23rd July 2015

23/07/2015-I started work on my second idea for the first project. This one was about trains, rail crossings and rail stations across Newcastle. To get this footage, I decided I would walk to The University of Newcastle from my house, which was near the CBD. I would also walk back too, this would hopefully give me enough footage. I had a rough idea of the footage I wanted, but as usual I improvised. Weather conditions would also play a large part in the collection of the footage. Fortunately, the weather conditions I wanted transpired. These were varying light, dark and grey, with moments of sunshine and low cloud formation. As a 'photographer', light plays an important aspect in my work. If I shot footage in the wrong type of light, any subtle meta language I may be trying to convey would be lost. This is an interdisciplinary project, and mastery of all aspects are needed. I’m finding, there is probably a need to learn the art and language of cinematography too. Since finishing Self-Portrait no1, I decided to buy a shoe-mount accessory to mount the Zoom recorder on my Canon D600 camera (this is something I needed the previous night on Self-Portrait no1). I also used a stereo lead to connect the Zoom recorder to the camera, making synching the sound together easier…or so I thought. I also wanted to keep some sort of record of my walk to and from the university. I decided to experiment using Google My Tracks, which is a GPS satellite mapping system that records your movement on a map. Unfortunately, this failed because I used my smartwatch to start the program…the program did not start! I tried to do this again on the way home, and this time the battery on my phone failed. This was disappointing, because I had covered roughly 16km, and at good pace-almost 5km an hour. If this is going to be an audio visual art diary, then recording the distances I walk when doing these types of pieces is important. Here again is an example of proper planning - something I need to get right. I also lost my spare memory card on the walk, this is because I did not put the card in a secure place. This created another problem, which was I ran out of memory on the way back - limiting the amount of footage I had, although in the end it was not an issue...it was, however, still frustrating. Overall though, the footage I had gathered was impressive and I was satisfied. Although I was exhausted, after viewing the footage I could not help myself and decided to start editing it together. In some aspects this new form of art I am experimenting with has similar echoes to painting. I go into the world, take the footage, and then piece the footage together at a later time. A painter in earlier times would sketch what they saw, then go home and paint the sketch. This concept of video painting was also incorporated into the editing of the piece. What I discovered was I was layering like a painter, but in a very abstract way. I looked at the footage and decided to edit the piece in a linear fashion, although I considered a non-linear way of editing - like I had done for Self-Portrait no1. The piece was relatively easy to put together. I used a numbering system again - spoken to identify each audio and video piece, although I shouldn’t have been so random because it made it harder to find all the pieces. I also didn’t check the cable was connected to the camera correctly and near the end some of the video footage lacked sound (camera microphone). This made it very hard to sync a few of the pieces. I had to guess and use logic to splice the video with the audio. A number of editing techniques were employed, including, speeding up footage and slowing it down. In this way editing film is like editing sound, and in particular it has close connections to the techniques of the historical avant-garde. It is perhaps something that needs to be investigated as part of this project. Once the footage and the audio was edited together, I bounced out the audio for further processing in Sonar. For this project and because of last nights’ experience - I recorded the audio at 48 Khz. This is DVD standard, but still a little disappointing. I cleaned the audio up using filters and a special effect - RMix by Roland. This effect allows the user to edit audio via a spectral display, and can allow the user to cut very small fragments of audio out of the larger recording.  As an example, perhaps you have recorded a busy street scene but only want to hear the conversation of a passer-by - this effect can achieve this. For this piece I used it to clean some of the wind off the main file. Once I had done this, I decided to experiment with granular synthesis again…this time to my surprise it worked. The granular synthesis created some beautiful whooshing sounds and electronic bubbles. I achieved this by placing the processed stereo audio file into the granular synth twice and then blended the two sounds together. One of the audio files was lightly processed, but you could still make out the different audio components - meaning you could still hear trains and street noise. The second file was also processed lightly, but rather than open the granular synth up so you could recognize the sounds - I created electronic textures. The problems with doing this sort of audio processing is the file can become out of sync, which in this case it did. It is something I need to investigate more, but for this piece when I imported the file back into Vegas Video it worked. The finished audio was a combination of the unprocessed stereo master, and the stereo granular master. Once I had made sure the video and audio were synced within Vegas Video, ­I felt the overall piece was interesting, but lacking. I decided to experiment with video filter effect plug-ins within Vegas Video. I was concerned, because in any of the fine art electronic media courses I had completed in the past, I was told markers hated these effects. In the end though, what emerged is a painting like effect and process. I used filters such as, Hitfilm, Glow and Bump Map. Sometimes I used automation, and sometimes I did not. To me I felt like an abstract painter - where I threw something at the canvas and what worked I stuck with. Again I need to become more familiar with these effects and the overall program of Vegas Video, but I am growing in confidence with each piece I am creating. What emerged from creating this work most for me, is the idea of layering. Layer one, which was the edited video, was very bland. Layer two, the audio piqued my interest and propelled me further to experiment with layer three, which were the filter effects. Each layer contributed to the next and created a very compelling overall piece. It also gave me the idea that I was actually painting - only with video.  Please see side bar for video: Train Untitled