It’s been a while since I’ve put out any film work. 2 years now since Mary No More debuted at my MA show, then I spent a while submitting it to things. Got into a couple of festivals too. The first time I’ve done the whole festival thing, so I was pleased about that, at least.
I’ve had other video projects on the go since then, but nothing that has actually been finished. An original fiction short is still on the go. Blood and Stones. I like the idea, and the script, and the actors, and the crew, and the location. But it’s been slow going. Turns out, without the structure of a higher-education environment or any sort of funding, motivation can be hard to come by. Nevertheless, I am hoping to get back to filming soon. Impossible self-expectations don’t help. I’m too close to the whole thing. It’s only a tiny little minimalist short, how hard could it be!?
A project with photographer Ellen Rogers has been steadily rolling along over the last year or so, going to photoshoots for BTS shots. We’ve got some beautiful footage and we’re hoping to finish editing that together pretty soon. Essentially a documentary project, it’s a little different to the kind of films I usually make, yet it feels so familiar. The process has been more akin to my photography work, following people around with a camera like some sort of creep. I like doing that.
In June, a short film by Ele Overvoorde presented the opportunity to finally work with Tom Martin, who I collared to collaborate with on the visuals. A very long 3 days but a good experience, I learned a lot. I’m editing Bear right now (my first time working with 4K files, from Tom’s lovely C300 mkII) and it’ll hopefully be passed over for sound work soon.
Back in November I was invited to the Sickroom to shoot an impromptu music video for Emma Cooper’s band. I ended up getting quite a bit more footage than I had planned, and one rather long and complicated edit later, we have a music video. It’s not quite ready for human consumption yet, so you’ll have to wait until everyone is ready to release the song.
July, back at the Sickroom again, with The Garrets. As a fan of the music, I just sort of like to hang about and take photos. It’s a great setting for that sort of thing, very cinematic. Getting a little worried that I haven’t completed any films for a while. “We should do a music video one of these days”, we’ve been saying for years. We all agree it’s a great idea. To date it hasn’t happened. A few days before the Sickroom, I’d been working on old projects, re-grading the colour, making them look a little better with new tools and experience gained since I made them. A vague idea of a showreel (which I’m currently editing to an old song from the same guys, when they were under their “Gore Vidals” moniker.) My grading software can behave a bit funny sometimes. Sometimes it’ll max out my GPU memory, and strange things happen. It’s annoying, but the patterns that it creates can actually be quite hypnotic. Working on Siren Tears from way back when, this happens. Beautiful swirls of blue and green, organic and yet confined to a grid. I thought it was a nice abstract thing, so I recorded some of it. I tried it against a few songs. The rhythm seemed a perfect fit for Ketchup on Everything, one of my favourites. Why not make a sort of glitchy music video? It’s not the sort of thing I’ve done before, but why not?
I’d recently discovered another way to create glitchy footage. For the last 2 years I’ve been primarily shooting on my 5d mkIII, using the Magic Lantern raw hack. While very unofficial, it’s usually very stable, but things go a little bit crazy if I try to extent to framerate further than it wants to go. So that was my plan for the Sickroom. I was limited to short bursts of a few seconds before the recordings failed, but it was enough.
It seemed like if the whole this was made of barely decipherable glitches, it might get a little monotonous. Perhaps I should have had the guts to just go for it, but I’m not much of an abstract artist. However, a footage hoarder I am, and I have amassed a fair amount of footage of The Garrets’ Will and Dave over the years. They both worked on Siren Tears with me – I have footage of them, standing out in the cold for me to shoot lighting tests. Dave was even the lead in one of my BA films. 5 years ago or so, Will and I worked on a short film he had written, about eggs. Unfortunately we encountered difficulties during filming and never completed it, but I kept the footage we did shoot. (I nicked the egg theme for a scene in Mary No More, which I wrote with Will). It’s really quite interesting footage. It would be a shame to waste it.I found that all this worked best with the music, with the tone and rhythm of the music if I sped it up. reducing meaning to focus on the movements, the rhythms. Some of the image/music matches even ended up being quite appropriate, funny even, sort of by accident.
The result works quite well, I think. Not bad for a couple of week’s editing anyway. Appropriate for the track, at the very least. Whether it’ll be of interest to those who don’t know the band remains to be seen. But then, you should get to know the band, if you know what’s good for you. The main reason I wanted to make the video in the first place was really to get people to listen to their music. They’re properly excellent, and Ketchup on Everything is one of my favourite tracks. People are more likely to listen to a song if it’s got a video, right?
Well, whether people watch or not, I’d like to make some more videos with them. Maybe it’ll be for one of the great new tracks that have just gone up on their soundcloud: