Monday, 2 December 2013

Heaven is a Place Where Nothing Ever Happens - experimental video

I've been working on a short piece of experimental film lately. I've always wanted to try out the recording facilities on my Nikon DSLR and also pick up some film editing skills. My first attempt used the cameras auto focus system. When I previewed the recording I noticed that the lens tracking can be quite plainly heard on the soundtrack - that seems a bit daft to me. What is the point in being able to record in HD quality video with a sound recording limitation like that? Perhaps I'm missing something. Anyway, I switched off the autofocus and tried again.

I made a short film on the south coast at Hastings and also incorporated some of my Holga stills from the same area. (using the Holga is my parallel artistic foray into using film cameras too!) I'm using iMovie for the post production and it seems quite intuitive for the sort of work I produced here.

Heaven is a place where nothing ever from ammoniteM on Vimeo.

I wanted to encapsulate in my film some of the dreariness of the south coast at this time of year - where there never seems to be much going on. Although I don't think that is necessarily a bad thing - actually, I much prefer it really. Sometimes the coastal towns are far too crowded for my liking. I just think the place feels very different when there's hardly anyone about and most of the tourist businesses are closed. There is an air of melancholy that can be quite attractive and, as a photographer, I really enjoy having the time and space to explore when the towns are quieter. As I mentioned earlier I have also been experimenting with film for the first time with a Holga camera. The still images are of found objects and scenes that I felt compelled to record. I enjoyed sequencing them and working out how to include them in the film.

The films title is from a sign that I spotted on a Folkestone rooftop and I found the sentiment intriguing so I photographed it. It wasn't until later when I began to put the images together to make some kind of order out of my thoughts that I realised that the sign was actually an art installation that had been erected for the Folkestone Triennial. The work is called "Heaven is a Place Where Nothing Ever Happens" by Nathan Coley and my film could be considered an artistic response to the sentiment expressed in his work.

This film is a work in progress and I will be listing experimental pieces here under a new link on the right-hand sidebar of this blog so that I can keep them together and outside of the course assignments.

Edit: 4th December

The learning curve for just getting this film processed and uploaded has been high. There are so many settings to think about that are totally alien to me - bit rate for example. The first thing I noticed is that when the embedded video on this page is enlarged it becomes more pixelated. At first I thought I had made an error in one of my upload settings but when I go to the video's own page on YouTube it looks fine. In one way it's good that I haven't made an error, in another the quality of the film from this Blogger pages is not so good. I will now investigate Vimeo (my first choice anyway but had upload problems) to see if their embedded option is any better quality.


New attempt using Vimeo to test quality of embedded video.


  1. I think this is very good for a first experiment. Seemed a little jerky at first but then gradually evened out. I'm interested as well in the way you've juxtaposed colour with mono. Yes, there's an air of melancholy but it seems peaceful as well. Maybe it's the colour that does this.

  2. Hi Catherine, thanks for your comment. Yes, it is a bit jerky. I didn't want it to look too filmic though so went for a hand held approach. Maybe I overdid it... Because of my partial colour blindness it's the content of an image that is usually at the forefront of my mind. I am rarely affected by colour in an image for instance. Interesting comment about the colour/mono from your perspective. In truth I had a roll of each to play with.