This is our final edit for our SISE Group Project.
Our SISE module culminated in a group project that gave us a chance to expand on the techniques we had experimented with on our individual projects and work together as a group.
For our group project we ended up using the Avon Mouth road bridge as our subject. This is a substantial piece of architecture and is obscure as it’s placed in the centre of a housing estate. I thought it would be interesting to portray this as a sense of place and get a feel for what it would be like to live around such a structure. I took inspiration for the sound from Bill Fontana’s San Francisco bridge sound portrait and we were also introduced to Paul Wenham-Clarke who documented the London community living under ‘The West way’ which is a flyover in London under the A40.
We initially wanted produce a piece that used the sounds of the bridge contrasted against the peacefulness of a home to convey to an audience what it might be like to live in such an area. During the image gathering and tutorials this message was lost a little and we started to focus more on the people who used the bridge, showing them images and sounds that they would never normally come in contact with although they might be regular users of it.
When we presented our rough draft to our buddy group it was clear that while the edit served the brief the theme was still mixed, they felt there were too many images and the sound was forced and rhythmic so was unnatural. In the final edit we introduced more of the natural sound that we had captured and more video that tried to convey what it is like to live in the area.
The majority of feedback we got from the final showing was positive, most of the audience seemed aware of what we were trying to achieve and they seemed genuinely interested in the subject. We had some feedback that we could still have done more to link the community and the bridge together as it seemed like separate areas which meant the message was a bit lost.
Overall I was pleased with the finished product but felt that a lot of the great material that myself, David and Louise captured didn’t make it to the final cut. The excuse we gave was that there were problems with the transfer of footage but in reality it was down to half the members of the group not getting involved throughout the process. The fact that some of us had to take on a lot of the work meant that we became somewhat unenthusiastic in the project by the end. The process as a whole has made me look at image and sound gathering for my future work in a different more unconventional way; it has also enabled me to learn who I can rely on when it comes to creating a team for my future modules.
It took a while for me to decide on my final five images to use in this project. I didn’t take a lot of photographs but apart from the underexposed images I would be happy to pick any of them. I noticed that I had a choice of themes I could opt for, I could just use outdoor images, I could just use Toys or just simply use the indoor shots.
I decided the best way to create the collection would be to go right back to the brief and choose the images that I thought best described the sense of place while also thinking about the influence of Peter Fraser.
I think the final collection works well. I like the greys of the house and tumble dryer and the colours in the toys. I think the colourful towel acts as a transition from toys to the tumble dryer. I think the pictures are made more interesting because they are not just set up compositions. Because I took the pictures as they happened there are little interesting details that you can see when taking a closer look, for example the cat sat on the driveway and the lighter on the tumble dryer.
I think this process has changed the way I take an image, I no longer feel compelled to take a ‘nice’ image and think more now about taking an image that looks good and has a basic implied meaning but also allows the viewer to interpret the image for themselves.
For my final edit I wanted to create a sound portrait that relates to how background noise can add to and emulate stress levels. When working on a project I have noticed how if i’m particularly trying to concentrate on something then the sounds around me seem to get amplified and become disruptive.
I decided to take the sounds I recorded and focus on the more mundane general atmospheric sounds and layer them in the Adobe audition so the track gradually became more intense as more sounds were added. I had to loop some of the initial sounds so they lasted long enough to fill the tracks length, I also had to increase volumes so that they could still be heard when the additional sounds were included.
Although the majority of the sounds were general background sounds I also wanted to include some close up recordings of more detailed sounds that would help the audience understand what they were listening to, I included the sounds of the microwave, tumble dryer and oven being turned on for this purpose. The track starts with a freezer drawer being closed and I wanted to return to this for the end of the track as if the sounds were being turned off suddenly. I included the microwave sound again to finish as I felt it sounded like a heart rate monitor and fitted the theme I was trying to create a sense of heightened tension and stress.
Final Sound File
I think my final mix has the desired effect in creating a sense of place and also works well in terms of creating a mood. I really like the tumble dryer which has a natural rhythm to it. I found the multitrack editor very useful for placing sounds and have learnt the importance of using layers to create an overall track which has a desired effect as opposed to just making a track that has a series of sounds just placed in sequence.
I was pretty happy with the images I took of objects in my home to create a sense of place but when selecting the final 5 and trying to create an overall theme for the collection I’ve been wondering if I needed something else to explain the area on a wider scale.
As most of my images are closeup detailed shots then I think maybe a few images which explain where this location is might help introduce the collection. I decided to shoot a few images outside and will see if they add the desired effect in my final 5 chosen images.
Our third meeting with our tutor Amanda was a bit of a moral booster for the group. It was the first time the whole group had been present together and a chance for us to show our progress with the Avonmouth Bridge project concept.
Having shown Amanda some of the images we had taken she pointed out that we had in fact unwittingly generated a theme with a yellow accent in most of the images
We discussed what route we would take with the project about the main theme, we could either go down the route of focusing on the people who live in this unusual area or go down the route of showing the bridge as it wouldn’t be seen by the many thousands of people who use it every day.
We took a look of a portrait of work by Paul Wenham-Clarke who documented the London community living under ‘The Westway’ which is a flyover in London under the A40. Wenham Clarkes images seemed to encompass what we could be looking to achieve is we went down the route of highlighting people in our project.
We discussed how we could incorporate images into our project and I suggested we might use them as transitions. We finally arranged a visit for later this week where we will all meet at the bridge and gather material for our final edit.
Today, myself and David went to gather more material for our SISE project. Our main aim was to further explore the area to take images back to the rest of the group who have yet to visit and to enable us to think about how we will use the area to best to create our final piece of work.
As well as gathering images in the immediate area, I had the chance to explore the nearby avonmouth village which was somewhere i’d not known about and was a source for some appealing images that showed the tight mix of residential and industrial buildings in the area.
While we gathered a number of fantastic images that will be useable in our pirce, our main aim was to gather some more interesting sounds as we had the use of some better equipment and the contact/underwater mics.
As it was a Sunday it was a lot quieter so we were able to isolate some of the more interesting sounds of the bridge more easily.
The contact mic once again was a really good choice when gathering interesting material. using the contact mic on the metal barriers on top we were able to create a unique sound that could be layered with other sounds to create a portrait or used on its own to highlight some of the more obscure sounds found in this location.
We were interested in testing out the waterproof mic and after a bit of debating about weather we thought the mic was really waterproof (it wasn’t ours to break) we decided to drop it down a water drain in the middle of the bridge. While we couldn’t really hear the results while we were there due to traffic noise, we were pleased to discover that we had recorded something that was quite surreal.
Overall I think the day was highly productive and it gave us some more ideas about what we wanted to include in the project and something more to give to the group to inspire them.
Philip Bloom might not be widely known as a big name in in the world of film but he has been a great inspiration from me as I learn how to create films with a cinematic style using modern low budget cameras such as the Sony A7 and Panasonic GH3/4
Philip Bloom is a filmmaker and blogger, he became well known for his blogs and instructional videos centered around filmmaking using DSLR cameras as opposed to conventional high end film cameras.
Based in London Bloom has worked on a number of high profile productions, most notably the 2011 documentary ‘How to start a revolution’. He is most well known for his blogs and seminars that help users set up their cameras in the best possible way to capture images.
Blooms inspiration to me really is his ability to create stunning cinematic images from everyday places while demonstrating the functions and benefits of cameras and lenses. Work that stands out for me is his demonstration of the Digital Bolex D-16 camera where he created a short film around London’s city hall area. I think these shots demonstrate how to use cinematic shots to create a sense of place.
For my moving image project i chose a location that I have been focused on personally, this is the demise of Barry Island resort in South Wales.
Barry Island was once a highly successful seaside resort and sits fondly in my childhood as a place I enjoyed with family and also a place that introduced me to one of my passions that is visiting theme parks around the world.
Over the past 20 years the resort has declined and there has been a serious lack of investment that has meant the resort is now in a state of disrepair.
Although the resort is now getting some investment I wanted to highlight some of the neglect and in turn create a sense of place for people who may never have heard of barry Island or who may not have visited for many years.
I liked the atmospheric sound and in the editing program I overlapped some of the sound over subsequent clips to add some continuity.
Overall i’m happy with the film and believe it does offer an accurate sense of place. I think it would be interesting if I did the same project again and went for a different point of view, opting for a positive view of the location.
I think this highlights how the choice of shots used can have an impact on the audiences perception of a location.
In our previous meeting we discussed our ideas for the SISE group project, we favoured basing our sense of place project on a city tower block. Previous Meeting. During the week we tried to arrange to meetup and recci some locations and this proved difficult for people to commit to.
We finally managed to arrange a couple of hours this morning and we met up at the tower blocks in Redcliffe Bristol. We immediately discovered a problem accessing the site and had to resort to gathering material around the grounds of the tower blocks. We got some interesting images and could visualise how the project might work if we were able to get access to the flats.
In our tutorial we discussed our problems and discussed how we should try and gain access to the site and engage with residents who might be happy and interested to help out in the project. I think it’s fair to say that there was a struggle getting motivated, especially as it was proving difficult to meet up as a group and we discussed this briefly.
Along with discussing the tower block ideas we also discussed my continued interest in doing a recce of Avonmouth motorway bridge and myself and David agreed to do a recci in the afternoon just to vary our options if we still encountered issues with access and motivation. During the tutorial Kathy kindly loaned me one of her home made contact mics along with a waterproof mic because I was interested in capturing obscure environmental sounds, we took this mic along to the bridge with us.
When we visited the bridge it immediately felt like it would be an ideal place for our project, there was a vast array of audio and image opportunities and little restriction. It was surreal to see a housing estate split up so abruptly by a huge structure and left me wondering what it must be like to live in this locations. There was an OAP crossing a pedestrian crossing that seemed to lead nowhere and all around the light was blocked out by giant supports and scaffolding clad beams. Under the bridge there was nothing but gravel and rocks and immediately next to it were houses with gardens, trees and even birds and it felt like a huge contrast in a matter of a few metres and this was something that really interested me.
We captured a number of images to show to the rest of the group and also headed up the bridge and fixed the contact mic to the floor to experiment with sound options. The sounds I gathered of the cars crossing a metal join on the bridge really inspired me and I could see how it could be used in a project.
We fed back our material to the group via facebook and are currently awaiting peoples thoughts on where we should base our final project. Although I agree with the concept of the tower block location I think based on our current speed of progress we wouldn’t have time to contact people and set up a situation where we could complete the project to a good standard. Using the bridge we could visit at any time and not necessarily in a group and combine our material to create a pretty good standard of work.
Todays meeting was a chance for our group to share ideas that we can build on to create our group SISE project in a few weeks time. We shared some of our recent ideas that have been generated from our individual tasks and from past work. Isla showed us a series of images she had created of tower blocks in London and we discussed using this a a theme for our project. We discussed the different types of people who might live in these places and how this could have an impact on our finished piece.
Taking my inspiration from Bill Fontana I was interested in exploring the Avonmouth road bridge and the effect it has on the lives of the people who live directly around it in terms of light and sound, I’ve often driven underneath it and can’t imagine how it might impact on the quality of life (if at all)
From discussing our ideas we seem to have a related theme that we could focus on and it’s related to both often obtrusive architecture and the people who surround or rely on it.
Taking our ideas to Kathy and Amanda they pointed us in the direction of a few professional artists who have taken on similar work. Tom Hunter who photographed residents of a tower block in Hackney, London before it was demolished in 1997. His work was displayed at the Saatchi gallery and is a great example of typology photography where collections of photographs are taken with related forms.
Holly Street Residents Series – Tom Hunter 1997
Another artist who we could look to for inspiration in this project is Andrea Gursky who’s image Paris, Montparnasse, 1993 is an amazing example of large scale photograpphy capturing the modern world in amazing detail.
I like the idea of taking an image of a tall building from an elevated position like the Gursky image. I think this angle which would not normally be seen as we are normally looking up at tall buildings will make for a more engaging image.
To capture sound for our project I was particularly interested in using contact microphones to capture sound that would not normally be heard in day to day life. I want to maybe make the building feel like it’s alive by capturing the sound generated from the walls of the building itself. We discussed also how we could focus on the sound of the buildings inhabitants as the images move across the buildings exterior.
Our next steps will be to arrange to find a suitable location and take some test recordings and images which we can use to help plan out our project.
For my individual SISE sound project I have decided to experiment using my kitchen to create a sense of space. I spend a lot of time working on my my computer in my kitchen and have noticed how many sounds there are constantly in the background while I work.
I wanted to capture these sounds and build layers of them so to give a sense of place. I also wanted to amplify the sounds to represent a sense of overbearing stress on a persons concentration when trying to work in such an area.
Some of the sounds I captured will not be useful for my project but I captured them because they sounded interesting and i think could possibly used to start my own library of sounds that I could use in future projects.
I particularly liked my recordings of my freezer. I’ve nicknamed it ‘The Lonely Freezer’ because of the depressing sound the door makes when opening. On my recording internally of the freezer if you listen carefully you can also hear ice being formed on the mic which I found fascinating while initially experimenting with sound.
Below is a link to the full playlist of sounds I captured.
While sitting in a lecture for sound image and sensory experience we were presented with a number of images by Peter Fraser. These images were used to describe ‘Fine Art’ which is a concept of culture that has really always been confusing for me. Some of the images I could find some sort of meaning with but when presented with the image TWO BLUE BUCKETS., this image seemed to me the final straw in my understanding of fine art and I let out a giggle and didn’t understand how I could take this image seriously. why was it so special? What is the meaning (if any?)
I Was intrigued to find out more about this image and the photographer so decided to take his book, also entitled ‘TWO BLUE BUCKETS’ out of the library. Having looked through the images and studied the accompanying text it became clear that the special element wasn’t just the image but how it was produced, how it worked alongside a series of images and how it broke conventions at the time it was produced.
At the time (1983) most photographers were using black and white. Walker Evans said that “Colour photography is vulgar” Fraser explored the use of colour to highlight the present verses the past and used it to add an extra element to an image. seeing both ‘The blue and the sky’ Rupert Martin Two Blue Buckets.
In this interview Fraser explains of his work with icons as being there fro that moment in time and I think this alongside the curating of the book has helped me to understand how actual process of presenting an image in printed form in great detail is just as much a part of the image as is the subject matter and when creating an image thinking about how its intended look (in this case with colour) can have an impact on the composition.
I’ve decided to use my SISE still image project to try and dip into these concepts and create my own Peter Fraser inspired images.
Interesting article with tips about Guerrilla filmmaking
Been looking around to try and understand more about abstract photography for my SISE project. Finding it very hard to scrub away from taking traditional ‘good’ photographs. Looking at a site called Lens Culture I stumbled across an image that just caught my eye.
Estudio de Luz, No. 1769. © Cristina Matos-Albers
I was intrigued at how this image was made (using reflective and coloured gels) and discovered that Christina Matos – Albers has a lot of location photography that will be helpful when researching my ideas to create my own sense of place images.
Bill Fontana, initially a composer but I think his recent work ties in with the work we have been concentrating on in our SISE project in terms of creating a sense of place. Fontana became interested in exploring how every day acoustics of the world can become musical. He has recorded a number of sound portraits around the world. Fontana presented the installation ‘Vertical Water’ in New Yorks Whitney museum in 1991, this sculpture involved the use of sound taken from Niagara falls played through speakers placed in the concrete facade of the museum Different frequencies were played from different speakers placed around the wall. The sound of the falls created an effect that masked out the general sound of the street.
“ Fontana’s sound environments renew our awareness of the places we inhabit and the
powerful role sound plays in both our sense of self and memory. Fontana’s work is
predicated on a sophisticated investigation into how we perceive sounds in the world.
He has created a series of compelling projects that subtly treat the interplay between the
origins of sounds and the contexts in which we perceive them, causing the viewer to
become conscious of himself and his senses as he hears and perceives anew the world he
John Hanhardt, Guggenheim Museum
This is the most inspirational soundscape for me so far by Bill Fontana of San Franciscos Golden Gate Bridge. I was thinking of using bridges in my project an I think it would be really interesting to create something like this and relate it to images of the bridge.
The images put the audience at the location and we can relate to the sounds but without them (and with them to a point) the sounds are very unnerving especially the sound of the fog horn which also reminds me of the communication between the spaceship and scientists in Steven Spielberg’s ‘Close Encounters’ movie from 1977
Today we took part in our photography element of the SISE Carousel exercise. We headed down to Bristol Harbour again and we set a number of tasks to try and take images that capture a sense of place.
Amanda explained to us that this exercise was not about trying to take ‘good’ images but by sitting and watching and trying to capture unconventional images that could be used to get a snapshot of a particular place.
When taking our images we had to consider the available light, framing and weather conditions when deciding on images to capture.
I found the exercise useful in trying to change the way I shoot to try and make my images more meaningful but I did find it extremely difficult when trying to break my habit of taking ‘nice’ photographs. I particularly like my image of the ping pong table as I think it does a good job of displaying a place. It highlights the friendly nature i’ve discovered in Bristol and encompasses the weather and the season while the framing only gives a small amount of information about what is being photographed so the viewer would have to interpret the image for themselves instead of being told what it is straight away.
Task 5 – Editing the captured sound
Following on from our sound capture session I set about editing my sound to put together a sound portrait of the Arnolfini arts centre. I first did a short test on the two sounds we took outside on the harbour side of the man sawing wood and boats bobbing in the water. It was surprising that when mixed together it does create a life like ambient sound track and I can see how the atmospheric sound in the harbour adds a realistic dimension to the close up sound we got of the sawing wood.
I used the editing programme to mix together some of the sounds we took in the Arnofini centre. On listening back to the sounds there was a lot of gain in the recordings which is something to consider on my next task. There is also a lot of background noise in the close up recordings. I think using a shotgun mic to get better directional sound would be more appropriate for recording of close up audio.
I mixed the recordings to create a snapshot from a perspective of somebody walking into the art centre and taking the lift to different floors. I began with the harbour sound and the sliding doors. There is ambient sound and footsteps as the subject walks to the left. The close-up sounds of the lift announcements worked well and the sudden closing of the doors did a great job acting as cuts for the sound to change. Think the mixing between the lift and he coffee shop was the best example of a change in sound and listening back I think I gives a realistic interpretation of the type of sound you would hear in this situation.
SISE: Location Listening Exercise
Task 1 & 2 – Reading the location.
For Task 1 & 2 of this exercise myself and Anthony decided to visit the Arnofini arts centre at Bristol harbour side. The choice for this location was initially spurred on by sound. As we walked past scouting for locations we noticed the sound that was coming from the opening and closing of the electronic doors, we discussed the benefits of recording in an enclosed environment and having more consistent access to sounds so we went in and asked for permission to record which was granted by the centres marketing manager.
Inside, the Arnolfini had a mixture of different sound characteristics. There were some rooms that were large open spaces with hard floors, some small carpeted rooms that offered a different set of acoustics and there was a coffee shop that had a lot of background noise. In the uncarpeted rooms the sound was generally cleaner and there was a lot of spill coming in from other areas. Carpeted rooms were more muted with sounds confined to that space and a softer sensation.
General impressions of the atmospheric sounds were consistent to what I would expect to hear in an arts centre or museum with large open spaces with minimal coverings, the sound of the coffee shop leaking through to the art space reminded me of a train station concourse, maybe a London underground ticket hall while the sounds from the carpeted reading rooms upstairs in the building reminded me of an office with the light buzz of electrics and the overhead air conditioning being more noticeable through the false ceiling.
Task 3 & 4 – Listing and Gathering of Sounds.
Having taken a walk around the building w ban the task of listing and recording of sounds. We wanted to get a mix of atmospheric sounds and close up recordings of particular sounds that we could layer over an atoms track to create a snapshot of the sound generated from the Arnolfini.
List of sounds:
- Sliding Doors
- Entrance Hall
- TV Exhibit (static sound?)
- Footsteps walking around the main exhibit space
- Sound of lift (interior/exterior/announcements)
- Reading room general atmos sounds
- Sound of theatre room with exhibit playing in the background
- Coffee shop
- Old slide projector
We returned to the Arnofini to capture our sounds and labelled them as we went according to the file number so they could be easily referenced later in the edit.
On our way back we also noticed workers sawing wood on the harbour side so we asked if we could record it close up as it may be useful in the future if we wanted to create a database of sounds for use in our projects.