Life as a GRACE Intern: Filming the Installations

As the second week of interning with GRACE continues, I’ve been given the opportunity to create the Installation videos for the upcoming GAPS Exhibition.  I’ve previously worked with iMovie only recreationally, making slideshow/videos as gifts for friends or relatives.  Yet, the more I utilize iMovie, the more I find new capabilities and uses within the program.

My first video for GRACE on Mike Shaffer’s installation of his three sculptures: The Way to Be, Earthquake, and Monument to the Sun and Stars required techniques that I knew were possible within iMovie but had not actually used before.  My approach to such situations has always been to “dive in,” learning along the way.  The main issue I faced was extracting the audio from the video of Mike Shaffer’s statement, and layering that audio over other scenes of Shaffer constructing the work.  After exhausting all of my own ideas, I caved into using the “HELP” option within iMovie.

Regardless of my personal aversion to using the help option, Mac Help is extremely resourceful.  Having used PC computers up until my Freshman year of college, my successes on the Mac are a direct result of the in-depth descriptions of every problem scenario possible within Mac Help.

With the problem of incorporating audio from one video on top of another video solved, I could really get started.  Of course, once one problem was resolved, another developed.  As I went through the 45 minutes of footage for the what would ultimately become a 4 minutes and 27 second video, I realized I needed more footage.  Not that the footage Leanna and I collected wasn’t useful, but as I developed ideas for the style of the video, the footage we had didn’t match those ideas.  The lack of enough footage is the main note I am taking from the initial Mike Shaffer video of his installation at Pop Up@SOMA.  Whereas beforehand I blindly filmed basic shots of the installation, now I realize the more footage the better.

The main inspiration for each video depends on the artists themselves.  As I record the installation, speak with the artist throughout the construction, and record their statement afterward I try to have the personality and experiences of the artist drive the video.

As I produce these videos I have come to realize the process in which the artwork is installed is as much part of the composition as the piece.  Each artist has been dramatically different in their approach to setting up their work, yet few museum audiences have access to these processes.  I hope my videos provide a different perspective on the artwork being exhibited that might continue future interest in GRACE’s gallery.

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