Asset Acquisition and Assembly

At the moment I'm writing week to week, so I haven't had enough time to put together further thoughts on coffee. In it's way, what I'm discussing today though is similar, though because it has to do with what I view my more direct interests and occupations to be and how I do that work. Let's look at the process of this particular video essay I'm working on.

The topic is color cinematography. No biggie. Actually this is kind of scaled back from what I've already done in black and white. I'm going to get through my overview of color cinematography semiotics in just under six minutes, so that's already scaled back from black and white. The reasons for this are many and really require more time. What's been interesting about the process already on this upcoming video essay has been two fold.

First, how much is already set in stone (relatively) before I even lay any footage down. I picked music for this particular video essay while I was still exploring music for "Black and White" which seemed pretty early or at the very least backwards. I didn't really know what, specifically I wanted to talk about the way I had for my "Introduction to Cinematography" and "Black and White" in particular.

Frankly I think that color is slightly less interesting or complex, less enigmatic that black and white cinematography. This is a topic I explore a bit in the upcoming essay, but which could be the source of much more meditation. The feature of color cinematography being, sort of, uninteresting though, more matter of fact as is really the case, actually made a general discussion of it difficult to pin down. There's really only one or two things I feel I have to point to in the cannon of color films to say "this is what should be done in the medium."

But with one or two late night revelations, and the music for this essay playing on repeat, I settled on a direction. Very quickly a few notes were assembled. Even quicker a handwritten script was jotted down. And then I sat with all these materials--music, script, examples--for a long time. This is a dangerous step of the creative process called "preserving the spark" and this just dragged on. The reason for this being the case has to do with the second, much more practical minded departure of this essay.

So second, in my continual endeavor to improve my work, I made an investment in improving the quality of my source material. So I'm moving toward true 1080HD video for the next essay. (In fact I might go back and repost older videos with updated video.) The upshot has been, in the course of this totally ass-backwards creative process for me, that I'm spending a huge amount of time on a step I call assembly in my video essay work flow.

In this case I'm assembling in particular what I call new assets, this is the material I draw from for my video essays. My workflow at this step within a step has changed. The nature of the change means that I will probably be gathering the assets I need to make this video essay for a few weeks as I track down and acquire assets that are up to my standards. I've already been at this for over a week and that's been the easy stuff.

Additionally, and in the sort of weird order things have gone on this project, I recorded and did audio editing on my script well in advance of my usual workflow this time around. But the in ability to move forward with video assets has meant that this script and reading are similarly much more refined. That's what I've been able to work on the most at this juncture while I assemble video assets, I've cultivated particularly the quality in post on my voiceover this time around. All this change and development is very exciting.

Above all, I think this different order of assembly up to this point indicates something which I view as an integral part of my creative/productive life. I really like to be able to completely erase and restart my process based on the demands of the new project. Each project I take on--every video essay every cup of coffee--is a chance to really try everything new again. The creative process doesn't or shouldn't have any fixed steps to it, even if there are techniques which work and become habit or muscle memory.

So in many respects, as with my preceding video essays, I'm more excited about this one than I possibly should be. It's going to look better. It's going to sound better. It's going to give me a taste of another methodology toward the same end which is something I find fascinating. But it's going to be characterized by a much longer front end work period than I typically undertake or even like.