Lican Ray.

For a few days around Christmas, I went to Lican Ray, a small lake town toward the south of Chile. This is the place I used to spend my summers at with my cousins and my grandmother, back a good few years. This summer it was my first time there in a while, so I decided to make a video, also taking the chance to use my new Zoom H2 to capture the environmental sounds. The video was composed out of sequences of photos, whose resolution made it possible to make it my first HD video. I attempted a sort of time capsule, showing the things that have changed in Lican Ray, and that will definitely change in the future.

Claridad.

Made this video quite a while ago, but neglected to post it here. It was made for an art exhibition (Expo Arte y Bicicleta) open to submissions by anyone, and in pretty much any format (other than video, it included paintings, sculptures, volumetric collages, music, poetry…), as long as it featured the bicycle in some way. Fun idea. I quickly made this with recycled footage from Volcano. I love these kinds of collages, as you can see here and here. In the end, the one day I visited the exhibition (which was in a public area in a Metro station, here in Santiago), the projector that was supposed to rotatively display the videos wasn’t even on. Ah, well.

Also with stuff from Volcano, but more recently (just five days ago) I made this 5 by 5: five clips, five seconds in length. A quickie, just for fun.

Pillow fable.

Español

I made this video for a local competition of short format videos, called Nanometrajes. Sadly, I couldn’t come up with anything to make, until it was already only a few days until the deadline, so I came up with a simple plan. I didn’t have a video camera (the one I use usually is my dad’s), so I’d have to animate. I decided to use my photo camera to capture the zooming shots you see in the video, taking two steps between each frame. Since I didn’t have much of a story or context, I decided to make these oneiric, and basically make it all the interpretation of a dream. That’s how I came up with the narration, which, translated, goes as follow:

I dreamt that, in a fish tank, there was a whale. Every fish wanted to be eaten by it—they crowded in front of its mouth. The rush was such, that, shortly, only the whale was left in the fish tank. Alone, and without sustenance, the whale died.

I thought that a fable was perfect to complement visuals that didn’t have much to do with it. I meant it to represent the metropolis, but it can be read in several ways.

The other sounds all came from my own mouth. I used a Nintendo DS and NitroTracker to sample my voice, and to structure the sounds into what you hear. The video was made using After Effects. This whole project was completed in around 10 hours. […]

Cities of Jem Cohen.

I had the opportunity to hear Jem Cohen talk three times in the past three days. The first was a supposed ‘master class’, which was really just a talk, where he was accompanied by Guy Picciotto (of Fugazi) and Todd Griffin, both musicians. The talk was called Another kind of music, and it was about the way he approaches filmmaking in relation to sound and music. One of his insights was that making films can be a bit like making music; there’s rhythm, texture, and other sensory elements in the mix, beside the more evident aspect of narrative that is most films’ core. He also said that the way he shoots his footage is akin to a musician’s improvisation.

He showed some of his short films/videos, or fragments of them. One of those was Little flags, which will give you an idea of what he does. The truth is, I went to this talk not knowing anything about this man, other than him being a filmmaker, and his link to music. For, you see, he seems to often work with musicians, or simply make sound a vital part of his work. The day before that talk, I was seeing Avi Mograbi’s Z32 while one of Jem’s works was being screened elsewhere, called Ciudad de México por azar, with simultaneous live music by the aforementioned musicians, plus DJ Rupture and Andy Moor. I didn’t know this event was taking place, or I would have been there, especially after seeing Chain the evening after the talk, which was already a day too late anyway. Chain is a feature-length, sharp, documentary-like view on the culture of consumerism. After the screening of that movie, he was there to answer questions and talk a bit about it.

He’s here in Chile because of Sanfic, the Santiago International Film Festival, which has been my chance to see some new films, and also hear the directors talk about them, which is quite an interesting experience. The final time I saw Jem was after a showing of a few of his shorts, including Lost book found, most likely the highlight among the bunch. In this short, he tells his story of what it was like being a push cart vendor in the city, and his discovery of a notebook that was filled with a strictly categorized, but seemingly nonsensical, list of numbers, places, things, situations related to the city. I asked him whether the story was real, to which he said it partially was. He refused to say if the book ever existed.

Pixevolución: Monkeys and pixels.

Monkey games

In 2006, for my workshop course in that year’s first semester, I created a graphic work that ironized technology and how the Monkey King (humanity) wreaks havoc on Earth through its lack of restraint and its egocentrism. The next semester I was to base an animation on that work.

This was a semester-long project (it kind of doesn’t show, due to a long preliminary process) for Sebastián Skoknic and Bryan Phillips’s course. Other than being my longest animation since, it marks the first time I ever did anything resembling sound design; I even splashed a bit in the tub to get some water sounds. The most interesting part was using the Game Boy Camera (thus the Game Boy sound hardware) for the electronic noise, which I think worked very well.

The subject of this piece remains the same as the one it’s based on, though I didn’t make any specific references to video games this once, just computers.

Volcano.

A few weeks ago, Matt showed me a preview of a song he was working on, called Volcano. I liked it so much that I decided to make a video for it. After I graduated, I finally got around to making said video. And now it’s done!

In the meanwhile, he released the EP the song is a part of; it’s called Moonfish Moon. I recommend you give it a listen if you liked Volcano.

This was about a week’s work, shooting around the neighborhood, here in Santiago, Chile. I filled up almost three miniDV tapes of footage, which seems to be a lot for under four minutes of edited video, or maybe I’m just not used to this kind of stuff. I also discovered only yesterday that this Handycam that I used has a manual exposure setting, which would have been useful for many of the earlier shots, but such is life.

I also got myself a new bycicle a week ago, which can be partially seen in one of the shots. It’s a cheap ‘beach cruiser,’ but I love my new bike.

‘The story of my sneakers’.

Español

This is a video I made in 2007; it was my final exam for an experimental video class. It’s the story of a young girl, as she documents her own cathartic ritual. The script uses some stereotypes, to match the ingenuity and simple mind of the main character, and also to leverage immediate recognition. I also let many scenes drag on, despite the initial storyboard‘s briefness, because I felt that such a contemplative style suited it best, and a fast editing would have done a disservice to the aesthetic. This was proved later, in fact, when I made a 30 seconds ‘digest’ (no subtitles) that didn’t really capture what I was after. That short version was created for an awful contest which I only entered because the topic matched perfectly: stories of sneakers, and it was an advertising campaign for a department store.

As you can see, the video could not have been made without the help of the star, Sigal, who was also the main camera-person. In fact, the concept was created around her, so, had she not agreed to help, I would have been forced to make something else entirely.

And since I’m on the subject, here’s another video I made for that same class, as an exercise in shooting and editing. All of the material was recorded at the Diana arcade in San Diego, Santiago. My original idea was to make it much more musical, but due to time constraints, I was only able to do so much.
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‘Recaída’ in depth.

This is called Recaída (Relapse,) a decidedly bad and rather cheesy name (the ‘caída’ part means ‘to fall’) for an animation I made for school in 2006. It’s, as I describe it in the video page, ‘a simple story of lost love,’ as told in wiggly pen lines, abstracted characters and two colors.

The story behind its creation should start, I guess inevitably, with my getting dumped by a girlfriend that year…, or maybe the year before that (I’m not putting the ‘water under the bridge’ act, really.) Either way, the truth is that I’ve always liked misty love stories, the more heart-wrenching the better. Yes, yes, I know. The point is, though, that the girlfriend deal I just mentioned was really only an excuse for me to make a story about dropping down from a great height in hopelessness. No, I never considered suicide, don’t worry.

Well, I never stopped to think about this so deeply while drawing the storyboard; it was the night before I had my class, so I had to get something done, and I had previously come up with that squarey character, which looked rather charming and easy to animate to me. In general –and this is a characteristic of mine– I can finish things quicker and be more satisfied with the result the less time I spend thinking about it, and the more I let it just be whatever and blah: get it over with. So then I can be surprised if it turns out sort of nice, instead of underwhelmed because of all the effort I poured into it (like with another animation I made later, Pixevolución.) So for giggles, here’s the storyboard in its finished form, and a pageful of sketches, for those of you who… Ah, who am I kidding, no one cares about this other than myself.

Only thing left to add is that every frame was drawn freehand with a pen. I didn’t even use fancy light boxes or nothing, just like real men do. I cut paper into square pieces and drew on them, then scanned them and… put them in Flash. Which is ridiculous, since Flash is not exactly made for that, but still, it worked I guess. The point was to make an animation using Flash, that was the assignment, but I wanted to make it hand drawn, so I just did it. Oh, and about that breathing sound? Yeah, that was my lazy way of adding sound, which was a requirement; it totally doesn’t fit it, but I wanted everything to be made by me (it’s an obsession, perhaps,) and I can’t play an instrument, sing or make any sort of music, so…