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Posts Tagged ‘videography’

Caustic in Black & White 1

Okay, I first remember reading about John Cage in a story by Alex Ross of The New Yorker. The piece opened with a description of the 1952 performance of John Cage’s composition, 4’33”, which turned out to be four minutes and thirty-three seconds of silence. It’s a bit more complicated than that, or maybe not, but you can read more via this article link.  John Cage and silence came to mind recently because I was sharing a video I’d made with the physicist in my life and when I asked him what piece of music should I pair with these images, he suggested, “soundtrack by John Cage.”

Caustic in Black & White 2

Caustic in Black & White 2

At first I thought he was kidding.  There had to be a short classical piece to fit the light and motion so reminiscent of northern lights.  When I’d asked him what music to pair with a short video of sunlit water flowing over rocks, he’d suggested Faure’s Requiem in Paradisum.  Now he recommended silence? On my own, I found Bartock’s Evening in the Village. I tried the pairing. He appreciated Bartok but he still favored Cage.  I read a bit more about Cage, his compositions, his performances, his poetry … an interesting man to say the last.

Caustics in Color

Caustics in Color

So what I captured on the wall one morning took place in less than four minutes and thirty-three seconds.  It involved a rippled window, a different one in the house.  Light shone down through the gaps in the leaves and branches of the oak tree that towers over the house.  That light made its way through the glass refracting through the ripples producing a dynamic pattern of caustics on the wall.  Most often that pattern of light is static but this particular morning the wind was blowing. The branches and the leaves they moved creating what that physicist described as “a pattern of illumination that varied in space and time.” It was a good moment inspiring some experimentation as you can see in the video below.  The flickering on the wall is as it happened … in less than four minutes and thirty-three seconds.

A Silent Dance from Cynthia Staples on Vimeo.

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There’s an office park in Woburn that has the remnants of a river surfacing here and there running through concrete culverts and pooling in overgrown fields.  In the culverts there’s paper blown in from the nearby dumpster but there are also beautiful rocks.  In the field, there are branches, dead leaves and green growing stuff.

One windy, partly cloudy day, I was photographing the water and the fall of the light.  And then, just to try something different, I decided to record what I saw, in short intervals.  With the aid of online tutorials, I managed to figure out how to thread the shorts together.  As I watched the scene flow, I could hear background wind and the call of wild geese.  But what would it be like with a different sound?

I texted a certain fellow.  Now I knew he liked Bach, so I asked, “Is there a piece by Bach that you might pair with scenes of running water?” His reply included Vivaldi, 4 Seasons, Spring, Handel, Water Music.  In the end, I selected his suggestion of Faure’s Requiem in Paradesum because he wrote that “It sounds like a waterfall.”  Just over three minutes in length.  No Oscars to be had just yet, but it is fun to try new things. 😉

Running Waters in Woburn Take Two from Cynthia Staples on Vimeo.

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With still shots I wasn’t quite capturing what I wanted to share especially when the icicle began to melt and water flowed so freely.  So I decided, for the first time, to try out the video feature on my camera.  And while I was tempted to find a tech savvy 10-year old to help me download the video, reorient it, add audio and then upload it into this blog … well, I just plundered along.  No awards will I win for the results but it was fun and I hope to keep learning how to expand what I share in words and images.

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