Films: Drive Compositions

by Beauchamp Art

Drive Composition 1

Drive Composition: Drive 2/Drive 3 – Positive/Negative Diffusion Difference

 

For this composition, I offset the clean version of the film (Drive 2, with optical flow) and the version which shows the generated in-between frames (Drive 3), so that the two could be seen in relation to each, giving one another form, and showing the workings of the digital process. This was done by scaling down the two videos and placing them side-by-side in a single image frame. I also panned the audio so that the sound from the left image went to the left speaker, and the right to the right, with an inclusion of the original audio centrally panned, that can be heard faintly between the two.

I believe this could be seen as better than composite parts, the two videos inform each other, though contrast aesthetically, the brighter video looks less linear, and the darker is given a greater sense of continuum, rather than seeming like a series of totally disconnected frames. Although this is the most straightforward of the video compositions, it seems to be the most successful. It is straightforward, and thus the arrangement does not distract from video content, but rather supports it.

This film was displayed at the Dematerial exhibition at the Fabric Warehouse, projected onto a large wall in a slightly darkened space. However, due to the ambient lighting within the exhibition, it was difficult to see the right half of the video, as for the most part it appears dark, with only a few flickering frames bright enough to be distinguishable. Hence, I tried displaying other versions of the video over the course of the exhibition, though ultimately returned to this composition, as I felt it was the best representation of the series, though not necessarily in that environment.

Drive Composition 1 Mosaic [Stills]

Drive Composition 1 Mosaic [Stills]


 

Drive Composition 2

Drive Composition: Positive/Negative Kaleidoscopes

 

In this I offset two of the digital kaleidoscopic versions of the film against one another, creating a stereoscopic abstraction of flashing colours and light that has ceased to have any relationship with reality. However aesthetically vibrant the composition may be, it still comes across like a form of pop-psychedelic construction. Although the differences between the two frames are clear, they overlap with the paralleled transition of tone, with sections shifting from blue to red in tangent. Nevertheless, as the two videos had to be stretch to the same length, the left panel seems to change at a slower rate than the right; one undulates, the other flashes; pulsating irregularly and violently. This is matched by the audio, where the sounds of the individual videos are matched stereophonically by position the right video in the right ear, and vice versa.

A potentially optimal way of viewing this, and the other two-way split compositions would be with a head-mount display, with one video covering one eye completely, like the Oculus Rift virtual reality head set, with high fidelity headphones secured over both ears, so the audience becomes a participant, totally involving their sight and hearing. This stereoscopic display would also mean that the two videos would not be seen independently, but would overlap, becoming one encompassing schizoid film.

Drive Composition 2 Mosaic [Stills]

Drive Composition 2 Mosaic [Stills]


 

Drive Composition 3

Drive Composition: Positive Film on Positive Kaleidoscope

 

This was the first of the more experimental video compositions, which involved positioning Drive 2 onto the corresponding kaleidoscopic version, at half scale, directly in the centre, overlaid with another faint kaleidoscope of the film that flashed lighter tones intermittently throughout the film. As the two primary versions of the video stemmed from the same source, there was a consistent light and colour palette. I thought this could work well projected onto a sphere, with a rectangular plane positioned in the centre, to correspond with the composition of the video, turning the outer area into a delineated background. However, this version seemed to cluttered and vulgar, and did not benefit the piece, or simulate any new dialogues, so I would deem this experiment a necessary failure.

There is something to be said about the appeal of the vulgarity of the unfashionable yet cliché kaleidoscope that remains appealing, as it such a direct way of abstracting forms and ruining an image’s representational potential. The kaleidoscope has become a pre-programmed filter on ‘Photobooth’, an ‘App’ (a basic application/program comparable to countless other live photo manipulation software, found on smart phones and web cam devices, its such a hideous reflect of popular aesthetics in amateur photography. It is like one of disgracefully overzealous filters found on ‘Instagram’ (bastardising the more complex but nor more subtle algorithms of ‘Photoshop’) and similar social media image exchanges, which plaster explicit modifications to images (colour filters, perspective distortions, ‘vintage’ textures, etc.) and yet are readily accepted by the mainstream audience. Such pre-programmed filters exemplify the verisimilitude of popular distorted remediations, and how even the opaque intervention of a medium are looked through, rather than being looked act, in the everyday encounters of mediated imagery.

Mass mediation could be seen to so prolific that its absence is more astonishing than its presence. “In an era of 50in wall-mounted flatscreens dominating the living room like an animated canvas,” [Brooker, 2014] the viewer expects to see through a framed window, so does not acknowledge it, and may see the representation, however distorted, as equally authentic to first-hand observation, because they have become acclimatised to signifiers of the medium. “The production of illusionistic representations has become the domain of mass culture and of media technologies […] [This] has been delegated to optical and electronic machines.” [Manovich, 2001: 177] This is especially significant now in the exponential rate of augmented reality, creating an environment flooded with (digital) representations, and interaction with the multiplicity of easily distributable imagery could be seen as a comparable development to the popularisation of the modern Western means of perspective representation (which is near ubiquitous, and even for those cultures unfamiliar with it can be learnt swiftly). As with the printing press in the fourteenth century, and photography in the nineteenth “today we are in the middle of a new media revolution – the shift of all culture to computer-mediated forms of production, distribution, and communication.” [Manovich, 2001: 19] With each new mode of transmission comes more layers of remediation and consequently distorted representation, a tunnel of mirrors, like the multiplicity exemplified [by online presentation of Roth and Hay’s non-literal self-portraits, and the perpetually repeating fragmentation of Leonard’s portrayal of the individual, and metaphorically comparable to the] kaleidoscope; ultimately resulting in a distorted reflection and therefore a unrealistic self-awareness of the individual framed by the remediated reality.

Like the painting of a sorrow, a face without a heart. [Shakespeare: 1161]

Drive Composition 3 Mosaic [Stills]

Drive Composition 3 Mosaic [Stills]
Reference:

Brooker, Charlie. (2014) Jeremy Paxman and Susanna Reid: two stories with legs. The Guardian [Online] http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/may/05/jeremy-paxman-susanna-reid-legs-newsnight-charlie-brooker – Accessed 5.5.2014

Manovich, Lev (2001) The Language of the New Media. USA. MIT Press.

McLuhan, Marshall (1964) Understanding Media. 1994 Edition. Routledge. Great Britain.

Shakespeare, William. The Complete Works of William Shakespeare. Odhams Press Limited. Long Acre London. England.


 

Drive Composition 4

Drive Composition: Positive/Negative Film on Positive/Negative Kaleidoscopes

 

For this composition I position the kaleidoscopic versions of the video behind the corresponding linear variations, at 50% scale, so that the right an left would serve as a positive and negative of one another. However, as with the previous composition, the background overpowered the foreground. And whereas as that potential for stereoscopic viewing (so that the two halves were interlaced, with alternate each video on top of each other simultaneously, with each visible to only one eye) because of the asymmetry of the multi-layered kaleidoscopic composition, this would not be possible. Nevertheless, seeing one half as the negative of the other in a slightly more intricate composition was interesting to see, and gave me the opportunity to experiment more with the panoramic of the sound. In that not all the sound of the left video goes to the left, the background video layer’s corresponding audio was more centralised, designed to imply a similar special positioning of the sound relevant to the listener, through headphones, at least.

Should I have been using 4.1-surround sound audio design, I could move the sound of the background layer to the rear of the sound- space, and the foreground images to the frontal speakers, as if the sound were an inverted extension of the viewing stage. Nevertheless, more complex sound design may be better executed at a later date, when working with more appropriate video materials.

Drive Composition 4 Mosaic [Stills]

Drive Composition 4 Mosaic [Stills]


 

Drive Composition 5

Drive Composition: Positive/Negative Film versus Positive/Negative Kaleidoscopes

 

Here I set the four major variations against one another, using mostly the same clips as before, but a more hyperactive kaleidoscopic variation in the bottom right coroner, set across from the brighter variation of a similar ilk, and below the inverted version that shows the digitally generated between-frames. This serves more of a display of multiple versions together to be compared to one another rather than an explicit compositional experiment to create a new film. But similarly to the fourth composition, this again enabled me to experiment with audio position, as I could make the sound seem as if it were being heard from a position in the exact centre of the frame, with the sound of the bottom left and right panned to the rear speakers, and the top two to the front (actually resulting in a similar soundscape to the previous variation). However, as I was working on the sound using stereo headphones, I was unable to hear this topological sound design, so positioned the audio left to right to match the video. Though I could have placed them left to right in increments as if reading them across, so the top left was 100% left, top right 33% left and so on.

Drive Composition 5 Mosaic [Stills]

Drive Composition 5 Mosaic [Stills]
Overall these compositional experiments were useful, but only the first variation can really be considered seriously (although the third provided the platform for a more extensive discussion.)

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