it as 'a blanc canvas that's waiting to be coloured in any way'. This made me think about doing something similar for my final project, having few videos screened in different rooms or spaces in a venue. But I need to work on ideas more. I made this video to show the pre-show and added bits of the videos that got screened as they are not obvious on the recording of the pre-show

Pitchfork Disney Pre-Show from Diana Stefanescu on Vimeo.

Sunday, 10 June 2012

Rachel Garfield

At the Baconsfield Gallery in South London, there was a screening of two film by Rachel Garfield. The first one was called "Here There Then Now" (2009). The subject of the film was the role and life of the artist in the contemporary world, and it was an interview an old artist. The film wasn't a conventional documentary or interview. The focus of the video was on the artist's house, and life whilst having the conversation between her and the artist as voice over. I believe this is a very effective way to get the information to the viewer about what it was discussed, but also give background information about the person who is being interviewed by showing visually the place where they live. The subject of the videos were books, pictures, the setting of the house, his visitors - barely even seeing the artist. There was one shot I feel was very powerful, and very well done - there was a close up shot of the wheels of a wheelchair going through the house; this implied that the artist is wheelchair bound, but the film maker chose not to show him in a wheelchair, but to show this close up and let the viewer make all the links. What also really took my attention was the way the film was shown; it was split screen, on two TV's. More importantly, the split screens themselves were the same video but one delayed by few seconds. This was a very effective way of helping the viewer focus on what was important on the screen. The half screen on the left was the first to come up, and the second one on the right slightly delayed. This enabled the viewer to watch the first part and see what the shot was about in general, and then have a second chance to see it again and choose what to look at. It took a bit to accommodate with this, but once I got used to it and I started appreciating it and how well it worked, I couldn't get enough. After I got back home I looked it up online and found a clip of the film on Vimeo, only to realize that the film itself is actually split in four parts on the screen, but working in the same way. The viewer has three chances now to go and look in details at the content of the images.

Here There Then Now (Clip)- Stephen Dwoskin/Rachel Garfield from Rachel Garfield on Vimeo.

Douglas Gordon

There is a screening of two of Douglas Gordon's films at the Warwick Arts Center. I heard about the film he did with Philippe Parreno, called Zidane and it sounded very interesting. I'm not a fan of football, but this sounded like and alternative football match, and something I could watch. It is a 90min film of a football game, but the only focus of the camera is on Zidane. Close-ups and extreme close-ups of him throughout the whole film. When we got to the screening space we were rather disappointed. The curators of the Mead Gallery chose to screen the film on about 20 TV's spread randomly around the space, and the sound of the film going in the background. From what I've been told about the film is the fact that the most interesting part about it is its rhythm, because in some parts Zidane just stands around and in some parts he is very active, so it sounds like a piece of film that should be watched in full, without interruption. So the way they chose to screen it completely disrupted this. Each TV was showing only clips of the film, interrupted and in a different order. If each TV had headphones and was showing the whole film we probably would have considered to stay, but given the set up we didn't stay. But the second film impressed us so much that it didn't matter. It took us maybe about 15min to realize what it was about (we could have read the flyer!!). In the room, there was a big screen which was screening Douglas Gordon's film called "Feature Film", which worked very much like the Zidane film. The subject was an orchestra concert, but the only focus of the film was the conductor. Close ups and extreme close-ups of him conducting; details of his eyes, mouth, hands. At the back of the room, behind the few seats set up in front of the screen, was a small TV showing the film Vertigo by Alfred Hitchcock on mute. After 15 min of looking from one screen to the other we realized that the orchestra in the first video was actually playing the soundtrack of Vertigo, and they were timed so the music from the orchestra coincided with the film. Now this was a very interesting because I haven't seen Vertigo, but Sam whom I went to watch it with has. So the experience we bot had of this installation was very different. He could recognize the music, and it reminded him of the film scenes and how they felt when he watched Vertigo. For me the primary focus was the video of the orchestra, and seeing this video first will change my experience of Vertigo when I watch it, as that will remind me of Gordon's film, whereas for Sam everything is the other way around. This only shows how important the viewer is when it comes to encoding and decoding a film, because it is very probable that every individual that watched a video has a completely different perception and experience of it, based on their own previous experiences. The installation worked very well as a structuralist piece I believe, because it deconstructed and re-constructed three different places and times. There was the present of the film Vertigo, the present of the film of the orchestra playing the vertigo soundtrack, and the present of the viewer who makes the links between these three 'presents' that inform, interact and influence each other. Seeing these two pieces made me realize firstly how important the space of the screening is for an installation, and second that when producing my own art films, I need to avoid trying so hard to get a certain message out, because it will never be decoded in the same way by the viewers. My experience of my own work will differ completely from the experience that the viewers will have.

CSAD Degree show

At the degree show that is ending today there have been two exceptional video pieces that really stood out, both from fine art students. The first was a video of an unknown person, dancing between some plastic sheets that were hanging from the ceiling. At points it became very abstract when the person was out of the shot and the only thing I could see were the sheets moved by wind (probably a fan). The video was projected in a dark room, and at the entrance there were some bells hanged down from the ceiling on thick thread. The medium of the video was obvious, as the hanging bells created shadows on the screen. The viewer was emerged into the video as the setting of the seating area was very much like the setting of the video. This made the space and time of the video and the present being of the person watching merge, and seem as one. The other video piece that stood out was a video installation of an old cartoon, that was very racist to black people. Of course at the time it didn't appear to be so, because then people didn't have the knowledge of racism that we do today. This doesn't mean that the piece didn't have impact back then, on the contrary, that animation is part of what started building up racist ideologies. The center piece of the installation was the fact that the film was projected on a sheet of paper at the back of the room, and the artist has cut a square in the middle of the sheet, so at the front of the room there was an abstract small and square film. The decision to do has two meanings for me. One where by only watching the abstract film, completely detached from the original, it seems to be aesthetic and interesting to watch visually. But when put in context with the original, you realize that the back story and bigger picture raise important ethical issues. So the artist seems to be making a comment on people not thinking about the background and issues surrounding a piece/film they are watching. In a way suggesting that we need to be meta and generally more mindful about the things we watch. The second meaning I got from this is that the artist might be making a comment on the idea of abstract film, implying that abstract film can be problematic if we don't consider the implications of the issues they raise; here one could watch the abstract piece that was cut out from the original and not think anything about it, other than it is visually interesting.

Thursday, 24 May 2012

3 final pieces

Video + Sound Video Sound

Pitchfork Disney - performance

Last week I filmed and photographed Pitchfork Disney, a very odd and dark theatre piece. It was quite chalenging because of the low light, but it was easier to photograph than other ones as the lights didn't change throughout the piece, so I didn't have to change the settings on the camera before every shot.

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Sound piece - final edit

After 'showing' my sound piece to the class last week and receiving feedback I realized that it was too complicated and not very experiemntal. This is my final edit: