SOFT CINEMA explores 4 ideas:
1. "Algorithmic Cinema."
Using a script and a system of rules defined by the
authors, the software controls the screen layout, the number
of windows and their content. The authors can choose to exercise
minimal control leaving most choices to the software; alternatively
they can specify exactly what the viewer will see in a particular
moment in time. Regardless, since the actual editing is performed
in real time by the program, the movies can run infinitely
without ever exactly repeating the same edits.
2. "Macro-cinema." If a computer user employs windows
of different proportions and sizes, why not adopt the similar
aesthetics for cinema?
3. "Multimedia cinema." In Soft Cinema, video is
used as only one type of representation among others: 2D
animation, motion graphics, 3D scenes, diagrams, maps, etc.
4. "Database Cinema." The media elements are selected
from a large database to construct a potentially unlimited
number of different narrative films, or different
versions of the same film. We also approach database
as a new representational form in its own right. Accordingly,
we investigate different ways to visualise Soft Cinema databases.
SOFT CINEMA explores 4 ideas:
1. The first is algorithmic
editing of media materials. Each video clips used in Soft
Cinema is assigned keywords which describe both the "content"
of a clip (geographical location, presence of people
in the scene, etc.) and its "formal" properties
(dominant color, dominant line orientation, contrast, camera
movement, etc.). Some of the keywords are generated automatically
using image processing software while others are input by
hand. The program (written in LINGO) assembles the video track
by selecting clips one after another using a system rules
(i.e. an algorithm). Diffirent systems of rules are possible:
for instance, selecting a clip which is closest in color or
type of motion to the previous one; selecting a clip which
matches the previous one party in content and party in color,
repalcing only every other clip to create a kind of parallel
montage sequence, and on on.
2. The second idea is database narrative.
Rather than beginning with a script and then creating media
elements which visualise it, I investigate a diffirent paradigm:
starting with a large database and then generating narratives
from it. In Soft Cinema, The media elements are selected from
a database of a few hundred video clips to construct a potentially
unlimited number of different short films.
3. The third idea is what I call macro-cinema.
While filmmakers such as Peter Greenaway and Mike Figgis have
already used a multi-screen format for fiction films, thinking
about the visual conventions of Graphical User Interface as
used in computer culture gives us a diffirent way to do macro-cinema.
If a computer user employs windows of diffirent proportions
and sizes, why not adopt the similar aesthetics for cinema?
In Soft Cinema, the generation of each video begins with the
computer program semi-ranomly breaking the screen into a number
of square regions of diffeirent dimensions. During the playback
diffeirent clips are assigned to diffirent regions. In this
way, software determines both temporal and spatial organisation
of a work, i.e. both sequencing of clips and their composition.
4. The forth idea is to create a multi-media
cinema. In Soft Cinema video is used as just one type
of representation among others: 2D animation, motion graphics
(i.e. animated text), stills, 3D scenes (as in computer games),
diagrams, etc. In addition, Soft Cinema supplements a "normal"
video image with other types of lens-based imagery commonly
used today by industry, science, medicine and military: the
low res web cam image, an infrared image, edge-detected image
as employed in computer vision, etc. While some music videos
and artist videos already mix some of these different types
of imagery in one work, Soft Cinema assigns each type of imagery
to a separate window in order to dramatize the new status
of normal video, photographic and film image today
no longer the dominant but just one source of visual
information about reality among many others. The additional
inspiration for using different representation of the same
scene next to each other comes from the display setups used
in medecine, aviation and other contemporary workplaces. Finally,
rather than simply using these diffirent types of representation
for a purely visual effect, Soft Cinema investigates the possibilities
of using them together for fictional narration.