Friday 6 November 2015

Saturday 31 October 2015

Maximum impact minimum means

I cam across this quote in the book I was reading about Music in Japan, in reference to the 'aesthetic principle of the Japanese no Theatre'. I love it.

Partly because it feels very Japanese. I like the idea of saying as much as possible, with as little as possible. In colour, shape, tone, story, character etc.

I have been exploring this idea in my teaching work. That if in a painting you were to use a limited colour palette, there are ways of applying this principle to animation too. In terms of colours, shape, textures. Character and style of character, or styles of drawing.

And also in the animation palette, in how that exists. A limited number of movements and movement styles that are used repeatedly to build the work and tell the story. The reference clip that I refer to with this is the Thomas Beale Cipher, by Andrew S Allen. There are parts of the story that seem to be created using one expression, or set of keyframes, where the motion moves and loops, without very much happening with the characters. It is a great way of building motion along the timeline. And stylistically it serves to link all the scenes together and create a strong style of motion for the work.

The Thomas Beale Cipher from Andrew S Allen on Vimeo.

Brecht uses this approach too. Particularly in the set design. I have been reading, or have just started reading Mother Courage and Her Children. In part as a way of exploring character. And because of the anti-war themes in the play. I am going to write and post more about this as I read through it.

In his notes on the set design he talks about a few trees representing a forest, pulling back on objects and, or to, include more of the imagination and a response from the audience I suppose.

The quote applies to the trailer posted below too. About the colours. The impact, the use of audio. The storytelling. This is one of the strongest pieces of work I have seen in a long time. The power of it is in the visual language and storytelling. What is absent as well as present. And the simplicity of it.

Notes on a project structure 1

Japanese no theatre.

I have been trying to write this up for a long time. These ideas are based on a book I took out of the library on the day I submitted my PhD proposal. I was waiting around for something dramatic to happen as a result, but it didn't. So I went to the library to find something to take home with me. I liked the idea of facing east, but mainly chose this book because I liked the look and feel of it, and the front cover.

My intention had been to read a section about looking inwards and facing outwards, but ended up reading a different chapter, about the structure of the Japanese No drama.

The tradition is that these plays are created in sections. A series of shorter plays, each based on a different character, for example the warrior, god, madwoman etc. In between each character play there is a short lighter play, that I imagine to be something like an interval, or more specifically, an interstitial.

These stings are used on TV as a way to remind viewers what channel, or TV show they are watching. A branding device to bring the audience back to the product, back to the product, back to the product...

I had been thinking about the use of wipes in this way, since working on the year 2 info graphics projects, and some BBC Sport branding work in 2013. What is a wipe, why they are used etc.

Typically the wipes used on TV in general, and on BBC Sport in particular are very short. In football and rugby they are usually between 12 and 25 frames long. The purpose of the generic BBC Sport wipe seemed partly to be about navigating the viewer backwards and forwards in time. Called 'replay wipes', they indicate when and where the replays and the live action are in the live coverage.

BBC Sport Replay wipe

I like the idea of using a wipe or branding device in this way in the film. To go backwards and forwards in time from Ukraine in the 1930's to the present day. And as a way to link the individual pieces together.

The Japanese no theatre plays typically have five sections, five characters. This seems like a good number and has stuck. I like the idea of a prelude too, see notes on Beckett for details.

Tuesday 27 October 2015

maximum effect from a minimum of means

I came across this quote in the book I was reading about Music in Japan, in reference to the 'aesthetic principle of the Japanese no Theatre'. I love it.

Notes on a project structure 3

Powerplant at the RNCM

Set breakdown

Last week I went to see a show by Powerplant at the RNCM, an experimental percussion, audio visual mix including work by Steve Reich, Old Mexican music and an absolutely incredible aluminium harp.

The first half included, from memory, six shorter pieces, that varied in intensity. With the Steve Reich piece being the most intense and difficult to listen to. The set came back down again before the interval before with something more human, gentle, accessible.

After the interval were two longer pieces. First the harp, which was beautiful, soaring, light. And then a percussion, sort of glockenspiel piece. I will find out the correct name for this instrument. There were some interesting parts where it was being played with a violin, or viola bow. This piece was more level, compelling, and not quite so uplifting or soaring as the harp.

I  liked the structure of the performance and it reminded me of some of the ideas I have and use for planning my production workshops. Where and how to include breaks and intervals, where to have the fast bits, the most intense and dynamic sections. Where to include breaks and pauses, creative rest and so on.

I like the idea of developing this into, and including a structure for the film. Using periods of intensity that cause something almost like discomfort, followed by beauty, gentleness, lightness, where to relax, and allow the audience to relax. Where to add weight and gravity and drama. A pitch or intensity for the work and where this might happen within the project overall, as well as in the final film or films. Where and how the resolution might form, and where there is space for the unresolved. And how to include experimentation, play and something that is perhaps more creatively challenging in the piece.

Diagram below.