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DYCP Submission – Work Overview





Graphic Design


Tutorial with Mark Povell

Ok so there was no 16mm or 8mm film but Mark explained the difficulty of trying to work in such a small scale.  He suggested acetate moving on a lightbox with the images being captured by the suspended suspended camera.  Will be trying approx 12fps and will be being quite experimental to see what works best.


Near completed, one more shot to get!


The thing I am worried about at this stage is too much going on and it looking disjointed.  As I am actually making, it will inform the style and direction but in making the storyboard, parts still remain representative and creating visuals for the key parts separately for the purposes of the storyboard have created separate illustrations for each as the topics in the conversation skip from one thing to another.


As I have decided to experiment with film I asked a uni staff member if he had 16mm film available that I could use; he did not, but Super 8 was available and from my research on drawn on film animation,  I remembered this could be drawn on too.  I looked at my favourite drawn on film animators to inform what methods I could use to achieve smilar effects illustrated with the appropriate film below:

Len Lye

His 1935 film A Colour Box, an advertisement for “cheaper parcel post”, was the first direct film screened to a general audience. It was made by painting vibrant abstract patterns on the film itself, synchronizing them to a popular dance tune by Don Baretto and His Cuban Orchestra.(

In Free Radicals he used black film stock and scratched designs into the emulsion. The result was a dancing pattern of flashing lines and marks, as dramatic as lightning in the night sky.

Lye continued to experiment with the possibilities of direct film-making to the end of his life. In various films he used a range of dyes, stencils, air-brushes, felt tip pens, stamps, combs and surgical instruments, to create images and textures on celluloid. In Color Cry, he employed the “photogram” method combined with various stencils and fabrics to create abstract patterns.

Stan Brakhage
Over the course of five decades, Brakhage created a large and diverse body of work, exploring a variety of formats, approaches and techniques that included handheld camerawork, painting directly onto celluloid, fast cutting, in-camera editing, scratching on film and the use of multiple exposures.

Mothlight by Stan Brakhage 1963
A “found foliage” film composed of insects, leaves, and other detritus sandwiched between two strips of perforated tape.

So from this, I have found that I can use a range of materials for mark making such as pens, stamps, stencils etc.  Another style that I wish to experiment with is trapping detritus or interesting forms between tape as in Mothlight by Brakhage to see if I can use this in my animation as the detail in this is great once amplified.  I need to get my hands on black film stock where I can scratch into the emulsion and invert the colours once it has been uploaded in digital format to fit the light mood of the conversation.  I would also like to experiment with multiple exposures.  These kind of visuals better explain some of the parts going on in the conversation such as one person interrupting another; I can combine and overlap two films representing each speaker which in the physical process of doing makes it more realistic and relevant.

I would also like to experiment by recording footage on a super 8mm camera for its old style aesthetic.  Going back on myself a bit as I got an old looking style in my initial film recordings and didn’t like it as it looked a bit cliched, now I will try and achieve the effect with the proper tools.  If I can.

This is more related to the initial abstract style I was going for in my research and will need to get a tutorial for this film based work and rostrum camera work.  My aim is to combine the analogue and digital methods to create a near abstract animation.

Post Mid-Point Crit Presentation Feedback Research

I started by finding out exactly what a Rostrum camera was as I’d only ever heard of it.  Works to animate an image/object by placing the item on a lower moving platform where it is filmed by the camera attached to a column.  I saw how this might be relevant and I wasn’t too interested but learned that abstract effects could be achieved from it to by increasing the shutter speed while the camera is moving.
Key Practitioner – Ken Morse

When i saw this, I understood how it related to my work, as I will have parts moving in and out but originally aimed to do it digitally but the nature of doing an experimental animation lies in love for the medium, namely analogue.  I would like to get to grips with the analogue method and tools, put the physical work in rather than pressing a series of buttons so I can make a comparison and learn a new technique at the same time to appreciate either end of the scale.  The outcome is supposed to be different as well so I would like to see this for myself using my own examples.

I then looked at animation by drawing on film, namely 16mm which is used for this kind of work.  One of the key practitioners that I researched was Norman McLaren who used this technique for his abstract animation but I came across other key practitioners whose work I had seen before during my research but was part of a compilation where all of the names were not mentioned and found his style more relevant to my work in expressing notions in an abstract way, for this particular film, he is representing quite an upbeat and lively mood.  This will be useful for informing some of the jovial parts of my everyday conversation.

Len Lye

Len Lye

I refreshed myself with McLaren’s work and found it too figurative and was like a narrative was being acted out by different shapes making his work near abstract and not as abstract as I would like as in my recording, the different speakers communicate themselves by what they say and how they say it, I do not need to graphically show them.

Another on of my favourites was Stan Brakhage where you can see the idea that abstract animators create for love of the medium.

Stan Brakhage – Black Ice

I think this is an example of when the form informs its own form, the same route I will take when I get to experimenting with film.  Even though there is no sound, you can still get the idea of sharpness, coldness and hostility but beauty, this is something I will have to experiment with to create the mood successfully and a varietyof them at times all in one situation.

The most exciting part of drawing on film animation is “all techniques can be combined endlessly” and that montaged style is what I am aiming for.

Post Mid-Point Crit Presentation Feedback

I briefly discussed what i had done since the Research submission and my findings and conclusions from this.  I talked about my process of trying to find a visual style.  I had made a few style tests using ink, pen, pencil, paint and experimental mark making and tried my hand at rotoscoping as I had been focusing on the drawn style so it fitted well.  I developed illustrations born out of one aspect of the selected conversation and made films with these.  I had originally recorded footage to rotoscope but enjoyed them as pieces in themselves.  I compiled eventually most of these aspects into an abstract animation and was able to pick out parts that I liked, what worked and what didn’t work to successfully convey the atmosphere of the conversation.

Creating the storyboard was very difficult and I had tried to start it weeks before in the holidays, using Masakatsu’s approach to abstract animation, I attempted to create a few sample pieces to go with the animation but due to the nature of my project, as a subject of changing meaning, different routes, natural flow and trying to communicate what was being said and the person saying it stopped me before I could begin.  This macro take on the creation was unsuccessful.

In my research, I found a book relevant to conversation analysis, not one that talks about it in everyday culture, these numerous books did not even mention the purpose of everyday conversation!  Analysing Casual Conversations showed me how to properly transcribe using Halliday’s speaking grid, told me that casual conversation was social work motivated by interpersonal needs where people act out themselves.  This was the information that had been missing to create my storyboard; I had to communicate the speakers by their preferred interactional strategies (i.e. whether they dominate the conversation, if their method of speaking is jokey, if they interrupt or whether they don’t say much) which would be enough information for the audience to put together the different character’s attributes by the visual information I provide.  But I also had to remember to apply the theory to the visual style as casual conversations permit in a certain type of culture, such as a sense of community, the unconscious aspect of “just talking”, a culture that allows permission to remble, talking as a release fr what language represses, conversation as “going along for the ride/detour” turn-taking.  All of these imply a free/ abstract visual style.

I concluded the visual style would be a mixture of drawing, film and illustration.

I presented my storyboard and a rough animatic where my feedback was consider drawing on film (a technique by one of the key practitioners of abstract animation as found in my research, Normal McLaren) and using a rostrum camera.

Further Style Experiments

A few experiments with film.

I am liking the level of abstration here, I didn’t think it was too much but some do work  better than others.  There are parts in each that I like.

Final Style Tests

Ok so…I had the concept solid, and had to come up with the visuals which we could talk critically about as I had with the concept.  I made a few illustrations concerning the subject matter and implemented this into a montage animation.  I wanted to do a montage or at least have some montage elements in the animation.  I wanted to keep it non figurative and relatively abstract and think I have achieved this in a way as you can pick out some of the identities and their body language (smiles and cross glances) with eachother in the way that is has been montaged to match the audio as the people speak together.  I wanted to avoid having completely seperate identities communicating with eachother as I am trying to express the conversation and not create an obvious staged situation as in a soap opera or sitcom.

Below are some experiments with the illustrations I made, I do think it is a bit wooden with the image just bashed on top but I am happy with the outcomes at this stage.

Illustrations Based on Conversation Topic

The topic of this recording is about shoes, a key point is where the shoe is compared to a Beluga whale, so took that and looked at different ways of illustrating it.