Ellipsis: Essay Film & Montage

Today we had our first Core Workshop of 2018 and was something I was dreading… The moment film is involved I panic but it was extremely useful for future reference and aimed for us to explore the contexts and concepts that influence the objects and images we make, in a time-based, narrative way.

Basically, Mark discussed various ways of creating critical essays and reportage while also showing us examples of these. Below are some of what I think are the most important or interesting things that Mark discussed in his presentation.

Essays: a short-medium length text in which the author:

  • Investigates something, through subjective thinking
  • Develops philosophical reflections
  • Uses persuasive speaking based on informed opinion
  • Prioritises discussion over a conclusion – conclusion defined by audience

Photo-Essays: commonly involve a selection of photos which:

  • Do not necessarily rely on an initial text or subsequent commentary as such
  • Comprehend a place (reportage), people, object, personal memories etc.
  • Are presented in an intuitive order that is open to subject interpretation

Essay Films: commonly involve edited sequences of film footage which:

  • Use film montage – the juxtaposition contrasting film shots (and sounds – covered in part 2) – to create meaning
  • Does not prioritize being aesthetically beautiful or entertaining as such

Montage: is able to condense lots of information and the passage of time, and therefore reduce the length of an overall narrative piece.

  • The common use of close-up shots intensifies the audience experience, and creates the sensation of a first-person point of view, plus suspense.
  • When montage is used, the audience, therefore, takes part in an active and subjective experience, rather than passively witnessing a narrative.

When it came to actually producing our own essay film we were to use 10-20 images or videos to put together a video. I found using Premier was fine, I don’t recall using it before or I’m confusing After Effects and this? Either way, putting the images and videos together was easy enough and I would now consider using the program to push my illustration work forward/ in a different direction. With the actual content of my video, I kept it more personal than project related as I have so many images of my dog on my Google Drive (I know, surprise). I found picking out the images I was creating a photo essay more than anything as it didn’t rely on text to show the progression of Buster’s loss of walking and subsequent therapy sessions but on the other hand, this made the ‘essay’ open to interpretation.

Screen Shot 2018-01-23 at 1.13.58 PM
Adobe Premier Screenshot | Hannah Phillips | 2018

After having done this workshop I aim to come back to the program to develop an idea in relation to ‘The Doll’ which is my given text for Anthology II. I think that a video element could work really well in the exhibition of the book launch and alongside a more physically illustrative piece. I’ve also really liked looking at the GIF work that the Give & Take studio have been working on so it would be really good to use this method of using Premier to then create a single or set of GIFs of the illustrations that I create in this project.

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