Video Installation: SPA CES
Shoot Process / Behind The Scenes
Like every shoot, there were many problems faced from the beginning, the first of which being an issue with the location. We could not get the house that we wanted at the last minute, and had to relocate the entire shoot literally the night before the shoot. Thankfully, Duane’s house was available and we settled there. However, this brought about another issue. The look of the new house no longer matched what we had in mind. I had planned a shot list and mood board for the layout of a house we would no longer get.
As you can tell, the film was shot b&w in camera. That was a decision made after a long and tiring process of trying to work around the very richly saturated colours of the house that we had, which was not the mood we were going for. In the end, I decided to just shoot b&w in camera, and Duane came through with the harsh film noir lighting that was perfect for the new look.
The editing process for this three – screen installation was inevitably a tedious one. As seen in the photo above, the first cut was done off three monitors. It was the day right after we wrapped for our first shoot, and Duane was nice enough to let me stay over another day at his house to rush the edit. It was a weird experience editing off three screens at first. After multiple tries, I begin to get the hang of it and everything slowly fell into place.
The complicated part came when I tried doing the sound design. With three separate tracks, I honestly did not know where to begin! In the end, I exported each screen individually and combined them in one complete sequence. Working off a single sequence for sound design was pretty crucial and it worked.
An interesting issue to get around while doing the sound design was: which screen do I give the attention to? As there were literally three scenes going on at the same time, it would be very overwhelming to “give life” to every single screen through sound. I learnt that the hard way, and it’s safe to say my first few cuts for sound were horrendous (no T no shade hahaha). Thankfully, after many very painful but much needed constructive criticism from friends, I hope I managed to tone down the sound to something workable.
In my sound design, I took inspiration from Eija – Liisa Ahtila’s The Wind. However, as the context of these two films are different, I wanted the sound design to be more muted and minimal instead of the loud howling wind that was used in her work.
We stayed up the night before the presentation to set up the room. We blocked out the windows to prevent light leaking in, and set up the projectors and speakers for a test run.
It was very important that we did that, because the projectors were not calibrated properly and the images were showing up too dark. I had to colour correct the clips on the spot and adjust the clips specifically for projection. It took a lot of work to get the three separate projectors to play with the same look.
I had to adjust the sound on the spot as well, as the room’s speakers had very good bass, which my computer / headphones did not. I ran the sound a on the room’s speakers multiple times before I got it right.
When everything was set, we stuck up the film posters around the room for added interest, while still keeping the space minimal to let the film speak for itself.
Here are the posters:
As with every shoot, this shoot was one filled with many hiccups along the way which were thankfully all solved with together with my great team. Many of the issues we faced were blessings in disguise as it resulted in a better product than we would have had before. The process was even more tedious than that of a normal single screen film and it was a good experience trying to shoot, edit and do sound for a three screen installation.
Overall, this was my favourite project so far and I loved the entire process of making this film with my team. All of us worked really well together and overcame all the obstacles while still producing something that we can all proudly put our names on. I hope to continue making films that I am proud of for the next three years of my ADM life.