From Williamsburg I jumped back on the L to get to Manhattan. At this time it was getting close to the time I needed to get to my bus, so I was working the numbers in my head to see if I could pull footage for not one, but two more composite videos. Union Square was an easy target, and right to the north was the Flatiron Building, so it was possible… I sat down and decided to play it by ear. Speaking of which, a lot of times the sound blends into an urban susurration, with occasional things like sirens popping up from time to time. This time you can kinda hear the music from a urban jazz band playing behind the subway stop. (This particular band got into something of an altercation with the breakdancers they were playing for, which is kinda unusual, but interesting.) However, you definitely can hear the whistle rhythm of a lone gentleman in a OCCUPY NYC T-shirt, who was periodically attempting to incite the crowd. Alas, it didn’t work; it would have been awesome to have a street protest on an icosacomposite.
Continuing on from the Brooklyn Bridge, I paradoxically took the A back into Manhattan in order to catch the L to get to northern Brooklyn. I set up shop at 7th and Bedford, a little way from the intersection so I could get a better view of the crosswise traffic. Lots of people of various kinds, lots of bikes, lots of kids, some skateboards, some scooters, some cars (even a Tesla at one point), and plenty of buses.
Well, the results are in, and all three film shorts I submitted made it into the 2012 Glovebox Film Festival. Glovebox is a couple of folks crusading to get interesting art out in front of the public, and I first showed with them when I arrived in Beantown in 2008. Another short of mine was in the 2011 Film Festival, which was a pretty awesome selection of cinematic arts shown at the Somerville Theatre. So, many thanks to Glovebox, and everyone needs to get out and see the selections on August 4th. Remembering last year’s slate, there should be something interesting for anyone’s taste.
These are the three shorts I will have in this year’s Film Festival:
Harvard Station Icosacomposite
McGlynn Northwind 100 at Sunset
Due to a new project I started last week, I realized I needed to do some tweaking on the transparencies of the 20-layer composite videos of the MBTA stations I did a while back. So I’ve re-rendered the videos and reposted them to Vimeo. Basically this just a quick notification.
Here are the “traditional” icosacomposites I shot on Friday. More of the process of shooting these can be found here.
While preparing the Downtown Crossing icosacomposite I discovered that the camera was focusing on the people close to me rather than the subway trains, so this one has a more dreamy feel to it.
Here are the raw versions of the Park Street Icosacomposite Intervals. These are simple composited in time, with no adjustment for camera drift or alignment.
Yesterday I went down to the Boston Public Library to talk with the print curator about my installation for the Rethink Ink exhibition for Mixit Studio’s 25th anniversary. While I was downtown I decided it was a good idea to continue doing icosacomposites on the MBTA Red Line. I got a good location and was rather pleased with a couple other placed to shoot when both a subway train driver and two MBTA officials told me I couldn’t lay my camera down on my backpack as if it was a tripod. I could hold my camera in my hand and that would be acceptable within the letter of the law.
I was a bit surprised by this, because the station manager at Alewife hadn’t said any such thing during our conversation, but I’m not there to be an asshole to T people. Fortunately, I had shot 40 minutes of footage already, which is good enough for a 120-second standard icosacomposite. I haven’t generated that one yet, but it will be up shortly.
So I decamped and went down to Downtown Crossing and made sure it wasn’t terribly obvious I was shooting video. Of course, another problem cropped up—the 64GB flash card I was using to record on was just barely fast enough to keep up with the HD footage I was shooting, and would periodically panic and shut down the recoding process. So—note to self—use the faster 32GB card or buy a better 64GB card. I managed to piece together 40 minutes of Downtown Crossing footage, but I was kinda miffed about my snakebit day of recording.
So I went back to Park Street and decided to shoot some handheld footage. I like to prop the camera as it’s recording because I want near-perfect overlap, and I’m also shooting 50 minutes of footage. For handheld shooting, I’d be wobbling around a bit no matter how still I tried to stand, and I wouldn’t be able to hold the same pose for more than ten minutes. But those kind of limitations usually mean something interesting will come from the attempt. And so, two thirty-second hand-held icosacomposites were born:
I’m calling these “Intervals”, and these are “adjusted” versions, in that I tried to remove as much camera drift in AfterEffects as I could. I will be generating and posting “raw” versions, with no drift adjustments, to see how the two versions feel.
So… look for those raw Intervals and standard icosacomposites for Downtown Crossing and Park Street next!
Continuing south, we emerge into the light of day on the platform of the Charles-MGH subway station. I tried to get as much of the platform activity as possible while including a decent amount of the tracks on the Longfellow Bridge.
As luck would have it, I was able to get to Kendall-MIT yesterday morning and shoot a full 50 minutes of footage. Here’s the new composite:
Funny thing—when you layer time-based media, there’s always a small but non-zero chance that periodic events will synch up in the composition. This is the case here: in some of the layers, the automated station calls for the trains managed to line up pretty closely, resulting in passages that are much clearer than normal, but overlaid with flange and echo effects as the synchronization is not perfect.
This morning I got up early so I could catch rush hour at the next station south on the Red Line. It was cold and windy so I drove to Davis Sq to catch the subway, only to find that you can’t feed the meters until 8, which means I would probably come back to a ticket on my car. With that start to the excursion, I made my way to Kendall-MIT, started recording a shot of the entry kiosks, but then decided the composition sucked. So I went in to the station, and set up on the floor.
I got a decent composition, but evidently rush hour doesn’t begin at Kendall-MIT at 7:15 in the morning. It was dead. There were trains coming through, some of them full to bursting, but hardly anyone got off, and very few people arrived to catch the subway. I started thinking that this composite video was going to suck, and I didn’t really want a parking ticket, so I packed up after shooting two 10-minute segments and went back to Davis.
Two 10-minute segments means I only get one full minute of composited video, which is what I rendered today. By the time I got home I was wondering whether the station with not many people in it would give me a different video than the more populated ones of other stations. Well, such is the case. The focus is much more on the subway cars, which is rather interesting. So it looks like I’ll need to wake up early on Monday (tomorrow morning is already booked) and re-shoot a full 50 minutes of footage (resulting in a full 2:30 minutes of video) at Kendall-MIT.
Here’s the short video from this morning: