The Pump Shed: Essay & Bibliography

The Pump Shed is the story of a young man from rural Australia who has left for the big city to chase his fortune. Unfortunately, he has found himself addicted to drugs and wandering the urban landscape – lost. He carried with him a photograph of the pump shed from the farm on which he grew up. He has recently learned that the pump shed has been ripped down. He remembers the sounds and sights of the shed and they take him back to a happier time. Then, one night, he looses the photograph. He becomes lost. The pump shed becomes a Lost Place.
The chief goal of my research into audiovisual theory was to establish a strong grasp on the fundamental principles of editing techniques, music for video and sound design. Although my film, The Pump Shed, utilizes high quality video, exceptional story telling and [sic] sublime acting, I will focus on editing and sound design in this account – primarily because camera operation, story construction and acting constituted no part of the training in class nor featured in the guidelines for this course. I will also account for the design choices on my blog, discuss my choice of social network marketing and discuss my motives in my application of on-line story telling and visual design.

I established very early in the semester a chosen lost place and produced a soundscape in response to that space. The (now destroyed) pump shed at Wymondley farm in Thirlmere, N.S.W was explored with literal interpretations of the sounds associated with the physical place. Whirring pumps, bird calls, spitting sprinklers and gurgling water. The soundscape was complimented with a haunting synthesizer melody scoring the work.

The production process began with the pump-shed soundscape that I had already produced and then progressed into an investigation of online story telling, cinematic techniques, on-line promotion and marketing and audio-visual technology. Ultimately, however, the production process was driven by my own personal relationship with the pump-shed and my desire to share that story – as a filmmaker and as an actor. The pump shed does in fact represent a lost place to me. It does remind me of a happy child hood. I am now (in a sense) a lost man. The shed is my lost place.
In contrast to the literal interpretation of the pump shed in that first assignment, for this video piece I have taken the idea of the pump shed – that is, a place that is far away, representative of the past, and now destroyed – and utilized its metaphorical capacity to enhance the story of a wayward young man.
The full original soundscape has been utilized in the video work, though intertwines with live audio captured on location, voice over narration by the character and new music arranged for the work.
“Music, good and bad, grabs the viewer’s attention. Within several seconds of hearing the opening selection, the viewer has subconsciously formed an opinion on what he is about to see.” (Pg 9, Soifer, R., 1997)
“Because sound is more rapidly processed by the viewer than are the visuals, the problem of believability is magnified. If the sound does not seem believable, the visuals will be undermined and the audience involvement will be lost. Believable sound is thus central to the experience of the film. Consequently, the most urgent task of the sound edit is to create believable sound.” (Pg 317, Dancyger, K., 1997)
I produced a significantly realistic interpretation of the pump shed in the first assignment and was able to apply those sounds directly to the video work. I also recorded the location scenes with a portable microphone attached to a digital audio recorder. This allowed convincing perception of location. I then produced a new musical work that is designed to thematically underline the story as a whole – not just the pump shed. Lastly, the character recorded a narration voice over sequence.
“This ([audio mix/dub) is one of the most time consuming and important events in the entire production process.” (pg 129, Clark, B. and Spohr, J. 1998)
I devoted a significant amount of time to the recording, mixing and mastering of the several audio elements in ProTools so that the end result was a cohesive, enticing and effective audio arrangement.

“Roy Thompson (Author of Grammar of the Edit) suggests that there are six elements to an edit, all of which should come into play when choosing where to cut: Motivation: Information: Composition: Sound: Camera angle: Continuity: of content or movement or position or sound.” (Pg 198, Button, B. 2002)
I chose to establish the desolation of the closed train station (a metaphor for the loneliness of being lost while traveling between difficult stages of life) with a very long, static, wide shot. The character is almost invisible (and certainly not immediately noticeable) at the beginning of the shot. As he walks closer to the light source and the camera, he becomes more apparent. I edited this shot to create a sense of time passing slowly. It also conveys a creepy loneliness.
“So we can see that, without moving the camera, we can not only change the audience’s attention by simply selecting the angle of view, but we can dramatically affect the audience’s reaction to different elements of the scene by setting those elements at different distances from the camera before we select the area to be photographed.” (Pg 169, Wheeler, P., 2006)
For the scenes when the character is hiding in a tunnel while frantically searching for his lost photograph, I brought the shot in very close and edited rapidly, with many cuts and rapid light variations between shots. This conveyed a sense of disorientation and urgency.
“Camera placement and the perspective created by your choice of focal length can seriously affect about their relationship with the scene.” (Pg 172, Wheeler, P., 2006)
The rationale for the choice of material included on the website was established by a desire to appropriate the techniques used by mainstream film promoters on their websites. (Also here.) By using a header that displayed the characters and cinematic style of the video, I was able to effectively convey the type of film being promoted. I then matched the color palette of the poster to the palette of the film so as to provide a consistency to the aesthetic of the page. I selected a dark theme from the WordPress catalogue that is effective in conveying the dark nature of the work. I even went so far as to build a custom theme with the CSS code function, though was unable to utilize it as it requires the purchasing of a license. I have included a screen grab of the work on my production blog post. I posted photographs of scenes from the film and aligned them above and below the embedded Vimeo player window to create the effect of the screen being embedded within a movie poster. All of these design elements were implemented in order to convey a sense of high production values, effective communication and a specific set of emotional cues.
“What about your target market – do they know who you are? Do they know what you are about? It’s more than just your blog topic and facts about you. You’re a mom who blogs about cooking? That’s awesome. What makes you different from every other kitchen-loving mother? If you’re a tech blogger with a love for Star Trek, what makes you different from every other nerd out there? No matter how useful your site may be, I won’t visit it regularly to read the information. I’ll visit it regularly to read the information coming from you. That’s so important that I used bold and italics, so you know I mean serious business. You need to have a personal brand, or you’re just another face in the crowd.” (Boyer, A. http://www.blogcatalog.com/blog/blogworld-blog/16eb4e600f9e3578d6617d0b6132614d. 12:53pm, 21/102010) Allison Boyer is a writer for BlogWorld Expo’s blog and the owner/manager of After Graduation. As a blogger who writes about blogging, her insights are paramount when I consider the use of my Worpress pages. I sought to make the sight useful, memorable and enjoyable. The content must function with ease and navigation must be logical. I achieved all of this by experimenting with the embed variables in wordpress, by experimenting with themes and by re-reading posts after publishing so as to establish any publishing flaws before editing again. “What makes you memorable? Tune into that, and you’ll be much more likely to build a following and actually make money with your blog. Sometimes, being a little like Paris Hilton isn’t a bad thing.” (Boyer, A. http://www.blogcatalog.com/blog/blogworld-blog/16eb4e600f9e3578d6617d0b6132614d. 12:53pm, 21/102010)
“Though word-of-mouth (w-o-m) communications is a pervasive and intriguing phenomenon, little is known on its underlying process of personal communications. Moreover as marketers are getting more interested in harnessing the power of w-o-m, for e-business and other net related activities, the effects of the different communications types on macro level marketing is becoming critical. In particular we are interested in the breakdown of the personal communication between closer and stronger communications that are within an individual’s own personal group (strong ties) and weaker and less personal communications that an individual makes with a wide set of other acquaintances and colleagues (weak ties). “
I established Facebook and Twitter accounts so as to promote the website and the film itself. I observed the use of social networking sites to promote films and have much empirical evidence to suggest that many people now access information about and promotion of films and movies through such sites. A social network presence also facilitates the easy communication of interest in (or discussion about) a film by users of the network and their “friends”.
“Furthermore, the mounting use of the Internet, enabling surfers to communicate quickly with relative ease, has established the contemporary version of this phenomenon, known as “Internet w-o-m” or “word of mouse”, as an important marketing communication channel. In what is sometimes labeled as “viralmarketing”, companies are currently investing considerable efforts to trigger a word of mouse process and accelerate its distribution.” (Schwartz 1998; Oberndorf 2000).

In my research for the production of The Pump Shed, I have established a clear and concise understanding of video editing fundamental principles. I have developed an increased awareness of the role of sound design in film and the technical practices that best utilize it. My vocabulary has increased within the language of cinematography and video editing. The relationship between the Internet and storytelling has come into focus as I continue explore methods and tools for effective online communication. The distinction between Web 1.0 and Web 2.0 has especially influenced my desire to avoid using the Internet as a “dumping ground”. The Characteristics of Web 2.0, namely user interaction, have drawn my perceptions of narrow cast marketing into the spotlight. I am now more aware than previously that the markets for many products and services are more accessible than at any time in history, but that communicating with said markets must be dynamic, creative, effective and – most importantly – interactive.
Most importantly, I have developed a new found confidence when exploring new technologies – be they on-line or off-line application – though especially the internet as a tool in it’s self. It is on that note that I realize the most potent point in the narrative: That the young man making the film about being lost, has come closer to finding his place in the world by producing the work and sharing it with the world.

Bibliography:

Button, B. Nonlinear editing: Storytelling, aesthetics and craft. CMP Books, Lawrence, KS, USA. 2002

Benedetti, R., et al. Creative postproduction: Editing, sound, visual effects and music for film and video. Pearson education Inc. Boston, MA ,USA. 2004.

Clark, B. and Spohr, S. J. Postproduction for TV and film. Butterworth Heinemann, Woburn, MA, USA. 1998.

Dancyger, K. The technique of film and video editing: Theory and practice. Butterworth Heinemann. Newton, MA, USA. 1997.

Goldenberg, J., Libai, B., and Muller, E. Talk of the Network: A complex systems look at the underlying process of word-of-mouth. Kluwer Academic Publishers, The Netherlands. 2001.

Gross, L. S. and Larry, W. W. Digital moviemaking. Thompson higher education. Belmont, CA, USA. 2007

Schwartz EI. O.K., Retailers, Why Do your Own Marketing when you can make 100,000 Other Web Sites Do it for You?” New York Times, Aug 10, 3. (1998).

Sofier, R. Music in video production. Butterworth Heinemann, Woburn, MA, USA. 1997.

Wheeler, P. Practical cinematography. Elsevier. Oxford, GB. 2006.

Wyatt, H. and Amyes, T. Audio post production for television and film: An introduction to technology and techniques. Elsevier. Oxford, GB. 2007.

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One Response to “The Pump Shed: Essay & Bibliography”

  1. […] Zancepen's Blog A pirate of Penzance – with a pen. « The Pump Shed: Essay & Bibliography […]

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