A C C E L E R A T E D S E N S A T I O N
SFAI Exhibition: EDGE EFFECT
Fort Mason . San Francisco
May . 2015
A choreographed gestural performance set in the high desert of Washoe Valley, Nevada.
The project was filmed using the Phantom Flex Camera from Vision Research. The Phantom line of high-speed cameras are the fastest digital motion picture cameras on the market. All of the footage was shot at variable high-speed frame rates from 500fps to 2,500fps and played back at 24fps in 2K resolution. The technical side of Skye's work and research seeks to develop an algorithm/ relationship between the speed of movement (gestures, moving objects, action...), and the subsequent speed of image capture and speed of playback that most effectively captivates viewers' attention, by creating a visual sensory experience that elicits the inner cognitive sensations one feels and experiences during specific memorable moments - a feeling of Accelerated Sensation.
THEME OF FILM
The gestural performance of film explores the fluidity of gender expression. Performers alternate their gestural movements to embody an aura of femininity, masculinity and androgyny. The performance celebrates these expressions as gender neutral orientations. The piece is meant to be provocative in the sense that one can embody an orientation of being feminine, masculine or androgynous, to any degree or variance, regardless of gender identity or sexual orientation.
The narrative of the performance is meant to promote a sense of freedom to cross the boundaries of what society considers normal behavior in regards to gender roles and identity. In the film Velvet Goldmine, we see how David Bowie inspired new alternative identity formations through the fluidity of gender performance during the Glam Rock Era.
Film Installation was housed inside a prebuilt structure at the SFAI Exhibition. The structure was square with a flat floor and apex ceiling, consisting of the following: (Structure Size: 10ft width x 10ft length x 12ft Height)
(1) Four walled tent with a separate interior metal frame supporting a projection system and projection screens built into three wall sections. Interior wall size: 10ft wide by 8ft high, with an apex ceiling extending to a height of 12ft. Projection screens in the three wall sections extended from the top of wall down. Screens were 100" diagonal, 16:9 aspect ratio, with corner space between screens acting as a buffer zone so screens didn't have to line up seamlessly. Film Installation structure resembled a tent shelter open on all four sides. The installation structure was meant to appear as though it was centered in the actual physical location where the performance took place. The first loop of film allowed viewers to see the Field of View directly facing them and the Fields of View to their right and left, as if they were in the space. Once the first loop of film finished, the orientation of the Fields of View changed to allow the viewer to see the Field of View directly behind them, which they did not see during the first loop. The screen directly facing the viewer reoriented to show the Field of View that would have been directly behind the viewer during the first loop, while the Field of View previously right of the viewer fliped to the opposite side orienting left of viewer and the Field of View previously left of the viewer fliped to the opposite side orienting right of viewer. This reorientation of the image allowed viewers to see the fourth Field of View. Each screen represented a different POV perspective from that side of structure looking out; allowing viewers to see in all four directions for a near 360 degree view (not a full seamless 360 degree view) of the surrounding area. Structure had an open entrance on the front facing wall.
(2) Three overhead projectors and RF wireless headphones.
THE PROCESS OF HOW PROJECT WAS FILMED AND EDITED IN POSTPRODUCTION
There are certain technical parameters when filming in High Speed. For example, anything filmed in excess of 360+ fps allows a small window of time to film before having to cut the camera and resume filming again (4-12 seconds in realtime - depending on speed of camera). In this project, performances were filmed at different speeds. As a result, the camera had to cut many times while filming the wide-shot for each Field of View and resume filming after each cut. The wide-shots for each Field of View were filmed in multiple fragmented segments, not one continuous take, which requires certain editing techniques in post to cut together multiple shots of the same frame with the same camera positioning. Ordinarily, every time a camera cuts and takes a new shot of the same frame, the camera angle has to change 45 degrees so that different shots can be cut together without the image jump cutting (the name for cutting multiple shots together of the same frame without changing camera angle for each shot - the result is jarring cuts that look like a glitch). In post, each performer’s body is faded in and out of the frame every time the camera cut and resumed recording again in the same Field of View; while the background remained fixed with no other visible movement in the frame other than the body of the performer. This post editing process eliminates the jump cut.
This film is unique in that the camera position and the focal length of the lens did not change during the filming of each Field of View wide-shot, unlike traditional films that cut back and forth from different camera coverage points. The film installation screened one continuous image for each specific Field of View, which was projected on the wall correlating to that POV looking out from inside tent. The camera moved 90 degrees each time before filming a new wide-shot of the next Field of View (90 degrees perpendicular to the previous Field of View). There are four Fields of View, creating a near 360 degree view of the surrounding area.
Closeup shots were also filmed separately in each Field of View, in which the camera position moved 45 degrees each time for a new closeup shot. The closeup shots were shown during different segments of the film, during which time the corresponding screen closed in from the Field of View wide-shot to a closeup shot. Once the closeup sequence finished, the corresponding screen jumped back out to the wide-shot of that Field of View.