This week, I present the first of what I hope will develop into a regular series of short video podcasts. Last year, I experimented with ten audio podcasts, most of which adapted posts previously published on this blog. As much as I enjoyed making those shows, I missed being able to show images and clips, so this is an opportunity to refer very directly to particular scenes from films; sometimes I’ll analyse a single clip, and other times the subject will be more of a video essay like this first entry, which revisits a post about Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey. You can read the original entry here, but I really wanted to start with something familiar to get used to the editing software. I’m using iMovie for now, but might progress to something more complex if needed. This equipment serves my purposes for now.
I plan to follow this with two more short videos about 2001, and then a broader variety of films. If time allows, new video podcasts will appear every fortnight. Feedback on episode #001 would be greatly appreciated:
Spectacular Attractions Video Podcast #001: 2001: A Space Odyssey – This Way Up from Dan North on Vimeo.
In an attempt to eradicate every last atom of spare time I might have available, I’ve started playing around with iMovie, which lets me edit little videos, some of which I intend to start posting here. Last year, I tried out podcasting, and I may go back to that someday, but for now I plan to experiment with converting some of my blog posts to video, with clips and voiceover etc. It’ll be a good exercise for me, and hopefully a fun way to get to grips with the software (I know I’m late to the table on this…) and the basics of video editing. I promise to keep them brief, starting with this little excerpt from David Ehrlich’s 1989 short film Animated Self-Portraits, for which he asked 27 animators to describe themselves and their work in a brief animated sequence. These precious few seconds are the contribution of one of my all-time favourite filmmakers, Jan Svankmajer (read more of my Svankmajer posts here), who seems to take the project remit quite literally by animated a series of photographic portraits of himself. His face suddenly erupts with a wriggling mass of modelling clay, until his eyes and tongue poke through. The self-portrait is therefore partial, stuck somewhere between direct representation (the photograph) and fantastic, malleable distortion (the clay); Svankmajer is expressed through, and obscured by, the materials with which he works. There are lots of tongues sticking out in Svankmajer films. It’s an uncouth, sly motif that he uses to mark his filmic turf, but it also echoes his interests in depictions of food, eating, and the raw meatiness of human bodies and their functions. The tongue is both interior and exterior, the tool of both taste and disgust, the sensuous and the grotesque, so it makes sense for him to use it as a pop-up mascot in so much of his work.