“… an imbalance, tomcats, unfamiliar sky, adrift or barely buoyant, a storm, particularly susceptible to fracture…” Built around images of a thunderstorm and an animated text sequence, this video poem has been short-listed and selected for screening at the 1st Newlyn International Film Festival in the UK, 6-8th April, 2018. Click here to see the full program. It was also selected for screening at Rabbit Heart Poetry Film Festival in Massachusetts, 20 October, 2018.
My video-poem dog daze was an official selection for the 2018 Film and Video Poetry Symposium running in Los Angeles 26-29 April 2018 and ended up winning Best Video Poem!!
The video has also been shown as part of Brave New World: performance-poetry-film in Plymouth, UK, 31st May, 2018 and was short-listed for Best Animation at the Rabbit Heart Poetry Film Festival 2018, screened 20th October, 2018.
The video is constructed from sequences and stills taken around the Adelaide CBD. Each scene is animated using a complex series of layers and effects, some of which I made myself. The soundtrack was originally developed as a tribute to David Bowie’s Diamond Dogs for an event organised by Adelaide’s own Paroxysm Press.
My video poem BLUE MOON, has generated quite some interest in how it was made.
The underlying sequence of buildings panning along to a beachscape is actually a single still image that I built in Photoshop. It is constructed from about 100 images of buildings around the Adelaide CBD, North Haven, and Brighton. They were photographed on days with bright sunshine and clear blue skies so that the lighting was comparable across the shots. Even so, I needed to adjust colour, brightness, saturation, scale, perspective and so on to get the visual mix right. The blue skies also allowed for easier compositing later on. In the final mix, the background sky was processed to be the same in all assemblies and was derived from the average sky colour in the images. The final Photoshop file is huge: 62,000 x 1800 pixels and about 500 MB. It was assembled from 5 smaller montages, each of which was from a specific location, and each of which contained dozens of layers.
I then took the final composite image into Final Cut Pro X and animated the pan from one end to the other. To save memory, I rendered it, and used the resulting video clip in the final composite. The sky with moving clouds is composited from three sets of vids I took all on the same day, but in slightly different parts of the sky so that the cloud movements were not quite the same. They are sped up and looped to varying degrees. The various flying objects are from a commercial image library that I animated. The final moonrise sequence is taken from the recent lunar eclipse we had (click here to see that). It is composited via an animated mask and a couple of other image processing tweaks. The whole lot was composited using colour keys, background colour gradients, key framed text and opacity animations.
The soundtrack is tin can, a performance I did as part of a Paroxysm Press tribute to David Bowie. The text is inspired by Bowie’s Space Oddity, Arthur C Clarke & Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey and NASA’s Pioneer 10 / 11 space probes to the moons of Jupiter and Saturn, with all due reference to Homer’s Odyssey. The music is derived from the chord pattern of Space Oddity. You might find a few other references as well…
My video-poem heist was shown recently at the 6th International Video Poetry Festival in Athens and has attracted quite a bit of interest… but what’s going on here? It’s not really a narrative, at least not in the traditional sense, but it’s got something to do with banks and code and presumably illegal activities linking the two.
The video’s subtitle, RAID IV, that appears in the credits, is a key clue. A RAID array is way of setting up computer hard drives so that data are written simultaneously to more than one drive, providing a secure form of back-up in the case of disk failure. Hence Drives C, D and E should have copies of the same files, if they are working properly and if they have not been corrupted. V drive is usually the networked virtual drive that mirrors the others and is used to access the array.
So, then, what if there were a bank raid being planned? Or maybe being thought about, a bit of wishful thinking? Or maybe it did happen and the perpetrators more or less got away with it? Or perhaps you were trying to tell someone about a crime movie you saw or a book you read but couldn’t remember the details? Regardless, how many versions exist? Which ones can you believe? What records would exist on security cams, texts, messages etc?
I love the idea of video poems providing that extra dimension in trying to represent the strange mental limbo between memory and imagination and forgetfulness… the half-formed images, ideas, thoughts that flit through your mind pretty much constantly: this is the zone where conventional language and linear narrative fails.
All the footage in this video was shot specifically for the project, mostly around where I live. It took me months to do, learning the animation and layering techniques that are in nearly every scene… I made all the text animations from scratch, as well as many of the lighting effects. Almost every scene is constructed from several raw images… Almost nothing is as it seems.
My video-poem Hexapod was short-listed for the 2017 5th Ó Bhéal Poetry-Film Competition. There were 30 films on the short-list from 186 submissions from 29 countries. The films were shown as part of the IndieCork film festival on 15th October 2017. Click here to see the rest of the short-list.