Friday, 27 April 2012

snowfall test

Have completed one snowfall test. 120 sheets- 240 frames in all.

The process brought to mind a number of unexpected thoughts. I remember my father talking about time and motion and being economic with body and time when completing tasks. He taught me a number of unusual things how to make trousers for a doll..he had made repairs to his own during his time in POW camp..and learned the hard way using flour sacks..he also made a case to bring home his belongings.
He also taught me to chop wood with an axe and to build a bridge over a stream...and how to read maps when you are deep in a forest!! All these things require a certain awareness of your body in space and I found myself pondering on this while putting my 120 sheets through the line tester in the animation room.

From where I sit I see a picture I have of Norman on the wall...deep in concentration leaning over his animation work. I keep in the back of my mind the knowledge that there is engineering in our combined genetic inheritance. I feel like I could have been at an engineer's workbench instead of an animation table!

Norman McLaren said in his first teaching book that animation requires muscle memory so that your body remembers what you are drawing.....and I realised today that this covers the whole process, not just the drawing. I got into a kind of rhythm and keen observation mode as I worked...even being subconsciously aware before I looked at the film that something was not quite right.
Basically I missed a flake ..which just vanishes 1/2 way through the cycle!!!....and because I was drawing 8 on one sheet at one point, it is not simple to correct...but I am in the midst of that...
When I was drawing them, carefully following the tracks I had mapped, I could not resist putting two extra ones in which do not follow a track!!! It works though.The focus wandered a little as I was drawing, however and about half way through I started making my own interpretation of the timing..and leaving spaces on some of the tracks...this does not work so I will have to go through each sheet and fill the spaces....time consuming..but what learning!!

Again I showed the test to someone more experienced from level 3 animation...she said I had the timing  perfectly judged in the first section...and it looks pretty!!! pretty is not enough though and I want it to look like snow. She commented on the two random flakes which move in a slightly different direction and said it is exactly what snow does..good observation!!! back to the drawing board!!

Monday, 23 April 2012

dance (film) Luvos vol 2

In discussion about Jumpcut Lucy pointed me to this piece by Editta Braun. Her description made me think we had seen the same thing so we both looked at both films.
Luvos vol 2 has a number of similarities to Korper.
Lucy saw the Editta Braun piece at the Traverse and felt that the film loses some of the impact of the live performance. It is interesting to compare the two works..... lighting is quite is the topic and general look of each of the pieces. Both are dramatic..and seek to show the body in a rather bizarre abstract way.
Both use minimal costume and flesh coloured so as to keep the body line.......both present clean visuals in their use of space colour and light.

Sunday, 22 April 2012


The learning curve on the masters course has been amazing!! I have now worked with five different cameras and decided that for me it is best to work with a tape since I am slow with the editing and best to have my film in a format I can take away quickly. Today I spent the day filming with Emily again, this time in a decent location with good lighting. I used the Z1 but had two cameras on the shoot taking a general shot and the other for close up and angles. We were supposed to have filmed a few weeks back but there were some problems and I had to postpoine, instead doing a trial film session of the lighting and angles but with myself dancing..not ideal but informative. I wanted a second opinion about the choice of lighting for the final shoot. I found getting this footage off the tape really frustrating since the Z7 was not available (but necessary) for log and capture...hence the choice of Z1.
Lighting choice for today was side lit with three birdies on a stand about 15 inches above each other and offset to widen the area covered. shooting was from three different angles, thus changing the effect. Two versions of the piece are costumed in black and two in white. A final close up of feet with reflection in the floor produced an effect I really love. Can't show it here till I edit...but it gave me an idea...could I use the film I have of water...a still is shown here..

The film is taken on mini editing nightmare...but I feel it is a key to the transformation from body to swan...I am going to work on this ...
Altogether I am really pleased with the day's filming and have a huge amount of material to work with ...Emily is off to Thailand soon so this is our last session together...glad it went so well.

Jumpcut 2012

Jumpcut Dance Film Festival

This event is new this year and so still to come to the attention of many folk. But a must see event next year for film makers.On the second day this film , Korper, by Sasha Waltz was shown. It is long...59 minutes ..and examines the ways we measure the body.
I was gripped by the whole thing!! The lighting is fantastic..I love the way it changes. Sometimes the bodies are lit from the side which is dramatic ( as in the section where a god like figure watches over a writhing man) and at other sections lighting is more even so we can see the whole body.The performance takes place in what appears to be a huge drum of concrete, and a large screen hangs in the middle, creating two distinct areas for filming. It is black on one side and wood colour on the other. At one point it falls across the stage and becomes what looks like parquet floor. At another point it is raised slightly at one side..creating a slope and and area wghere a dancer may dissappear! Much of the effect seen by the camera angles would be impossible for an audienceThe opening sequence clearly takes place behind a clear screen of some kind but we never see quite how this is done. Bodies apear as if in a test tube of some kind.
A series of solos, duets and group pieces are each costumed slightly differently which helps to distinguish them. predominantly neutral tones are, cream, against flesh tones of the dancers with occasional addition of colour. sometimes black suits contrast against light floor and at other parts flesh is contrasted against black background. We are able to change 'scene' quickly by seeing the view from another camera.
I fely I would have loved to be present at the filming of this and found the whole piece very inspiring!!
Well done Hannah McLure Centre and Agne for choice of films

Later discussion with Agne revealed the piece had in fact been performance before the film. And that the huge set was rebuilt in each venue...It must have been amazing to see live!!

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

drawing with muscle memory

After a full day of filming I joined a group drawing dancers at Hannah McLure..a warm up event for the film festival. It was a delight at the end of the day to step back again and look at dance in a different way.
The joy of this session was that the curator, Clare Brennan had set up a dance session specifically for drawing so ..a bit like life drawing class..the poses were of varying lengths. and then the dancers just kept this was more like my experience with scottish dance Theatre. Tho this time there was no need to be discreet and I tried some big drawings with pastel.

Partly I wanted to try a slightly sketchier style, following a discussion about my work earlier in the week.

It is good to keep in touch with this way of working as I feel it is contributing a sense of movement to my work...which I hope will be fresh in my movement memory as I progress.

still experimenting with various clour of papers and pastels

Also interesting that one of the dancers chatted to me later in the week and asked about my work. We then had a discussion about drawing movement and how I draw from my muscle memory as I draw on the paper.

I certainly feel that this is great discussion to pursue with animators and dancers in the future, and in fact an idea is building of at least one project beyond my masters which will take what I am learning and experiencing in drawing on to an extended dance /film experimental work.

Thursday, 12 April 2012

molecules of emotion

Things have gone slowly. Last week I was faced with so many problems that I forced myself to take a step back and a break away from it all. Over the alst few days I have been reading 'The molecules of Emotion ' by Candace Pert. She has researched the science behind our emotions we feel and why...this morning I read about the fast turnaround she liked when researching...idea to result even tho it diid not always happen this way...and she described the information loop we use in the body/brain. I suddenly felt here was the reason I find some of the work on filming so frustrating!!! When I choreograph the replay is instant I make changes as I go along and see instant feedback. With film it takes some time and I feel this is adding stress to the process for me. I am sure it will get easier!!

Candace also talks about stress and fear being the root of all stress. This time I see for me that fear is driving my stress too...fear of makinga fool of myself and producing a half baked work!! answer from Pert's book..? Maditation...easy solution so I start practicing again and it helps immediately!!!

I have also just watched SDT's new dance work...what on earth... animation with dance
The animation is there A a backdrop it seems to me. But it also serves to highlight aspects of the story.
It set me thinking about how my work will compare...emotionally especially.
Looking at Graham's animation for SDT ...the air bubbles...the ants...leaves a different way now since my course. His leaves were good...movement done well...
How is it different for me as a dancer?

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

snow "particles"

Spent some time with Garry looking at creating snow in other ways. `We looked at final cut and in the end worked on a programme Garry has himself. I drew 4 versions of snow flakes....tho at the time I did not fully realise how they were to be used....I photographed these and in photo shop we created 4 layers. The plan had been to create one snow flake but what we did uses all 4 versions. It took a lot longer than expected but it was great to see this other method of animating. This is just a test of course but I can see ways it could be used. In fact I feel it might work better as at some point I will make another few drawings of feathers and try the process through again.

It seems that opinions vary on how well this works. And in making this we had a few comments from other students and suggestions of yet more ways to tackle the problem. There is something about this "particle" version which I do like. but for snow I think I prefer the traditional 2D method. I am looking forward to how this is with a number of flakes!!
The process of drawing is more "me" somehow.....

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

snow test

After a bit of a false start and flu...and indeed snow for real!!! I have managed to complete a test for a lonely single snowflake.
Good for me to go through the whole process of planning the pathway and assessing the timing. I chose to make it fall a bit slower than the first to the next stage.
Already a few possible choices of progressing to snowfall seem possible...but one stage at a time!!
Had a really interesting conversation( while I was capturing for the test..) with an animator about the comparisons and differences of both our art forms in dealing with movement. I also had a quick visit to year 4 to see how they are all doing...26 days to go till their degree show!!!

spiraling skating line.

Taking the idea for visualising the path of a skater I have animated the drawn line as far as one scenario for the dancer's appearance. Now that I am going to work with lighter pastel I will do this exercise again and tidy it up. I want to have the dancer appear either from the top of a spiral or from the bottom. probably enclosed in an upward moving spiral.