Sunday, April 29, 2007

leafy peking duck

litter - screenshot

so litter is finally nearly finished - the making part. As usual, we thought the shoot would take a day, two at the outside. It took over a week. Multiple days of Nick and I stripping little leaves off unnamed native plants, scrabbling our way up scree cliffs on the back block in search of materials, frantic solutions to strange problems (how to spray-glue dirt onto plyboard). and then, once assembled, lots and lots and lots of slight manipulations of the frame to create the animation. slow, tiny, incremental manipulations - to shift the frame's contents but not to change it utterly...

following the eventual shoot, on a farmhouse floor with questionable lighting - swatting the cat away at intervals - I am now not so sure what to think of the 'straight forward' animation approach, which i so favour over the whole intricate storyboard (how do you storyboard abstraction?) technique... it is such a question of trying to imagine the resultant effect of your incremental actions within the animating process, without trying to 'rule' the result - to allow for whatever result comes out to have space to breathe..

anyrate, many hundreds of frames later, we had something. and it is beautiful. I took the frames into Final cut and proceeded to tweak and add to the inherent motion and form that we had, while Nick wrote randomised scripts to create 'sets' of images that could then be imported in order to create some true chaos and random order. quite tricky, I thought. The results were pretty out there, but ultimately the piece popped up its head and now it is sitting on my harddrive, ready to go to sydney in a few days. We'll need a proper beefy computer to play it back in its full resolution form, and there aint none of those around here - my little laptop is already pretty grumpy after this last onslaught of editing.

So a day in Sydney on a friend's grunty computer, to set everything straight and check the entire clip for any problems - which means multiple stints of looking at 10 minutes of static-like video rather intently. Which is only just bareable because 1) we will defect to a feast of Peking Duck directly after this session, and 2) because the next day I fly out to Canada to begin my residency at Banff. So its the last day of school, in a sense. For myself anyway - from here on in, litter will be Nick's baby to nurse through production to installation in May at the Govett-Brewster. I feel for him - but, on the upside, this will be the simplest install that a cicada work has ever seen - by a factor of five million trillion... so it should be a comparatively pleasurable experience for him... fingers crossed...

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