Deadlines and Presentation

11Jan10

My final dilemma of this project is that of presentation. I have been thinking that in order to be authentic and true to the original way in which each media would now and would have then been displayed, that I should do a projector slide show for the slides with some method of having a sound track played alongside, still keeping to the laptop computer for showing the digital images.

The problem with this is that the last slide show I made with a soundtrack was when I was at the London College of Printing and because it was synced, much like this, it required me to stand in the little room at the back of the theatre and manually change each slide to the music after I’d pressed play on the tape recorder! This seems so primative now and I’m sure there is a digital projector avaliable these days which can handle a DVD with soundtrack but to be honest I can’t escape how much I prefer the aesthetics of the work I make on actual screens. This was the same for my independant project. So my dilemma is this; is it enough to make a presentation decision for my work based on the fact that I favour a certain way of working, style or look, and if not and we compromise the luxury that is the personal preference of the artist for the sake of the concept then what makes the work we make inherently ours? Not to be too precious about it or anything… 

Having said this, if I felt like this was a pivotal point and that the work would not communicate successfully within it’s current state then of course I would change the method, but actually I don’t feel this way. I remember the feeling of excitement I felt as a child when my Dad used to set up the projector and screen because it felt like a real spectacle, an event to counteract the boredom. (Although from the research I’ve been doing for my dissertation I think that boredom is an interesting word in relation to home movie showings). I remember the little breaks when he would change the reel and the lights would come on. Soon after, probably because of the inconvenience of storing of the equipment for those rare shows my family had our cine camera footage put onto VHS. There were titles to signifiy the start of each new film reel because it was assumed that you’d still want to remember which was which, and for the entire duration the footage was accompanied by a weird and endlessly repeatative folk music soundtrack poorly chosen by the video editing guy. My point here is that to me it seems familiar to view family imagery on a T.V screen, yes our footage didn’t consist of slide photographs like the ones I am using, but had we have taken slide photographs, I’m sure that these would have been converted too.

The viewing experience wasn’t much different after the conversion, only the lights stayed down and we got the bonus and somewhat questionable benefits of this added soundtrack. I think this is perhaps why when thinking about creating this project my thoughts turned to DVD as a way to allow me to combine both. Also Adobe Encore  has allowed me to add in a title menu meaning that if this were displayed in a gallery context the film would only begin when there is someone there to view it and they push play, meaning that I didn’t have to loop it which would drive everyone insane (being quite a short piece). The same option is avaliable for the laptop and I forsee that the two would be placed far apart enough to still be related but just out of earshot of each other negating the need for headphones and the singular viewing experience.

The main thing about the DVD format is that it keeps image and sound synced in the exact way I intended (control freak…who me?) which I think ultimately does make all the difference to the meaning of the piece as that juxtaposition is the work in essence.

I’m not absolutely keen on borrowing the TV and DVD from uni as the speakers on the TV were rubbish last time and the DVD player skipped the start of the film so I may source my own equipment to avoid these issues. Also some external speakers for the laptop would be good as I know that laptop speakers are a bit limited. It may seem contradictory that I’m trying to improve the equipment that I use to display this and that this isn’t really embracing the authentic experience of using said equipment, part of it being that it never really was perfect when we showed our footage on an old TV. I just want to strike a balance between getting the optimum out of the audio without compromising any of the aforementioned presentation intentions.

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