364MC // Professional Practice Portfolio // Research & Development #1 – Sound Assistant

During the months of January to March I was fortunate enough to get some work experience on a real film set for Birmingham Filmmakers as Sound Assistant. My main role was to operate the Boom Pole and Zoom Mic.

It was a very insightful experience, I’ve never really been sound op before as I tended to stick to camera work throughout university projects but the more I was in control of sound the more I fell in love with that role. It has opened my mind to the possibility of not just limiting myself to camera work or becoming a DoP.

A Sound Engineer makes a salary of £16,000 to £35,000 per year and works variable hours per week. There are no initial requirements to becoming a sound engineer, but some knowledge and passion for sound is essential.

The types of courses that help with experience would be music technology, sound engineering and media production. I have learnt a lot about sound throughout my three years at Coventry University and even more from being on the set of ‘Sustain’ as Sound Assistant.

The skills required for this type of career are as follows:

  • excellent hearing
  • excellent practical skills
  • a high level of attention to detail
  • the ability to cope with long hours and tight deadlines

After working on ‘Sustain’ I feel as if these skills have enhanced for myself, I have very close attention to detail when it comes to sound and working 12 hour days has given me the ability to cope with working through being tired and deadlines.

Through more research there are many avenues a person interested in a sound career could take:

  • production sound – recording sound on set or location
  • post-production – putting the final soundtrack together in an editing studio

On a production sound team, your day-to-day duties may include:

  • setting up equipment to suit the acoustics and the sound designer’s instructions
  • selecting and placing fixed microphones
  • operating the boom (a microphone on a pole, used to get close to the sound source)
  • checking sound quality
  • recording sound onto digital devices
  • servicing and repairing equipment
  • playing music or sound effects into a live programme

On a post-production team, your duties may include:

  • following a sound designer or sound supervisor’s instructions
  • mixing and balancing speech, effects and background music
  • editing speech to fit the action on screen
  • creating extra sound effects and adding them into the soundtrack

The progression with this chosen career could start from freelance work to working for a large company or a station locally or nationally. The first steps into this role would be taking a trainee position/shadowing someone already in the industry through Creative Skillset I found a ‘Trainee Finder’ program that helps allocate people looking for experience in certain roles in the media industry by helping them with course in all locations and roles. This is something that I’m signing up to and hoping to gain after university a long side any job roles I land.

I looked into Sound Engineer roles as I felt this was crucial to understanding sound itself and how to excel in this career. Mark Linett started his sound career whilst at college by starting his own PA Company. While running the company, he began working with artists such as Seals & Crofts, Sha Na Na, and Livingston Taylor. He later than worked for Warner Bro’s Studio, although he specialises in music sound engineering and has produced many well known tracks. He was also nominated for best engineered album which he recorded and mixed for Brian Wilson who won his first solo Grammy in 2005 for “Best Rock Instrumental Performance” for “Mrs. O’Leary’s Cow” from his best-selling SMiLE album.

Whilst looking for job roles in Sound there is an abundance of opportunities, most of them located in London which is perfect for me as this is where I aim to end up. A lot of the jobs are positions for candidates with transferable skills such as this role at London Live https://www.indeed.co.uk/viewjob?jk=896888109b0d70ae&q=Sound+Operator&tk=1bci88mf491dhalb&from=web the role includes sound, camera and lighting experience.

References

“Looking For Film Trainees? – Trainee Finder”. Hiive. N.p., 2017. Web. 31 Mar. 2017.

“Sound Assistant”. Creativeskillset.org. N.p., 2017. Web. 31 Mar. 2017.

“Studioexpresso – Producer Mark Linett”. Studioexpresso.com. N.p., 2017. Web. 31 Mar. 2017.

“TV Or Film Sound Technician”. Nationalcareersservice.direct.gov.uk. N.p., 2017. Web. 31 Mar. 2017.

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FMP Proposal CW2 // For Submission

Below is my final major project (FMP) proposal for ‘Femme’ An Interactive Website Documentary. Looking into the real stories, experiences and struggles of real women dealing with the constant need to meet societies beauty standards in social media today.

I’m happy with what I managed to fit together, unfortunately there is limited footage of my own as I haven’t been able to film any of the participants as of yet as they’re still to be 100% confirmed. However, I believe the message in this proposal is clear and expresses my passion and enthusiasm for the body positive movement in social media.

Michaela Knight // FMP Proposal // ‘Femme’ an Interactive Website Documentary from Michaela Knight on Vimeo.

I’ve also included the transcript for my proposal below:

Hi, my name is Michaela Knight and this short video is my proposal for my online project “Femme”. In 2016 I experienced a lot of feedback on one of my photos on my personal Instagram account. The photo itself was a topless image, with only my back on show. Some people may see this as provocative, as sensual – my purpose for this photo was I simply liked the way I looked. Once posted I received messages from students and strangers about the photo saying I had “changed” or this wasn’t “like me” – I found this odd because in fact, this was me it couldn’t be more me. After all it was my body.

This brought my attention to the year 2015 when the body positive, “Free the Nipple” and female body empowerment movements really blew up on social media. Social media is more than ever the culprit to criticising female body image, nurturing it or destroying it there is a sense of power within social media that controls how we see others and ourselves. I myself have been a feminist for many years and have followed these movements but never acted on it. A model named Charlie Howard popped up on my newsfeed one day starring in a short video by a company called StyleLikeU and their project “What’s Underneath” and I immediately fell in love with what she was pushing for – her own project “The All Woman Project” and telling her story of criticism and body shaming in the modelling industry – what captured this and made it all the more powerful was the fact she spoke starting fully dressed and ending her interview in her underwear. To me this is power, not vulnerability.

From here on out a spiral of instragram account stalking and following later it hit me – I want to create something that I am passionate about, that will get peoples attention, provoke thought and inspire women of all ages, shapes and skin tones.

My proposal is to create an interactive website that tells the stories of a variety of women, including myself, their struggles with self-acceptance and how they have overcome these. To show that being vulnerable is not being in your underwear, is not showing your body and is not letting yourself be you. The website was stylistically inspired by a another website called “blacknegative.com” a beautifully designed website that flows with ease and elegance – obviously mine would have images of the female form, I’d like to express this in an almost “grudge”, rebellion aesthetic somewhat similar to how the Sex Pistols promoted their image – anarchy in fuelled or like the style of the Guerrilla Girls a feminist activist group.

I’ve contacted many of these movements via email and have had a response from one a company called RAW Beauty Talks. I’m hoping to get as many supporters or volunteers from these movements as possible – even if I receive one, or none I will ask friends, family, strangers to volunteer to be apart of the 10, 3-5 minute clips that will showcase on my website. These will be filmed in a documentary style, having the volunteers dressed comfortably whether that is fully clothed or in their underwear, being themselves – it will be an intimate shoot with close ups to really showcase the emotions of each person.

My aim is to bring recognition to an already rising movement of female empowerment through an interactive, engaging, touching and raw website. The girls of today are the women of tomorrow and if we don’t continue to encourage and empower them, make them see their beauty that is not defined by social media – then there will be no tomorrow.

Thank you for listening.

#360MC // Creative Artefact #3 // Imagination

 

For my third and final Creative Artefact ‘Imagination’ I want to look at Surrealism and the fantastical, other-worldly elements.

Surrealism in cinema created a revolution by dispensing linear narratives and plots. Allow us to be more creative and push the boundaries on reality and what is really there and what is imaginary. “Surrealist films do not merely retell dreams or stories but replicate their very processes through illogical, irrational disruptions and disturbing imagery, uncensored by normal wakeful consciousness or morality.” Many filmmakers convey dreams through surrealism in cinema which is what I’m creating for my final creative artefact

The Seashell and The Clergyman (1928)
Artist: Germaine Dulac
Directed by Germaine Dulac from a screenplay by Antonin Artaud, The Seashell and the Clergyman is considered by most critics to be the first true Surrealist film.

Visually I looked at Dulac’s film for inspiration on dark imagery and the unsettling nature of the film – however adding my own twist with a ‘Slit-Scan’ element to bring in the other-worldly element.  The Slit-Scan technique is mostly know for being first seen in Stanley Kubrick’s ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’ when the star gate appears.

Back in 1800’s the pioneers of photography we’re always experimenting with new techniques; one of them being the ‘slit-scan’ technique. ‘Slit-Scan’ is the process of putting a sliding slit between the subject and the photographic plane, exposing the slit as it travelled from one side of the frame to the other.

The Slit-Scan technique became popular when flexible film was released and was mainly used for horse racing (see image below by Chuck Miller)

Saratoga Race Course 1st Race 7/21/13

In the 1940’s gambling on the races was the height of fashion “Contrary to what movies or cartoons depict, these photo finishes weren’t just some guy with a flash bulb at the finish line and a hair trigger. Instead they used a variation of the slitscan called Strip photography.” 

(Stanley Kubrick’s 2001:  A Space Odyssey Star Gate Sequence)

Creative Artefact #3 // The Slit-Scan Experiment from Michaela Knight on Vimeo.

Above is a slit scan I did following the tutorials of Filmmaker IQ. Using the following gradient maps I created on Photoshop I was able to create ‘other worldly’ images expanding my idea of normality and infusing the sense of surrealism. Unfortunately the quality isn’t the greatest as my camera could only shoot up to 30fps and the ideal frames is 60fps but I was still surprised with the outcome. Although the footage is short the editing process was not, spending 4 hours on Adobe After Effects was enough to rip my hair out as I’ve never used it before and it is not the easiest of softwares to figure out. However, I am proud of the outcome and it’s definitely something I’d like to incorporate into future productions.

(Above: Gradient maps used and created with Photoshop)

References

“Slit Scan: Recreating The Star Gate From Stanley Kubrick’S “2001″ Using Legos | Filmmakeriq.Com”. Filmmakeriq.com. N.p., 2016. Web. 13 Nov. 2016.

“Surrealist Film Movement, Artists And Major Works”. The Art Story. N.p., 2016. Web. 13 Nov. 2016.

#260MC // Creative Artefact #2 Research // Fear

Fear can be defined in many ways – most people get fear mixed up with phobias, understandably, as there has to be a certain about of fear involved to create a phobia. The definition of phobia is:

phobia
ˈfəʊbɪə/
noun
  1. an extreme or irrational fear of or aversion to something.
    “she suffered from a phobia about birds”
    synonyms: abnormal fear, irrational fear, obsessive fear, fear, dread, horror, terror, dislike, hatred,loathing, detestation, distaste, aversion, antipathy, revulsion, repulsion; More

    For example, I have a phobia of small places, claustrophobia and I also have a very real fear of the dark. I think fear manifests itself from experiences we have had and from stories told to us that we don’t want to happen to us personally.

    Fear is a survival mechanism – you’re probably aware of the saying fight or flight mode. During the 19th-century debate surrounding evolution, the “face of fear” — that wide-eyed, gaping grimace that often accompanies sheer terror — became a talking point. Charles Darwin then went on to say the instinct of our facial muscles was an evolved reaction to ‘fear’ over the years. As humans when something is scaring us, when fear looks us right in the face, we become powerless to our expression, powerless to the imagination of fear itself.

    Anticipation is another sometimes unfortunate feeling that comes hand in hand with fear, as humans we like to anticipate the worst of a situation, terrible things that might happen which could lead to adrenaline and being excited to be scared, to be a thrill seeker.

    Being fearful and having a fear isn’t always bad, as mentioned above and personally I love horror films – it’s my favourite genre of movie and I love being scared, but in a sense it’s not a real scare it’s a safety bubble scare, a scare that I’m in my room with friends in bed wrapped up in a duvet scare, jump scares if you will. There’s a sense of security amongst the initial scare, what plays on most people and myself included is the aftermath, the mental state we are left in after experiencing something fearful, something terrifying. However, a study back in 2010 by Thomas Straube at the Friedrich Schiller University of Jena “show that scary movies don’t actually activate fear responses in the amygdala at all. Instead, it was other parts of the brain that were firing – the visual cortex – the part of the brain responsible for processing visual information, the insular cortex- self awareness, the thalamus -the relay switch between brain hemispheres, and the dorsal-medial prefrontal cortex – the part of the brain associated with planning, attention, and problem solving.” It’s as if we see fear as a problem that needs to be solved, to not be scared anymore.

    When thinking about my own fears I have always had a fear of the unknown, uncertainty not knowing who or what lies around the corner at night in a dark alley or not know where I’ll be in a year or whether I will succeed or not. This fear is a constant reminder to push myself to face the unknown and to push myself to work harder do not let the fear become a reality.

    For my second creative artefact I wanted to concentrate on Xenophobia. Xenophobia is the irrational sensation of fear experienced about a person or a group of persons as well as situations that are perceived as strange or foreign. It is the fear of anything that is beyond one’s comfort zone. (not to be confused with the dislike of or prejudice against people from other countries.) as it’s a personal one of mine  the fear of not knowing what is around the corner of a dark alley, or not know peoples intentions, or the fear of not knowing where to go, be lost and the fear of the dark all emulate into my fear of ‘unknown’. For example, I may be able to see that there is a lake in front of me but if I can’t see the bottom of it it brings forth a wave of huge uncertainty and anxiety that physically frightens me. As mentioned before, my xenophobia is not one against foreigners or different ethnicity’s and I feel this is crucial to clarify with the headlines at the moment of mass immigration and globalisation. However, my fear can also be pinned on the fact I don’t feel comfortable with strangers or people I deem as strangers, but anyone could say that. Using the medium of photography I’ve selected 6image1image2image3image4image5image6 photos to depict Xenophobia (Unknown) in the various forms it comes in.

     

     

    References

    “How Fear Works”. HowStuffWorks. N.p., 2016. Web. 9 Nov. 2016.

    Phobias, Top et al. “Fear Of The Unknown Phobia – Xenophobia”. FearOf.net. N.p., 2016. Web. 9 Nov. 2016.

    “The Psychology Of Scary Movies | Filmmakeriq.Com”. Filmmakeriq.com. N.p., 2016. Web. 9 Nov. 2016.

#305MC // Conference // Spectacle 2

Situationist International

1957-72 a revolution of everyday life. Both and art movement and a political one. Dadaism, Surrealism and Lettrism

  • avant-garde
  • anti bourgeois
  • radical
  • anarchistic

The Society of the Spectacle draws on Marxist theories of alienation, commodity fetichism and false consciousness.

commodity fetishism – each and every new product is supposed to offer a dramatic shortcut to the long awaited promised land of total consumption. As such it is ceremoniously presented as the unique and ultimate product.

detournement – rerouting, hijacking using existing images, artworks etc and subverting them for revolutionary purposes.

recuperation – the mirror image of detournement.

Example of recuperation – apple 1984 commercial

 

 

#305MC // Conference // Power 2.0

Estates of the Realm

  1. Clergy
  2. Nobility
  3. Commoners
  4. Independant free press and media
  5. Networked 4th estate

Habermas and the Public Sphere

Warrior Pride – iPhone

Foucault – Capillary Power – power that reaches into individuals so deeply it makes them who they are.

Four Horsemen of the Infocalypse

Data Retention and Investigatory Powers

Adam Curtis “power and how it works in society”

Films: The Power of Nightmares and Bitter Lake

Hyperdramatisation: How Adam Curtis was consumed by a fictional reality

Manufacturing Consent: Noam Chomsky = media power/media convergence, concentration of media power

Anarcho- syndicalism and Libertarian socialism – opposing the war on terror and supporting the occupy movement

Centralised Power eg Google

Information is power. But like all power, there are those who want to keep it for themselves – aaron swartz

Film: The Internets Own Boy

Bruno Latour – controversy mapping – Black box theory

 

 

360MC // Research & Development // Lecture // Filmmaker as a Critical Thinker

What is a research-based practice?

  • importance of contextual research
  • recognition of your own place as a media producers in a quickly changing media landscape
  • understanding of the processual nature of an art work (meaning changes over time: found footage film)

Technology has agency – acting out events in front of the camera, for the camera = creating those events.

What is Medium Specificity?

Each medium should explore and experiment with the qualities exclusive to that medium. Each medium should maintain its purity and not borrow from other media – powerful and influential concept.

André Bazin on the ontology of film – earliest function of film was to document. (Nanook of the North)

André Bazin: photography freed painting from the need to represent (move away from realism towards…) – created abstract paintings

Film and a post-medium condition, film is now free from any responsibility to depict anything:

It’s costs and exclusivity allow makers to explore its expressive, pure qualities

Digital too over the function of mere recording (accessibility)

Super 8 footage creates a sense of memory, a collective memory.