How to explain the collaborative process? Ah…it’s a mysterious thing, arriving at the final destination. You would think, looking at this video, that the written content was complete and as you hear it now, before we shot the images. It didn’t quite roll out that way…
Emma has been exploring various themes in her personal performance work and writing. I have been exploring ways to photograph and present her ideas in appropriate visual formats. Together we make a great team. I think she’s amazing. She has this particular way of seeing the world, and has this unique ability to tap into very specific ideas that we can all relate to and to articulate them beautifully. It helps that she has this milky voice with great range and brilliant dry wit comic timing, not to mention great physical presence and performance style as well. Quite the package.
It was actually a song that was her intial inspiration. I sent her a snapshot of the location the morning of our planned shoot, she said, yep, love that moon scape look, it suits the song, let’s do it. At this stage we did not have a specific outcome in mind – just an idea, a song and a location.
In fact I had not heard the song and we decided to keep it that way for the time being. She got up there in the dirt and rolled around, threw off her glasses, her boots, got a bit messed up in the sand. In fact her movements were very specific and related directly to the song content. And here’s Beth, capturing her moments with actually no idea of what it was all about! We thought we’d try the element of surprise with this, and to see what would happen visually.
Then we sat down and pulled out the images from the collection of 260 frames down to something like 100. I added the post production coldness and high contrasty look to the images. That treatment suited the harsh landscape and feeling of desolation. Then we started discussing the ideas that underpinned the performance. We discovered the music didn’t really fit the images, that it just didn’t keep our attention. Plus we felt there was not enough of Emma’s ideas in there, it was just someone else’s song. Then she whipped out a rough version of the The Launch that she had written, not yet even named, that contained similar themes to the song. She read it out loud and I scrolled slowly through the images.
In tandem the words and the images came alive. That was a smart move, to move sideways and explore things from a different angle.
Like a pendulum swinging back and forth, Emma tightened the words, then I tightened the images, and so on until we had them reasonably assembled in the movie format. Emma recorded a rough draught of the audio and we called it a night.
Still not satisfied, Emma tweaked the wording a bit further, in turn I tweaked the image editing and placement a bit further, then we rested with it for a bit longer.
Nup…still not there…Emma then started working the cut and paste feature of the audio, and it brought a new depth to the sound and impact. I then followed suite and matched the image flow and timing against the tonality of the reading…down to just 23 images by now.
Final tweaks and turns later, here is the final piece. We know it’s right now, because it feels right. There is nothing more to change. We love it, and we hope you do too.
Thank you dear Emma, for another collaboration! I love your ideas and the challenge of finding appropriate visual solutions. See you at the next one we put together on Sunday.
PS a naughty word at the end (for those that don’t like swear words).
PPS all the images you see in the strips are out-takes, they didn’t make the final cut.