With my new SLR camera (a Canon 400D) I was finally able to get rid of the unnecessary mechanical cable release problem. The shutter of the camera was now released electronically by the switch on the dolly. So here are a few of the latest sketches that pretty much show the direction the film has taken. The objects in ‘spacetime distortion’ are sports cars. I think they’re the best medium to transport the subject of velocity. Their excessive speed serves no other purpose than to be a means to an end. Like a decorative speed furniture. By the way, for the sound I’m thinking about experimenting with reverb rooms. It seems for me the perfect analog to the long time exposure approach. Having short and quick soundburst that evolve with the reverb of synthetic rooms. But who knows, I might end up with something completely different for the sound. Anyway, here are the sketches:
So that were my first experiments. The project was still called ‘Spacetime’ at that point. The problem was, though I really liked the concept, I wasn’t really happy with the visual side of it. Spacetime travel alone just looked a bit boring to me. Eventually I decided to move away from the traveling through spacetime concept and focus on the velocity aspect, respectively the inertia of human perception. Instead of having the camera on the dolly I’d put an object on the dolly and then move the camera after each shot around the object to examine it. So the spacetime thought is still there but more isolated as a phenomenon and no longer as the only subject. Also I decided to switch to a digital still camera.
An early and very rough sketch of the new concept. Still very jerky as I moved the dolly manually. I still needed to rework the dolly mechanism with the new camera as digital cameras have no cable release like old school photo equipment. I also experimented with the spacetime exploration concept in digital and in color:
But even the color didn’t help. it just looks very unexciting compared to the rotation around the object on the dolly in the sequence above this one. After resolving the cable release issue I thought about changing the title from ‘Spacetime’ to ‘Dromosphere’. Here’s a self portrait with the new setup:
I had to build an adapter to be able to use the cable release mechanism of the dolly. I also had to build a coupler as I had to set the ‘pre-shooting mechanism’ of the camera with it. You always have to press down the button just a littlebit to activate the autofocus and the other auto stuff. That I had to do manually with my right hand (as seen above) before the dolly mechanism gets activated with my left hand (which in this picture holds the mirror). Sounds complicated? Yes it was. I hated this stupid mixup of mechanical issues in an otherwise pretty electronic setup. So with some money won at a festival I decided to buy a more professional SLR camera that had an electronic release feature.
I’m currently working on a new film called ‘Dromosphere’. I wrote about it in Projections (July 2008), the Ann Arbor Film Festival Newsletter. So here’s a little explanation and a few sketches of the project so far. My first idea was to visualize and explore four-dimensional spacetime. With a camera dolly that synched a specified distance with the shutter of the camera I planned on making long time exposures of a moving camera that would then result in an animation of travelling through spacetime. First I used my 16mm bolex. I developed the film myself that’s why it looks so messy:
Here are some photos I took during the making of ‘Bloodlust’. I made the first sketches after some severe nosebleed. I collected the blood in a cup and then begann to smear it onto the clear film leader.
Before I made Energie! I experimented a bit with high voltages. My first idea was to do stuff with filming the sparks of the tesla coil I build. But that didn’t amount to much. Then I thought it would be interesting to expose the filmmaterial directly with high voltage discharges. But somehow I wasn’t really excited about how it looked like when projected. See for yourself:
A total showing some other stuff on my lighttable. I’ll get into the xray stuff at a later date.
Here is a clip with the projection of the above material and also the high voltage discharges of my tesla coil. Since my bolex operates mechanically I was able to get it really close to the discharges (some sparks even hit the camera body during the filming) without having to fear destroying the camera. That wouldn’t work with a video camera;-)
Slowly the film took shape. There was one particular formula that gave the most interesting results. It was also the most complex one so rendering took a long time. Here are two little sketches that already resemble the finished film.