Category Archives: Sketch Tasks

Korsakow Film Reviews

I’m going to talk about four Korsakow films that popped up in my reader last week (that actually had titles!) and do a mini review of each. The point is that in watching other students’ work and identifying what I liked and what I didn’t, I’ll be able to create a better project for the second assessment. Unfortunately, two of the members of my live assessment group didn’t show up, so this is also my own kind of way of addressing what I missed out on there, which is looking at what other students have done with their k-films.

Starting with The Nature of a City (which is a really clever title once you’ve figured out the theme). What I like about Lauren’s k-film is the different interface backgrounds, I find that they help pull her overall theme together really well and make it more obvious to the viewer what direction they’re going in.  The interface is also nice and easy to navigate, and choosing the thumbnails feels almost intuitive. I also like the text she’s used because the fragments are lyrical and that makes them flow really nicely in any order that you read them in. I don’t really like to looping of the clips, but I am yet to find a k-film in which I do like the looping, so that’s probably just a personal preference.

Next is Life by Issy. First impression is the title slide? Title page? Opening credits? I’m not sure what to call this, and I didn’t know it was possible to do, but it sets the mood and theme for her k-film straight up. Wow. This k-film has one of the most creative ways of using text that I’ve seen so far. Issy combines text below the video which links to preview text on each of the thumbnails. It creates almost a mini narrative for each video, but then the “narrative” so to speak, changes once the thumbnail is clicked. Life also has a clear ending, which is nice to experience. The interface background is also fitting as it draws the theme together and presents the videos within the context of “life”. I’d say this is one of the best k-films I’ve seen so far.

Potatoes is a k-film by Elizabeth who also uses the title/credit/opening thingy, though not to any effect. Elizabeth’s interface is similar to mine, all grey scale  however her background image is really fitting. Not only does it physically fit, but it also helps create the mood for the film. The text that goes with the videos here are lines from a Sylvia Plath poem, Potatoes, which makes the haunting theme even more apparent. I will say though, that the text needed to be visually different, as I found that it tended to get lost against the background image and so I sometimes clicked onto the next clip without remembering to read the text. Perhaps a different layout would have helped with this too as my attention went from the thumbnails to the video without going above or below too much. Now, the thumbnails! They were both really cool and very frustrating. Elizabeth used the same image for all the thumbnails (a black-and-white close-up of an eye) which essentially took a lot of my choice out of the viewing experience, as the “choosing” the next clip was almost like a lucky-dip. If that was the feeling she was going for, it worked very well, but I didn’t think it actually quite fit with this project. Also, I was confused as to why some of the clips were in black and white and some in colour, I felt that if they were all in black and white the project would have been a bit more harmonious. And again, the looping clips weren’t to my personal taste, although I can see why they almost worked in this film.

Finally, Ben created Melbourne Unknown. Holy smokes, this one is scary, scary good! Not like, super scary, but I hate horror movies, and this definitely has that spooky, paranormal theme to it. It’s also, hands down, the best k-film I have seen. Ben has taken the restraints of the task and used them in unexpected ways. A good example of this is the thumbnails. Instead of square thumbnails where a detail of the next clip can be seen, Ben has made long rectangular thumbnails that stack underneath the main clip and are so zoomed in on a point of light that it’s impossible to tell what the clip is about. I hadn’t even thought to do something like that with the thumbnails! This k-film also has a clear beginning and end, even though there are many different paths to take in between. In fact, the beginning and end clip help to set the mood, theme and idea behind the k-film quite nicely. Another thing I really liked about Melbourne Unknown is how the clips ended. Each clip only played once and most of them ended by a quick pan or turn towards a bright light source, enhancing the creepy, spooky factor in the clips and giving the overall project a feeling of something outside the clips. The only thing that Ben could improve in this k-film would be the text. The choice of text was really good, but no attention was paid to how it looked visually, perhaps a change of font, size or colour is all the text needed to be taken to the next level.

So, what I took overall from these k-films is:

  • Carefully consider the interface in terms of layout, background colour, thumbnail size and text position.
  • Pick appropriate text that will create links between the videos but also be able to stand alone.
  • Push the boundaries! With text, thumbnails, interfaces and “story progression” (for lack of a better term).
  • Loop videos only if there’s a clear purpose that the viewer will understand.
  • Use title slides/opening credits to add value to the project.

Clearly the more thought that goes into a project, the better it is, and I think it clearly shows where a project has been carefully considered right from the start. Some interesting points to consider going into the second k-film project making stages.

Mideatheire

Mideatheire is my first Korsakow project for Integrated Media 1.

I started this project by making an index card for each of my sketch tasks with the title of the task and the number of each task on it. Then I played around with different ways of sorting and connecting these tasks to each other. My first attempt at making connections sorted the films into four categories; movement, story, experiment, and short cuts. Then I linked the videos within each category and made links between the categories. I tested this as a draft Korsakow project but what I found was that I would get suck in category loops which was rather boring and there were a few videos that just kept coming up over and over (despite my limits on the links) which made the choices dull as well.

So I decided to think about it differently. I decided to think of this project like a poem. On each of my index cards, I wrote one word that described each task and linked it to a few other tasks. Then I wrote the numbers of the tasks I wanted it to link to. Some tasks linked to only three others, some linked to six or seven. My final step was to write the text that would make these links clear to the viewer of my final project. Considering the task that was to be shown, the tasks it would link to and the keyword I’d already identified, I wrote a few lines of prose on the back of each index card.

Now the project was coming together. I changed my draft project to use the new links I’d made and tested how it flowed when watched. When I was happy with that, I then put all my text links into one document so that I could see the outline of the project more clearly. That’s when I realised my subconscious self probably wants to commit suicide. Have a look at all the text as a sort of singular poem and make up your own mind…

With this slightly macabre overarching theme, I decided that I needed to make my Korsakow template reflect this bleak outlook as well, so I mixed greys and made all my thumbnails monochrome which achieved this reflection quite nicely. I debated making all the videos play in black and white as well, but not only would that take me way too much time to coordinate, I felt that the project overall needed a bit of lightness in it, and leaving the playing videos in colour made them seem more lively.  I used the template with the three thumbnails on the bottom and have placed the text in the middle because I want each element to be noticed in this order. First the video, notice what’s happening in each task, what’s the important part of it, and what speaks to the viewer? Second the text, reiterating something in the main video and providing a link to the thumbnails (and their videos) below. Third the thumbnails, notice in what ways they are the same, in what ways they are different and what links can be made between them and to the video and text above.

I’ll talk a little more about the text I have used to link the entire project together. Poetry occurred to me rather early on in the semester as a good way to link videos in a non-linear narrative because the lines of poems (especially the kind I often write) do not have to be told in a particular order for the overall message to make sense. And because I write poetry often, I knew it would be easy enough for me to come up with lines to use with this project. I didn’t expect the lines I wrote for the second draft of this project to be so perfectly able to link the first time round. But as it turns out, my subconscious is not only a fairly depressing place to be, but it’s also pretty ‘together’ so to speak, so the lines linked well right from the beginning. I did of course tweak them once I saw how they actually fitted with the videos, but it was easy to keep the theme of each line in tact.

I was wary of how I would be able to define my Korsakow project as ‘successful’ or not, what are the criteria of a successful project as compared to one that is not? For me the criteria was two main things; first, is the project something that I would enjoy and engage in as a viewer, and second, is the project something that I will be proud of telling people that I made? With Mideatheire, the answer is yes to both. My first draft of the project did not keep me engaged at all (even with the motivation of being the creator) and I was worried that I would create something that even I didn’t want to watch. However once I discovered my overarching theme, the project became inherently interesting and I wanted to test the connections and see what meaning I could make from them. I have shown versions of my second draft to my partner, a neighbour and a work colleague already and I can’t wait to share my final project with family, my social networks as well of course as my peers and teachers in Integrated Media.

The most important thing I’ve learnt in creating Mideatheire would be the importance of testing, testing, testing! In each draft I found something that wasn’t quite right, something that I could improve, change or delete entirely. Then once I’d made the change, it was important to test it again to see if it worked. The first time I thought I had fully finished my project I tested the export and found a missing thumbnail! That was a time costly mistake made only because I hadn’t properly tested my final draft export before considering it done. Testing also allowed me to constantly see the connections between my videos and discover the many, many ways they could link up, giving me a broader understanding of how other might view my work.

Riding Home

Again, I tried to keep this one in the same style as the other two so they could be viewed as a series. What I really like about this video is the darkness, I think it highlights only the most important visual elements needed to make the context and make the message understandable.

This video has less clips and each one goes for longer compared to the first two. this is partly because I didn’t want to hand around outside work for too long filming bits and pieces in the darkness (safety first!) and partly because I didn’t want it to feel as rushed. I can rush to work, and I can rush through my break to get everything done, but I rarely rush home. I take my time even though I love being home and coming home, there’s never such a sense of urgency to get here as there is when I’m travelling to work.

Tea Room

My aim with this video was to make it in the same style as the “travelling towards” video, so that it would look like part of a series. To do this, I used lots of short cuts of close-up clips. I had to be careful of what I filmed at work, as my workplace kind of frowns on employees talking about work online. But I figure this is okay. This is a peek into how I spend my breaks at work in the staff room.

I wish I could have filmed more bits of my day at work, I think it’d make for an interesting series. But I highly doubt I’ll get permission for that any time soon, and fair enough too.

My lunch is a nut loaf by the way, it’s just a bit crumbly because it’s leftovers!

Travelling To Work

I had all these creative, artsy, left-of-centre ideas for the travelling to, place, and travelling from videos. But then I got called in to work over the weekend (my usual shooting day is Friday, and I worked all day Friday, Saturday and Sunday!) and I didn’t have the time to make any of my awesome ideas into sketch videos.

This then, is a short clip of me travelling to work. Sort of. It’s also a short clip of me getting ready for work, because that’s part of my travelling. I wanted to experiment with lots and lots of really short clips to show all the different aspects of how I get ready and go.

Editing on my phone was difficult as some of the clips I couldn’t get as short as I wanted, and so I had to cut entire clips just to keep within the time limit. My first draft of this video was about 16 seconds, and although I hated the time restriction when I realised I’d have to cut more, I found that the 10 second version still tells the same story.

I feel like I should have ended it with a blackout and the noise of car tyres screeching and metal on metal crunching as I nearly got hit by a car riding to work on this day. But that would have required more than 10 seconds!

Capsicum

I like red capsicum, and I hate green capsicum. A stop motion made using photos instead of the Vine app. Took much longer to make on my phone than it should have. But I did it in the end.

The Night

Blue words, blue meaning, blue images. And I love them all.