Road worthy

I haven’t spent a day in the studio just doing studio-ish meandering things for ages, despite this being part of “the plan.” Today I was able to head in, finish production on three podcast episodes for my students, and then spend some of the afternoon exploring my video archive, making some sound and images work together. Ironically, I’ve been teaching video production recently and the importance of experimentation, yet hardly manage to do it myself.

I shot this video in Iceland in the early 2010s, which seems like a few lifetimes ago. It was the first week of real snow as autumn turned to winter, and my long-suffering friend and I drove over this particular bridge quite a few times holding various tripods and cameras on the roof of our rented jeep in order to capture the video-game-esque single-point perspective, emphasised by the fog in the distance, and bitmap-style textures of what I presume is normally a riverbed below the bridge.

I’ve been wanting to do something with this video clip for a while. This isn’t the thing, but it’s something – sketch to re-acquaint myself with the faders and dials as I ramp up towards more audio / video / game production for the All the Worlds project, among others.

Of course, anyone who came of age and got into making videos at a similar time in the 2000s will recognise this as the inverse technique from Michel Gondry’s video for Star Guitar by the Chemical Brothers:

The Creators Project DVDs, featuring work by Michel Gondry, Spike Jonze, Jonathan Glazer and Chris Cunningham were cult-like objects whilst I was an undergraduate, and still prove to be strong influences on me today. I obsessively watched and re-watched Gondry’s process for making this video. My favourite bit is with the shoes:


And here is the same Icelandic-shot video as above, with a second layer and infinite loop:

Rules of the Game

This weekend I took part in the annual Sci Fi London 48 hour film challenge, in which participants have to write, shoot, and edit a sci-fi film in 48 hours.

My film had to include the following elements:

Title: Rules of the Game
A prop and action: A character opens a sealed padded envelope and pulls out a card.
A line of dialogue: The count for this stuff is off the chart, probably best you don’t get it on your skin.

Here is the outcome. It’s a 5-minute film about an ambitious inventor named Larry Hammer in the midst of an experiment. The film-making had all of the constraints you’d imagine (no budget, limited time, one person) but it was great fun to make. I hope you enjoy it!

I did the writing, shooting, directing, editing, starring, and soundtrack (à la Tommy Wiseau?). I also had some generous script advice from Amy Butt and Pippa Palmer, for which I’d like to express thanks.

Logic by Machine

We don’t talk about computers like we used to. Whilst writing up my PhD thesis, I came across this teaser video for my Nybble project. It was designed to elicit the interest of potential dancers and the public who may come to view the work. The dialogue is taken from a 1962 film called Logic By Machine, commissioned by IBM and put out on the equivalent of KQED-TV / National Educational Television (which I believe became PBS?).

There is a poetic, dreamy discussion of the potential that computers have to change the way we see ourselves in the world:

The computer is then given the problem in the form of numbers or instructions pertinent to arithmetic. It is the arithmetic logical task that the computer is organised to do. Once instructed, it can do as much arithmetic in a minute as a man in a lifetime.

A man in a lifetime…the lifetime of all mankind is but a brief moment in the long history of this earth of ours. And only yesterday in the history of mankind has man made any significant advance in his control over his earthly environment.

Dialogue written by Richard Moore. The rest of the film is also worth watching for the speech by the incredible Richard Hamming‘s explanation of exponentiality within computing.

Rock music

Whilst in Korea last year, I came across this incredible rock playing an instrumental version of Celine Dion’s Oscar-winning My Heart Will Go On.

Hold me, Jack.

Scriptych collaboration

The French Audiovisual Archives (INA) made a lovely short film about the collaborative process Simon Valastro and myself used to make Scriptych, a performance at the Opéra National de Paris earlier this year, as part of my residency at the Palais de Tokyo.

Pavillon Neuflize OBC / INA #9 Scriptych / Ollie Palmer – Simon Valastro – VA from Institut national audiovisuel on Vimeo.

Thank you Franck Podguszer and the INA team!

Nybble video

I just realised I never posted about the making of the video for my Nybble project! It took a long time for me to get round to re-editing, since myriad other projects came up in the time after the event. The first cut was not great, and didn’t do justice to the excellent dancers who were involved, so I took a few days to re-cut the whole thing last year. This blog post is a quick breakdown of the elements of the final video.
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Learn Italian

My friend Fiona Williams (who kindly helped me film the Nybble video) made a lovely stop-motion film about the now-probably-obsolete method of learning Italian by cassette. She filmed it in a Christopher Wren tower in London, using a cassette that she found in an attic. The result is charming, hilarious, bewildering and highly enjoyable.

Learn Italian by Fiona Williams

Note: I feature as a technical advisor in the credits, but Fiona really deserves all the credit!