[EDT] – Noise and Purity


Being asked to make a generative animation for Thursday, I started to think about how closely the noise projects we were working on looked like lightning, and how it wasn’t a far stretch to make a lightning generator based off our other work. The noise just needed to have significantly finer resolution in the y direction than in the x to give it some verticality. Pop in a random number generator to make the strikes seem sporadic and voila:

This is fun, and it looks like lightning. But I want my lightning to glow! At first, I toyed with trying to draw a gradient around the lightning here. It did not go well.

Then I realized, the cool thing about glowing things is the objects they illuminate. And in the spirit of Halloween, this animation could show the progression of some creepy, shadowy, maybe abstract figure in the background. Some images of creepy houses came to mind.

From http://dndspeak.com/2019/06/100-things-you-can-find-in-a-haunted-house/
Luigi’s Mansion. Image from https://jadensadventures.fandom.com/wiki/Luigi%27s_Mansion?file=Luigis-mansion-mansion.jpg
As I was finding my examples, I stumbled across this one and couldn’t help but include it. I don’t know how I feel about those eyes, but I can’t stop looking at them. From https://www.womansday.com/home/decorating/a52379/christine-mcconnell-haunted-house/

And then Slenderman also came to mind.

From https://tenor.com/view/slender-slender-man-horror-scary-gif-14746427
From https://www.ctvnews.ca/world/victim-of-2014-u-s-slender-man-stabbing-speaks-out-1.4655518 who attributes it to Sony’s movie of the same title.

These two concepts have been thoroughly played and don’t require me to explore them, but it’s a good jumping off point as I flesh out this animation with some shadowy, abstract element that induces mild anxiety.

Purity in a Film Shot and What It Conveys

I’ve been reflecting on my time directing and shooting my film project with my generous friend, Diogo, as talent. It was an interesting experience to know that there was an image in my head, figure out what it was, then figure out how to realize it. As with all visions, they seem so perfect, but the setup puts limitations on them that can diminish the realization. Especially with my limited filming experience.

I’ve been trying to figure out what influences I was drawing from throughout the process and realized one was a direct influence from Wes Anderson. Specifically, the trademark Wes Anderson symmetrical shot.

Establishing a person. Taken from https://www.ranker.com/list/symmetrical-wes-anderson/hannah-collins
Establishing a scene. Taken from http://thecinemaarchives.com/2018/03/30/moonrise-kingdom-2012-wes-anderson/

Anderson is quite good at this, and there’s no sense in trying to establish his level of symmetry on my two-day, two-hour-at-a-time shoot, borrowed in a friend’s apartment on a friend’s time. But what Anderson is trying to achieve is an aesthetic. A storytelling technique. A level of surreal perfection in a different world. And while there’s drama in his world, the amount of perfection he strives for puts his style and films into a whole new plane.

I didn’t want that. So a number of my shots were traditionally angular.

Traditonal shot (screen capped)
Symmetric shot (screen capped)

For my film, I liked Anderson’s approach as a story telling device, but not as context setting. And that’s a fine line. The world is certainly not perfect, and we see that in the other shots. But if I tell you who this man is from an objective, face-on view, then that is my most efficient way to tell you who he is and that he is important in our story.

Even the symmetric shot isn’t even close to Anderson perfection. My lighting dim and is heavily profile, and his head’s not quite straight. But that’s the thing: the shot speaks to objectivity, yet the disturbing nature of the world of our story comes through even that lens. I believe that speaks more than a traditional shot could.

So, yeah, I stole Anderson’s style a bit, but definitely put my own bend on it and didn’t commit to it as much as he does. It’s admirable that he can do that, but if I had strove for that, it wouldn’t be my work any more.

– Dewey

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