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Thread: Art V Technique

  1. #1
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    Default Art V Technique

    I'd just like to throw a question out to collect some opinions from people.

    Can an artistic film be a success despite a lack of technique?

    I'm a song writing musician, I have entered the world of film because I want to create videos to compliment my music. Primarily because a good video can help a song be appreciated. My definition of a music video could be 'something to distract the listener whilst they hear your music'. I can tell you that trying to get people to listen to original music in isolation is becoming an increasingly impossible task these days.

    Secondly, film is another oulet for the creative process, so I welcome it with open arms and I enjoy it. To me, it's simply an extension of the music and a great chance to turn words, music and feeling into pictures to complete the message of a song.

    However I have no chance of ever holding a candle to some of the pro skills I read about on this forum. I can't afford to let that worry me, or else I would never do anything, but neither do I have any intention of becoming that involved.

    Maybe the joy of a music video is that a lot of the 'rules' can be thrown out of the window. The music part of it seems to allow a certain anarchy when it comes to the film process.

    I see a lot of parallels between music and film. I know incredible musicians that can entertain you all night, but never perform or record an original song of their own. I see film makers that can do amazing things, yet they have no storylines or the imagination to create projects of their own.

    I'm competent in neither of the above, but I can create my own music, and I am writing storylines for films to compliment them.

    The question would be - is the art enough to overcome the lack of technique? If a film is portraying the feel and emotion of its' music, does it matter that the lighting is a bit wrong, or there's an odd continuation error, or someones collar isn't straight (yep done that). For example, is it forever more important to have incorrect lighting to set the scene, rather than to have no lighting for fear it will be done incorrectly?

    I guess what I am saying is, in a music video, can I get away with it all?

  2. #2

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    This is a very good point and one which should be noted by all film makers. I think it's been said many times that "content is king" when it comes to making a video. This is so true, I once heard the Director of Moulin Rouge say he would never let a good shot get in the way of the story, which underlines the point.

    I have often said that art is a mixture technique and communication which is really what your question is posing. I would like to see a scene well lit, framed etc. but not to the expense of getting your communication across. It has to be a balance of the two. For example if a scene has bad sound or is too dark this could prevent or distract from the point you are trying to get across. Sometimes you want to have a blurry image as this enhances the idea behind the scene.

    So, in my opinion, the answer is yes, to the question "Can an artistic film be a success despite a lack of technique?". BUT work on applying the best technical performance out of the camera and tools you have.


  3. #3

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    Perhaps I have some things in common with Stripe. I started lurking in these Forums when I decided it was not good enough (for me) to simply overlay an homegrown song over some video clips.
    Whilst it may appear the 'rules' can be discarded, this assumes the video clips are not having a *negative* effect on the listener's appreciation of the audio. The composer might consider the video as 'something to distract the listener...', but an audience may think the video is awful; and be relieved the audio is there to distract them.

  4. #4
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    Thanks guys, I like your answers because they are what I wanted to hear lol.

    If the video amplifies the songs message and is intriguing enough to keep the viewer watching and listening all the way through, then the mission is acheived and technique can take a running jump (in this case). Of course I will still make efforts to do the right thing, but it's a fairer challenge for me if I don't have to think too deep about it all. It's already a tonne of work to songwrite, play, produce and engineer, now I have video story, lighting, costume, logistics, props etc to add. For 5 minutes of eventual output - that's an awful lot of energy! You'd have to love what you do or this would never happen - therefore I'm very pleased that I want to make it happen.

    Tim, I think there's a third angle to our points - there are certain songs that sell because of the video itself. A lot of 'new pop' videos have the viewer buying into the video, which means they buy the song, depite the fact the video is no longer a part of it. I wonder if they then listen to the song and can't quite understand what's missing? It's like the video is masking the inadequacies of the music.

  5. #5
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    Nice discussion which I hadn't picked up earlier.

    I don't think you need look any further than your music.

    A great song is a great song, no matter how skilled the performance.
    However a really bad performance can ruin a great song (and if that song is not already familiar to the audience it may disappear without trace).
    An average song can be sweetened by a great performance.
    As a muso, you will not accept anything less than the best possible performance for your song. But that best possible is a moving target and will have improved over the years as you (and/or your fellow musicians) have improved.

    I'm sure you will find the same with the videos. What you are happy with technically this year will leave you dissatisfied in the future.

    There is one big difference between the two. It is often the case that the initial recording or demo of a song will have a certain something that more refined versions do not. I do not think this is the case with video/film, perhaps because of the greater immediacy of laying down a track and/or the greater emotional immediacy of a song.

    Just to be clear this is not the same as saying that remakes of films are necessarily better than originals, more often than not the reverse is true.
    Tim

  6. #6

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    I might be the one raining on your parade here. As I see your question, it's pretty much like asking if you could play a good song on a guitar without actually learning where to put your fingers to play the notes.
    Can one write a good song with basic musical skills? Surely yes. With no skills at all? surely no.

    That being said, it all depends on what you want to do with the video. If it's just something to watch at home with your friends or if it's something that's intended to be broadcast on MTV.

    Filming is an art, Cinematography is often referred to as the "7th art". Over the years, I found out that the creative process behind any art is similar, if not identical. It starts through culture for having the ideas, then moves on to technique in order to learn how to put these ideas in form. Having the idea is the first step. In order to put it to form, you will need to overcome technical challenge (like lighting for a scene filmed in an interior location for example), which can be learned and has to be practiced in order to build up skill and experience.

    If you're an artist to begin with, the technique should not be scaring you as you already have a grasp on how to take ideas and put them in form of music, the process is essentially the same, only the technique differs, obviously.

    Fortunately, it's becoming cheaper and cheaper to acquire some basic equipment.

    About the "breaking the rules" idea.
    There's one thing I always say: "if you want to break the rules, first you have to know the rules, otherwise how do you know whether or not you're breaking them?"
    Same goes in music. A musician friend of mine tells me he wants to innovate, yet he is very closed to many musical genres. so I ask him how would he know whether or not he's innovating or just doing something that actually has already been done, without knowing first what has been done?

    Don't take it the wrong way, it's not directed to you at all, more a general assessment. Nowadays, I find more and more wannabe artists hide behind the "breaking the rules" argument in order to justify technical laziness and impatience. The truth is, there are people dedicating their lives to this craft. If it were possible to come up with something acceptable without going through the whole learning process, we would know it by now and people wouldn't even bother to practice and learn.

    So I think you do need a minimum amount of technique in order to do something. Now depending on how talented you are, you could more or less get away with less or more technique.

    think Kurt Cobain or Jimmy Hendrix, they were not guitar virtuosos, but their talent allowed them to make up for it. Nonetheless, they still have a minimal amount of technique, allowing them to put their ideas in form.


    It's the opposite of many beginners who sometimes think that technique and equipment are the most important parts, in music as well, we all go through such processes, then we come back. But it's a necessary step to take.

  7. #7

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    Ah you say that you have to know the rules before you can break them....yet there have been visionaries and innovators who were not aware of the rule when they did something, and another saw it and declared it "Amazing! You broke that rule"

    Of course learn technical competence, But don't entirely scrub out the rare genius that comes along...

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bpotter908 View Post
    Ah you say that you have to know the rules before you can break them....yet there have been visionaries and innovators who were not aware of the rule when they did something, and another saw it and declared it "Amazing! You broke that rule"

    Of course learn technical competence, But don't entirely scrub out the rare genius that comes along...
    I agree with you completely. Some exceptionally talented people can just get things done and be the best at it. that said, it is safe to assume that most people are not such talents. I know I'm not, I know I'm more or less talented at artistic stuff, probably more than your average joe, I so are probably most people here. But I ain't no Thelonious Monk or Herbie Hancock.

    a Visionary usually doesn't ask stuff on forums, they just know what to do and how to do it.

    I always say, only two kinds of people are never wrong, idiots and geniuses.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by hadoq View Post
    I always say, only two kinds of people are never wrong, idiots and geniuses.
    Interestingly that only applies to the Arts. In the world of science, it appears all geniuses are eventually proved wrong (or at least that their "rightness" is only correct withing specific limitations),
    Tim

  10. #10

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    now that you mention it...

    Nah sometimes it seems that I want to convince people and really press my opinion on things because I post a lot of stuff and try to argue and whatnot. But truly, I give any detractor all the tools to understand what thought process brought me to a given idea. This way if someone believe I'm wrong, he or she can more easily point out what exact point I'm wrong about. So by all means, if you think I'm giving a wrong advice or a wrong idea, don't be intimidated by the block of text, use it.

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