Assessment 1: Experimental Film Project

Marked out of 100 – 30%

In the first 3 weeks of this subject, you will be introduced to a range of techniques for creating moving images without a camera. Cameraless film, also known as direct film, scratch film, or hand-made film, is a way of working directly onto film celluloid. Artists and filmmakers have traditionally worked o 16mm, 35mm or even 70mm film using a variety of techniques. Research and investigate these methods of working directly onto film celluloid as well as how found film footage can be assembled to create different meanings through editing

In both lectures and workshops, you will be asked to analyse historical and in contemporary works that engage with film celluloid as the primary material. Informed by these investigations create a short 60-second silent work that explores the theme of ‘rhythm’. You will produce this work by first directly working on the film celluloid. Your footage will then be transferred to digital video and you will edit the footage digitally and complete the project as a digital screen work. All final works will be presented and discussed as part of the assessment.

The intention of this assessment task is to inspire you to explore the film medium in ways that are not generally practised in conventional film studies: through the physicality of celluloid. You are encouraged to investigate experimental practices theoretically, historically, and technically. The prime focus of the exercise is film as a material and editing as a process.

Research and development
This project provides an experimental starting point that introduces you to the materiality of film as both a spatial surface for creating images as well as a time-based medium through editing. This way of working allows you to explore film as a canvas and at the same time, its temporal characteristics in producing rhythm and narrative is open to experimentation. The process of editing is also emphasised in this project.

You can approach the production of images in abstract form, as representation, or both. You may also investigate the found-footage tradition and focus on the editing of your work. There are many techniques you can use. Consider different processes of subtraction and addition:

  • Scratching
  • Bleaching
  • Painting
  • Drawing
  • Tinting
  • Sticking
  • Printing/ stamping

Editing is a component you can explore in this project. How do you construct spaces and times through editing disparate footage together.

Specific lectures will discuss different historical and contemporary approaches to this type of filmmaking such as abstract films, animation, and found footage film. It will be helpful for you to research into these different practices. Following is a list of filmmakers and artists who produced outstanding works in these different styles of filmmaking:

  • Walter Ruttmann
  • Len Lye
  • Norman McLaren
  • Stan Brakhage
  • Harry Smith
  • Paul Bush
  • Caroline Leaf
  • Bill Morrison
  • Criag Baldwin

Do they differ in their approach to working directly onto film? How do they tackle different themes and achieve different results within the boundaries of cameraless films’? How do they approach editing found footage?

In addition to this, you may have noticed that cameraless film techniques used in contemproary motion graphics or video works. Can you find examples of these works? Are they simply copying the method to create an effect? Or are they genuinely innovative in their treatment?

Document your research and progress on your personal learning blog.

Due Date
Week 5 28th March 2017 in class

Digital video file

Assessment Criteria

  • Depth, breadth and application of research in directing the project
  • Exploration and experimentation of medium in the working process
  • Effectiveness in the execution of concept/ theme in the final presentation

Submission Method
Presentation in class and submission of digital file as directed

Subject Learning Outcome Addressed
This assessment task addresses Subject Learning Outcome
Engage in experimental film, video and screen based production techniques.