Documentary filming

Met a friend for dinner, and old mentor who has become a dear friend, and the discussion, after the usual formalities turned to recent works, in this case photography and film-making. I updated him on my experience after having visited the Sphere in Las Vegas, which I documented on the podcast in Episodes 20 and 21.

And he had some great advice. We spent a bit of time discussing beginner photography equipment (or which more in the new year), and then shifted to film.

I know it’s hard to tell by all the images I have on the blog, but I’m a pretty visual thinker, and often have an image or film clip in my mind of what I’m trying to tell.

The challenge (for me at least) is to coax that out of what I see in the real world. AI-assisted art tools can help, somewhat, if you’re comfortable with the “prompt engineering” that goes behind creating the images you want. There are some significant drawbacks, however, including the sourcing of the training data, and the power that is used to run these algorithms.

The other option is to make it yourself.

That old adage of “if you don’t see what you want in the world, then you need to make it” (or “be the change you want to see”).

But that can be a whole other set of challenges. Gear, learning to use the tools, time, energy, travel, tools for editing, and the time to do it, and a whole host more.

But it is do-able. Thousands do it every day on the online video platforms.

And in this case, the goal of what I want to see is a documentary film.

So let’s document that process, and see what we can create.

Films as Art…

On Mastodon on the evening of November 17th, 2023, @Ricki.Tarr asked the following question:

And the responses have been pretty amazing. But my own feeling is this:

@RickiTarr Most of them do, tbh. I think the underlying message between “Every Frame a Painting” captured it well. (Miss that channel.)

But seeing as I used to use 80s and 90s action movies for examples in my film class, I might be an outlier.

Anyhoo, a few:

#madmaxfuryroad The desert storm.
The fight on the cliff
#serenity The Serenity dolly shot to open
#GrandBudapestHotel Just the color design, in all of it.
#johnwick Fights as ballet
#matrix2 The Chateau foyer fight

And more…

/2 Been thinking about this all night, how most of my examples would come from some basic and banal films.

And I think that’s the beauty of it, is that they’re all #art

The underlying assumption in responses to the thread is that “art” is defined by something that must be transcendent or sublime, a singular work that stands above others is somehow “art” in ways that the others are not.

But I still find art in #billandtedsexcellentadventure or #videodrome or #returnofthelivingdead

3/ Or #conanthebarbarian or #jurassicpark or #thefifthelement or any of hundreds of other films I find engaging.

Now some films might push this a little bit. If I’m Dan Harmon, I might have issues with #NowYouSeeMe f’rex, and struggle to find the art there, but this is where the subjective alights within #cinema

(Waitasecond, can I still use #frex , or did some tool decide to use it as the label for an AI-generated thesaurus for your smartphone in the last week?)

4/ Anyhoo, where was I? (phone call disrupted the tenuously connected synapses there…)

Oh yeah, there’s beauty in the basics, which is really what I was getting at.

The most recent flick I saw was Aronofksy’s #PostcardFromEarth the psuedo-doc made to showcase the capabilities of #TheSphere in #LasVegas

It’s a brief sliver of a movie with a #scifi wrapper and an eco-friendly message.

It’s a singular experience, worth checking out. Most definitely #art

but so was #furyroad

Art can make you feel the little things too, is what I’m getting at.

Which is where I’m sitting at. So I’m thinking I’ll list out the films, and the frames, that strike me as “art”, however it gets (subjectively) defined, and I’ll run through the list here in the next few days.

Also, more on that Aronofsky film coming soon…