I once made a single take, real time, split screen video clip (shit, 10 years ago… really!?). But not even You Am I could come close to matching the explosive energy and visual poetry of this stunning split screen composite of the recent Space Shuttle Endeavour launch. Find five minutes and click full screen!
You can see the original footage (and way more cool space footage) here. Thanks NASA!
A wet and wild day spent on the road looking at locations. Searching for places in Melbourne that look like (and feel lke) Beaconsfield, Tasmania. I’m very focused on making a film about a community and a place, as I am making it about an event. But for budget and funding reasons we have to shoot most of the film in and around Melbourne. We will be shooting in Beaconsfield the place, but we can’t do everything there I would like to.
I think last week was the last week of “maybes”, “what ifs”, “perhaps we coulds” and “how abouts”. The last week of all the nebulous ideas taking shape and all the possibilities of film making thrown up in the air and looking at where they could land. My favourite part of pre-production.
This week things really start to get pinned down. It’s going to more, “it’s this”, “it’s that”, “you can”, “you can’t”. All part of the process.
I’ve had a ‘fancrush’ on photographer Joel Meyerowitz for many years. His street photography is amazing, but for me it’s the way he observes and captures particular qualities of light that keeps drawing me back to his work.
The other day I watched this film made about him in 1981. Shot in New York, it’s one of the best films I’ve seen about the discipline of street photography and what draws an artist like Meyerowitz to the street to photograph. The films camera sits back and observes Meyerowitz at work for extended sequences where he freely discusses his process to writer/curator Colin Westerbeck.
Click HERE to the view film, where it’s featured on Nick Turpins great photography blog.
There are so many great moments in the film. If you don’t have 57 minutes to watch the whole thing, scan through to 28mins 50 secs and watch for 5 mins or so where they move to a particular street corner. Meyerowitz gives a running commentary of the real theatre of street life playing out. The people and their actions seem so well placed and timed like it’s all been planned out that way. New York presents this constant swathe of characters like no other city can, but it does remind me to look for similar rhythms and movements and moments where ever I am. It also makes me think that Meyerowitz is one of these people that not only instinctively knows where to be, but also one of these people where things just happen where he is. Or perhaps it’s just as he says, he’s out there taking the ‘risk’.
The last 10 minutes are also incredible. Meyerowitz and Gilberg are sitting chatting in the studio and Meyerowitz says he’s “getting antsy cos the light is beautiful outside…” (I so know that feeling!). They go out onto the street where the sun is getting rich and golden. It’s fascinating watching Meyerowitz walk with his huge plate camera across his shoulder accessing the street and the light and again intuitively feeling where the right spot to set up and take the single shot will be. Being compelled myself to photograph in and around first and last light, I found this sequence, which is pretty much shot in real time absolutely incredible. The way that Meyerowitz sits down after he gets the shot and writes detailed notes describing the colour, tone and quality of the light for him to refer to during development to me was so fascinating.
The film is a bit of time capsule for many reasons, but rest assured, Meyerowitz is still out there today doing what he has always done.
Spinal Tap fans may appreciate the title of this entry, but it’s a line that seems most appropriate when trying to describe how dark it is inside a mine. I’ve been down a few mines in the past week and it really surprised me just how ‘dark’ they are. It’s not a dark I’ve ever experienced. It’s a dark that is so thick and dense and seemingly never ending. None of the access roads or mine drives are lit, and where there is a light the fact that it is surrounded by so much darkness it seems to be sucked up by the shadows and surrounding black rock walls much quicker than it would above ground.
At one point while standing in a group we all momentarily turned our head lamps off at the same time. I don’t think I’ve ever experienced that kind of blackness. You can’t get ‘none more black’. Your eyes will never adjust to the point where you can make out even the slightest variation in tone or definition. It’s like your sense of ‘sight’ no longer exists.
This disorientating quality of darkness has been a recurring theme in our conversations of how we ‘light’ the film and how we approach the film visually and thematically as well. How do we ‘show nothing’? It’s a problem thats always been there for filmmakers. And I’m forever distracted with ‘night scenes’ where everything is lit with blue ambience and ‘silver’ halo cutting everyone magically from the background. If this was a film to be released in cinemas I think we could get away with sections of just blackness on screen, no light, but as this is for commercial TV we will have to have ‘something’ on screen that the audience can see. I think there will be many ways we can use the darkness to our advantage in creating a really immersive experience for the viewer. And as we will be shooting much of the film in studio (read: a warehouse in Footscray), we can use the darkness to ‘extend’ the sets we are planning to build.
Images screen grabbed from test and recce footage shot by DOP Toby Oliver.