Sunday, November 8, 2009

Split Frame

Hello all,

Another post from me and my work/struggle with this piece :) I was unable to rehearse last week because I caught a cold, so this is footage from two weeks ago. I'm playing with which perspectives to use and how to edit them together. Below you will find split screen and an edited sequence. I decided to try NOT looking at the camera. Please ignore the off-center positioning of the split screen, as I just threw it together quickly so I could post it on the blog. Also the light/color is poor, again because I'm just playing with body/camera movement right now. I'm curious to get feedback about which sequence is more interesting to watch. I like both for different reasons. The split screen allows the viewer to go back and forth as they chose, and the edited sequence feels like it reveals what is happening a bit more slowly. 

Also, after a lot of going back and forth about whether or not to include the camera as part of the duet, I think I like it without. Below is the split screen I edited WITH the camera. It just seems sort of blah and redundant to me. "Of course that is what you are doing with the camera in order to get those interesting shots with the body, Ally!" I don't know, though, maybe not? Maybe seeing the camera is what is interesting and different about this "duet". The choreography is so clunky with the camera, I just don't find it interesting to watch. Here it is anyway, though. I'd be curious to get some outside opinions on whether or not the camera should be SEEN as part of the final film. Maybe it is revealed at the end? 

Also, I'm starting to think about LOCATION and COSTUME. Obviously right now I'm rehearsing in a studio with rehearsal clothes, but I'm at the point where I need to start practicing in the space where I will be shooting, so please comment with any suggestions you have! I'm thinking since it is such an intimate perspective on the body (via Ari's comments) I will try shooting in a "home" space (living room, etc.) which might reveal a type of voyeurism. My only other thoughts now are either an outside space (stereotypical and not supportive of the content?) or a neutral space (not enough narrative support as to WHY this dance film is happening?).  Please leave comments!


  1. i really like the edited sequence because of the "reveal," as you say. the split screen makes this feel more like a "study"--like you're putting all the information out there, side by side. also, the split screen IDEA seems like it would allow the viewer to go back and forth as they choose, but when i watched them, i felt like you were still telling me which to look at, and i pretty much only watched the close-up; the full body shot looked to me like a reference. i'm used to seeing a body doing a movement phrase from a comfortable distance so i'm less interested in that, even if it's giving me information about the close-up...but the close-up is huge in comparison; it's defamiliarizing; it makes me want to try to figure out what's going on and what parts of your body i'm looking at from what angles.

    and in my last post i said that i liked seeing the camera, but now that i see both ways, i think i've changed my mind! it feels like it's becoming more personal now, embodying a certain voyeuristic quality. i don't know if that's what you want or not, but i definitely see it going there. i like ari's thought about filming it in a private space. i don't see it outdoors because the content feels so personal. but you might just have to try it in a few spaces.

    go ally go!


  2. i prefer the edit. i also think it is a stronger piece without the camera. i would like to challenge you now by asking you to get the camera out of your hands and try placing it on other parts of your body, to get different perspectives and motion, loss of gravity and roller coaster sensations. and then play with that in your edit....

    as far as space goes, the home space idea is tricky, you would have to work it into the concept somehow or else it would be a distraction.

    maybe it is you looking for something in the kitchen, and the path you are taking is the search for the salt shaker?

    neutral spaces are fun if they are lit well.....

    you could green screen it and put different environtments behind you?

    or you could be in a confined space, like inside of a box.


    shim sham*

  3. Ally,
    It’s awesome to be let into your creative process like this! I agree with your other posters about liking the edited version, which includes the wide and close-up self angle. I think you are really on to something! I encourage you to play with the cross cutting, trying out different cuts at different points in the choreography. I think that the intercutting was every effective when you cut at the beginning of a movement or as a movement was resolving to stillness. Because there is so much dynamic camera movement in the close-up angle, the moments of stillness become very powerful. I think the sound score might be crucial as well in how you end up editing the final piece (if you choose this version!). Are you thinking about using a song or the available sounds from the location? Or both? Other thoughts…I think it is difficult to avoid the notion of voyeurism -no pun intended! :) It might be fun (or really complicated by yourself) to set up another camera angle or a few to give you more options to cut from, amplifying the audience’s perspective of you. I do think that it might be helpful for you to have at least one angle that is inbetween a static wide angle and a dynamic close-up just to see how it might integrate… i.e. maybe a 3/4 shot of just your upper or lower body? It could muddy up the editing and obscure your special self angle or it could be really interesting— you’ll have to try it out…Going with the voyeurism theme, I could definitely see this in a private space evoking some type of narrative. I could also see it in a neutral space as well…if you want to avoid going into a narrative. It might be easier then to avoid the question of where the imaginary camera is then…and just let it be a more abstracted piece. “ally dancing with the camera and for the camera!” Love it! So much to play with! Can’t wait to see where this leads….

    -Lisa :)

  4. Hey Ally,

    This is very cool--thanks for introducing us into your creative process!

    As you said, I feel both sequences offer something cool and intellectually challenging. Beginning with the first sequence--edited w/ no camera. The interplay of the two perspectives create an interesting and appealing journey through your piece. I do, however, disagree with the notion of voyeurism--that suggests an unawareness of you as a dancer being viewed. Instead, your two shots seem intimately welcoming--the close-up by nature of its proximity (and in the first series of videos when you engaged with it by direct eye-contact) and the steady-shot because its a few feet away and unmoving at an audience eye level. As well, because it is edited and you've selected which shots you will use, it removes any notion being watched--rather, you've usurped the power of the gaze and are selective with what you offer. If you did want to capture a feeling of voyeurism, maybe you could utilize a perspective from outside of a window or through some sort of threshold.

    In addition--and this may be due to a technological limitation--but the close-up view begins to shake as you extend the camera away from your torso. I really like the roller coaster feel of the swooping camera shots, but the shakiness detracts from the fluidity of your movements, and, in turn, cheapens the value of the close-up. I believe you could reduce or eliminate it by using a smaller, lighter camera ( has flip-phone sized HD camcorders for ~$200). The smaller camera would also allow you to explore Cari Ann's idea of perspectives from different points on your body.

    The second video--the split screen w/ no camera--is my preference of the two. Sarri sets it up correctly--the two shots give the notion of choice--but I found myself looking between and balancing both. Whereas the edited version forced me to watch your "perspective," the split-screen allowed my mind to wander and more-richly engage with what you were doing. My only real gripe is that they both don't sync up in some parts (noticeably @ ~1:00 mark) because you seem to perform two different actions.

    The very cool idea is the inclusion of the camera. First, I was talking to Eva about the inclusion of such a big ol' bulky camera. This doesn't seem organic and detracts from what I try to take away from the piece. Second, the notion of seeing you with the camera frames the second/prop camera seeing you and adds another interesting wrinkle to the work (and left me satisfied once I realized it. What would make the ENTIRE thing utterly fascinating is if you use the image you record with the second camera as the close-up screen). I don't think there is any combination of showing/not showing the camera you can try without sacrificing continuity...either do it or don't because both presentations give different meanings. I think those little camcorders are also kinda pervy, so maybe that'll help play up the sketchy voyeurism aspect.

    Great work Ally--I am really enjoying seeing your work so far. Good luck!

  5. The hand held camera catches some really nice moments, but doesn't cut easily with the static camera. You might consider using a really small camera rigged to parts of your body (like on your shin looking at your foot, or on one should looking at a profile of your face). That makes the selected body part absolutely fixed in the frame while the world and other body parts swirl around it. It could cut with the static camera because it has a static element, and with the hand held camera because it contains lots of motion. --john bishop