the daily DAN

 

A week ago, I posted this on Twitter. Must’ve been something of a shock to my Twitter followers, as I haven’t really used that social platform in quite some time.

The push to take up this challenge came partly from current research — I’m looking into Casey Neistat’s vlog practice for an article — but also partly from a need to kickstart my own creative practice. The short film we shot in July last year has sat pretty well dormant in post-production for over a year, and I’d barely touched any kind of creative software during that time.

I needed to get back into shooting, back into editing, back into writing, to get myself back up to speed with both the gear, the software, and with my own creativity.

The video-a-day thing hasn’t worked: I don’t think it trucks too well with a full-time job, relationships, family and such, but I’ve done five thus far, and fully intend to keep going, shooting and cutting whenever I can, until I reach the promised fourteen videos.

It’s been enormous fun: sometimes shooting new stuff, sometimes delving into the archives, always cutting something new, something fresh. Recording voiceover and featuring myself in the videos is not easy: as much as the challenge emerged from analysing vloggers, I don’t really want to be the main focus. That said, I received some feedback that the voiceover would lend itself well to a video essay, which may well be one of the videos to come.

Creativity begets creativity

On Monday, a few days into the challenge, I opened Final Draft for the first time in a year and smashed out the first draft of a short film I’ve been thinking about for a long time. And I think a few colleagues and I are going to shoot it — quick’n’dirty style — late next week, so expect an upcoming video to be something of a behind the scenes.

The producer of last year’s film and I are also spending three hours in an edit suite tomorrow, to finish off this damn short. Nothing like time pressure.

Don’t sweat it

Perfection is overrated. I think this is a lesson from Casey. But I’m learning to not kill myself over the edits, over colour correction, over getting the timing or the music just right. Do it quick, get it done — the satisfaction of a completed video far outweighs the hours you may have spent to get things perfect.

More reflections, hopefully to follow, but for now, here’s the playlist…

downstream

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Edie Brickell’s Good Times, one of two music videos that were included with Windows 95.

The disc for the Windows 95 operating system shipped with two music videos: Edie Brickell’s Good Times and Weezer’s Buddy Holly. These two videos were included to demonstrate how much digital video technology had advanced. Squinting through the pixels today to attempt to discern the image, it’s a wonder anyone thought digital video worth developing beyond that point.

One of Peter McKinnon’s latest videos demonstrates how you can bring a multicam setup into Premiere Pro and then edit between all cameras in real time. Vision switching has been a thing in live (and even recorded TV) for quite some time, but I find it crazy that processors can now handle real-time 4K video mixing.

Twenty years is a long time, but it’s also no time at all.

That’s a wrap!

That’s a wrap!

Words that I’ve not had the utter, utter privilege and luck to utter in what is rapidly approaching six years.

We have shot our little short film, and it was such a joy to see it come together. The crew were superb, and professional, and I look forward to working with them again very soon.

My cast were absolute professionals, and lovely, lovely people to boot. This shoot, I was able to just focus on them, and their wellbeing; not to mention the emergence of their characters, that they fleshed out and to which they gave life from my pitiful typed text.

I am incredibly happy, and satisfied, and humbled. Dear film-gods, let’s not leave it this long until next time.

Making

In a few weeks, I’m making a short film again.

My last short was made in 2011, and I feel like I’ve learnt a ton since then, but have struggled to find time to put it into practice.

It’s something of an irony, given that since my last film, I’ve taught around 350-400 students how to conceive, develop, shoot, and edit their own media projects.

The script is short, simple; a single location. I’ve been obsessed with single-location drama for some time. In part, because it’s close to theatre, but also because it’s a challenge for the writer, the director, and the cinematographer.

A lot of ideas are converging on this little film of mine, and I can’t wait to get stuck in.

GoPros and unintentional beauty

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No one ever consciously thinks of GoPro footage, ‘I will make this beautiful.’ I think the whole understanding around GoPros is that if you point it at nice things (nature/landmarks/out the front of a car), your footage won’t be half bad.

I mourned a little when the new GoPros featured phone connectivity. Part of the joy of the early GoPro experience was not really knowing what you’d got until you were back in front of your computer.

You just sort of arranged the GoPro, or held it, or strapped it to yourself or something, and hoped for the best.

I GoPro’d old school last week. I and my GoPro floated down the Yarra River in order to try and record the sense of being swept along by the tide. The results were mixed. Depths varied from about six inches to eight feet; there were rocks, sand, weeds, scrapes, cuts, and the constant underlying fear of being taken under and devoured by some as-yet-undiscovered Victorian crocodile species.

Mostly it was fun, if slightly stressful; the sense of accomplishment at the end was overwhelming. Only now am I looking over my footage. The set-up stuff I took on the bank is of course nice and composed, and properly exposed. But in the odd frame of the GoPro stuff: that’s where I find real gold. Where else could you see the sky through a thin veneer of water? Specks of dust hover in the frame as they float by the lens. A duck, up close, floats past, more bemused than startled. An unexpectedly violent splash of white water as I lose my footing: the perfectly sunlit day plunged into murky brown depths.

Get your GoPros out. Make some random beauty.

Compass points

I’ve done some nature this week. I’d forgotten how much I enjoyed it.

Nature the first was a walk in an inner-city park on Tuesday. Nowhere to be, nothing really in mind to see: just walking, looking, feeling.

Nature the second was some experimental filming done as part of a research day in north-east Melbourne. The hastily-cut-together results of this experimentation are included below. More to follow in the coming weeks. Nice to get something in the can, no matter how out-there.