Finalising Composition

After re-thinking my final outcome yesterday, I spoke to one of my tutors today to get feedback on which of the two ideas ( a set of GIFs, or video montage combined with audio) would be more successful. Explaining my thought process verbally helped me continue the clarifying process I had started by writing yesterday’s post. I identified the problems with the GIF idea that were causing my reluctance to follow through with the plan.

  1. I don’t want to cut out the audio of the interview with my mother, because it is one of the simplest ways to communicate some of the thoughts and feelings that come as a result of having dual heritage – a valuable accompaniment to the visual language.
  2. (Linked to 1) Though I could play the recording of the interview alongside the set of GIFs, it is not visually engaging for the audience to have to watch a 4 second loop alongside a much longer recording.
  3. Looking at the initial GIF that had inspired the idea for my final outcome and the consequent illustrations I had started to draw, the imagery was becoming quite abstract. Although I could justify the ambiguity and lack of clarity by saying it emulates the experience of having mixed cultural heritage, I must remember that the context of this project is part of Visual Communication, not Fine Art. Realistically, the audience would only be able to receive so much of what I intend to communicate; in the initial GIF (below) the text is almost completely illegible, and the number of layers and angles of the photographs makes even them difficult to see/interpret. I don’t want to lose the fragmentation and all of the ambiguity, but I think I need to refine the layers and reconsider the purpose and effectiveness of each one. Adding the audio will make the topic of the investigation (dual heritage) more explicit, without the need for simplistic, literal imagery.

The clip above and below show my attempt to layer a hand-drawn animation over film. Creating a transparent image from a detailed drawing proved difficult, because without going into minuscule detail (very time consuming), it is impossible to remove all traces of the background texture. I can’t ignore the visual impact of this; I think it makes the film look roughly composed and rushed. Below, I tackled the problem by shrinking the animation and putting an effect on it in Premiere Pro. It’s definitely an improvement…

…however, the more I watched it, the more I asked myself what it was doing there. (I also tried layering a watercolour lotus motif. Test 21)

The lotus is a national symbol of Vietnam, but is it necessary when the video montage is full of film from Vietnam? I don’t think so, and I think the slight difference in the texture of the hand-writing and the line-drawing is jarring and distracts from the film. However, the static scan of the hand-writing on its own is not a distraction because it’s still and constant. It also gives visual context to the footage; the main legible words are key to my project – English, Vietnam, belong. It’s for these reasons that I prefer the video below.



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