VOID stage four: completion

VOID stage four: completion

The VOID dance film was a significantly tedious process due to a number of reasons including COVID 19, editing processes, new collaborations and other technical factors. VOID was completed in December 2020. From here I will screen the film and submit it for a few film festivals and see how it fares.

I cut a trailer:

There is also this alternate edit which was a part of my process (see earlier blog)

VOID stills:


VOID stage three: editing and exploring multiples

As the idea of the multiple selves evolved making Void, I was exploring ways to create multiples of Erin O’Rourke’s character.

Below demonstrates a part of my process, but also the easy way to achieve multiples with the Kaleidoscope effect rather than the tedious and intricate way with Erin repeating the movement multiple times in multiple places, and many matte layers.

Void (Collide edit)

I shelved this edit because it was just an early exploration and does not demonstrate the editing complexity as in the final version of Void (see the Void Montage as an example https://vimeo.com/492863659). Nonetheless, it is interesting to see the body chopped up and mashing into itself and into the space, especially with so much visual repetition in the location.

The kaleidoscope effect was a starting point in unpacking some visual ideas before doing things the correct way with all the duplicate shots and matte layers as the example shows below.

This is what the footage looked like from creating the layers above

I was curious to see how many versions of Erin I could include before a moving image of her would clash with another moving version of herself. I managed to layer in 18 multiple moving images of Erin but that could only continue for about 8 seconds. Below is an image of what the timeline looked like. I was still using Final Cut Pro 7 then.

Section of Void timeline. Each yellow circle correlates with a level of the staircase in the outcome below.


VOID stage two

Following the creative development for VOID, I began to think of the project visually as a short dance film. Making a dance film entirely in one location was a counter point of view to Shift which was shot at numerous locations. Finding a location took a lot of time and research, but I found one suitable and organised permission to film there. There was just one problem: the Old Museum stair cases used in the creative development spiralled in the opposite direction to the shoot location. The direction of the spiral is determined from the bottom looking up, so our location stairs were clockwise stairs and the Old Museum stairs were anticlockwise. The building differed in age by 30 years, and I wondered that was the reason why they spiralled in different ways. I found this theory most interesting:

Why stairs were clockwise in Medieval towers:

I wondered why the Old Museum staircases were antilock-wise. It was not just one, but all of them in the building are. Perhaps there was a lot of left handed people that were going to be working at the museum?

We were fortunate to be granted an additional two days of rehearsal to work in the space and flip-flop the material before filming. It was important that Erin felt safe in the space and familiar with all the little details of the space. With so much visual repetition, it was easy to forget what level we were on, but every corner has slightly different details and it was important to be aware of all of these.

For this project I worked with a young cinematographer – a Griffith University masters film student, Saroj Chauhan. Amelia-Le-Bherz was on board again doing hair and make up. A small team of just four of us meant were could work quite quickly. On the second day, we also recorded sound capturing the interesting acoustics of the location and Erin’s vocals.

Below: Stills from footage of the two day shoot.

I tried to exhaust the use of the stairs as much as possible and use them in as many ways as we were permitted. We explored filming each scene differently to make each section unique.

The idea of various selves also began to emerge and from a story perspective, the film is a shedding of former selves as new parts of the self come to the surface. Editing techniques were the major tool is sculpting this in the story through precise editing of many duplicate shots.

Traditionally when there’s two dancers in a location, the tendency is to focus on the relationship between the two dancers, however with one dancer, the focus on a relationship with another dancer is negated and the dancers relationship with the location becomes more significant in the sense of the story.

In October, we returned for an additional day of filming as there were some ideas emerging I wanted to explore further as well as get some pick up shots missed on the first day of filming. Here’s stills from the 3rd day of filming.

Day 4! After a number of weeks editing, I felt like there was a section of choreography missing from the perspective of the overarching story. Furthermore I had an idea to push some of the duplicate shots a bit further, so we returned for another day of rehearsal followed by a day of filming. Here’s a few stills from Day 4.


VOID stage one

Dancer: Erin O’Rourke

In July I received a small stART grant through Metro Arts. After months of COVID-19 and writing for my MFA, I was craving creating something so the stART grant was perfect timing. Given so much of COVID-19 was spent with people staying home, or self-isolating, I wanted to explore a solo work in some confined spaces. I worked with recent QUT graduate Erin O’Rourke who I had seen in the QUT performances and graduation shows over the past three years and her work impressed me.

The creative development spanned one week, initially commencing rehearsals at Mill Street Studios and then to the Old Museum where we started working on the stairs.

The idea of a stairwell became interesting and I began researching stories of people who get trapped and even die in stairwells. However not focusing too much on the macabre death elements I liked the idea of a spiral staircase for all the metaphors it provides. I began to see the creative development manifesting as a short dance film and after the week of rehearsals decided to invest in making the second stage of the project.