Saturday, May 22, 2010

Post Production Process: Manhattan Rhizome

I have never really thought about mood and tone in the editing process and decided that this would be something I would like to start with as a reference point or guide. I started listening to jazz music and became enchanted with the sounds of Miles Davis especially his album titled KIND OF BLUE. I decided to research how the album was created and I discovered that the entire album was an unrehearsed studio session. KIND OF BUE, in my opinion was its own rhizome. I immediately imported the song BLUE AND GREEN and used its rhythm and sound as a map for my editing process.

I decided to group the images in sets of three with the moving HD footage first, the digital still second and the 16 mm footage third. I felt like the photographs in the middle of the HD and 16mm footage anchored the material. All the moving pictures were shot with the camera being handheld and are, at times, insecure. Choosing the groupings of three, in the beginning was a little frustrating. I found the selection maddening when I was focused on the result and didn’t let the material speak for itself. This is going to sound strange but whenever I felt blocked or stuck I made the decision to remind myself that the image was alive and to allow it to tell me who or what it wanted to be grouped with. This made me feel a little crazy at times but it was very fun and the following quote from Bergson inspired me, “Here I am in the presence of images, in the vaguest sense of the word, images perceived when my senses are open to them, unperceived when they are closed.” [1] I opened up my senses to the images and tried to hear what they were articulating.

An example of this is the last and third groping of the HD, digital photo, and 16mm section. I started with the moving HD image of the intersection in Little Italy, which ends on the restaurant UMBERTO’S CLAM HOUSE. I really like the pacing and movement of the CLAM HOUSE image but could not come up with a photograph that somehow connected with it. I sat and looked at my computer and tried many combinations of the material. Nothing looked or felt right, I was stuck! I took food breaks, went back to final cut, I shopped online, went back to final cut, I checked my e-mails but nothing seemed to work. I decided to look at the image and try to hear what it was saying to me and all of a sudden I heard the word blue. Then it came to me, the Yankee boy in the blue hat. I put the two images together and they worked perfectly. Originally I had decided that the Yankee boy photograph was to posed but when I put it next to the moving “blue” HD footage it took on a new meaning and I began to see the mapping of this boy’s brash bravado and my Manhattan Rhizome.

After this experience listening to the footage became much easier. Next I decided that my groups of three were finished and I would start building the climax of the piece. This kind of flew and I had very little trouble putting the material together. I decided on a 2,3,3,1,1, combination. Basically this translates into 2 digital photographs, next (3) 16 mm static shots, (2) more photos and ( 1) 16 mm shot ending with a long take in HD Footage. I was satisfied with the rhythm and movement of the piece and felt good about the work.

In conclusion, taking this class and creating MANHATTAN RHIZOME has been a very enlightening and interesting process. Never before have I created a piece without a huge tracing of work looming and impregnating the process. Also this was the first time that I consciously chose to practice my art infused with film theory and thought. I can honestly say that this piece is truly alive and still is a work in progress. My rhizome of Manhattan still has many more entry and exists points to be discovered.


[1] Henri Bergson, Matter and Memory, pg 24

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