Friday, 14 November 2008

Tal Rosner lecture

Tal Rosner is another BAFTA winning film-maker. Recently we were lucky enough to recieve a lecture by him at our college on his work.

The focus was mainly on his work over the last four years or so...

He firstly completed a graphic design degree and then an MA at ST Martens studying the moving image pathway. During this time he learned the software (mainly after effects) by himself. Largely it seems, by trial and error.

The first part of the lecture consisted largely of clips of his films, first of which was DOPPELGANGER; This was his final piece for his Masters degree and he regards it as his 'true starting point, his first complete film'.
The film for the work was made by attaching the camera to a train that ran around the london docklands. The film has been edited in after effects and transformed into a piece of moving, mirrored mesh of pattern and mood set to an exciting techno soundtrack.
The screen would split off like a kaleidoscope into quarters as segmented parts of mirrored film dubbed to be in time with the music.

Following this he obtained what he had thought would be his dream job working within a larger crew on big projects. This he soon realised though would not be the opportunity he first thought and he became unhappy, wanting more time for his own smaller, personal projects.

After explaining this he showed us another film, a collaboration with a pair of female pianists playing music written for two pianos. The particular piece he made a film for was by STRAVYNSKI; This film again concentrates a lot on pattern and rythm, with the buildings becoming more abstracted throughout it's progress.
The screen is mainly split centrally and use of colour, speed and rythm as well as different types of scenery are all used as part of Tal's visual language throughout.
It's fun to think how different things might be employed and to note how green fields and passages of buildings, factories and industrial sections all move with different movements of the music. Or for example, how at one point the pointed mark of an unusual singular stab of a bass key which is out of sync with the rest of the music, is signified with the negative static image of a singular tree. A repeated motif.

This sort of synchronisation and pattern it seems is something Tal has tried to improve upon with his work, the next piece DEBUSSY BLANC ET NOIR showed even more experimentation with this sort of translation.
During this film different sort of mood was portrayed whilst footage of mainly coastal areas was displayed. Reversing the film, much use of statics and a lot of changes of the images using the strong manipulation techniques available with the Adobe suite it seems have been employed.

Much more compositing of images is used now and the effect is again interesting and different.

Off the back of the Stravinsky piece Tal says he managed then to secure a job producing a low budget title sequence on the E4 project that became SKINS. He showed us a film of the first title sequence of the series.
After explaining that this was final edit version number 72(!!! :0 ), he explained how some of the original ideas for had to be modified, like how originally they had planned nine different outros as well as the famous intros for each character.
This work has a much more commercial feel and but it definately feels in line with the rest of Tal's earlier work.

Another piece he showed us was very much a musical endeavor where he had worked with his friend Sophie Clements. He called this his first collabritive piece with a lot of analysis and communication of how the film should work.
The piece was made in time with a wind up piano and really just has to be seen to be appreciated. Follow the link.

He carried on to speak about his collaboration with the London Symphony orchestra on The seven days of Creation. A project that meant employing six screens being projected above the orchestra and synchronising his effects with the music.
We talked about some of the issues this raised technically, including how the conductor would be able to ensure that they stayed in synchronicity and how the images and footage were chosen, how much time was needed to be spent working so closely together.
It seems as though there was a lot of very close debate as to what would work when and how.

He went on to explain about a newer piece commissioned by Channel 4 as part of their annual animation schemes designed to challenge the boundaries of animation. This forced him to find new avenues of inspiration and he began by basing it around a circle around London that he had found interesting for various reasons.
The film, WITHOUT YOU was as much about the sounds that went with the footage as it had been filmed and the emotional impact of this.
He also explained the influence of the poetry of the artist Josef Albers which has helped to inspire the film. He as eager to point out the fact that few people realised that Albers had a collection of poetry as he is obviously more widely recognised as a visual artist.

He was asked afterwards about his personal influences and he named mainly work from the period of about 1905-35

He states that he tries to provoke an emotional response with his work.

He sees himself more as a sculptor of images. An intersting thought considering the amount he manipualtes the resource at his disposal.

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