Notes on Editing/Filming/Presentation

By Courtney

Before we began filming, we started talking about how we would edit the film. We recognized the dangerous proclivity of filmmakers to shape the images they record and turn the real settings they filmed into contexts that don’t exist. So we devised a filming and editing method that attempted not to do that. When we filmed, we recorded all of the space in a given location and all of the immediate surrounding space to contextualize these spaces in specific places. During the editing process, we made a decision to stay away from decontextualized sound bites and allowed our interviewee’s thought processes come out—so as not to misrepresent them or to make something they said seem concrete, when in reality they were visibly and verbally still thinking about an issue. We also made sure to include all footage of the actual physical spaces and places, to allow the viewer to see fully what we ourselves saw within the spaces.
Additionally, we focused on movement while we were editing and filming. We thought it was appropriate and most accountable to have viewers experience the frequency of our arrivals to and departures from cities, places, spaces, and people while we were researching and filming. In addition, the feeling of movement in the film is meant to recognize the shifting nature of communities, individuals and organization within “infoshop culture.” As Liz comments at the end of the film, it is as if movement and travel are oftentimes used by many people in “infoshop culture” as an attempt to get back a sense of place or to create a place for themselves in the world. This idea of motion and inbetweenness as place really resounded with us, as we crisscrossed the country on Amtrak.
In contrast to our attention to movement, we also took time to make space for silence and stillness, as a way to create breaks in the film for small amounts of thought to go on uninterrupted by more stimulation. The most notable, for me, is the break after Mike from ‘Q is for Choir’ talks about the difference between the sanctioned public space of a Portland Community Garden and the fluid public space of the garden at Liberty Hall. The gardens back up to one another and the visual impact of the juxtaposition is impressive. The Portland Community Garden is almost awkward in the way it is sectioned off. But, when you turn around it is hard to tell where Liberty Hall’s garden starts and “the lawn” begins. Even though they have the same function, it is interesting the way that different minds engage with similar concepts.
While I’m writing about concepts I’d like to touch on why we decided to present our film in images that are more visibly pixilated. It was a mistake, but it was a happy mistake that allowed Liz and me to come to terms with a reality of filmmaking. The images we are able to record aren’t reality—they are only a distorted reflection of it. Even if our images can tell a credible, accountable and thoughtful story and explore meaningful questions, we see that there still must be an acknowledgement of the media and its effects on what is viewed and therefore
judged. By making a decision to keep the film in its compressed form we made a decision to keep ourselves and the audience informed of the reality of the images we are watching. They are digitized, manipulated images. To us, it is an interesting, and possibly more authentic, way to have the media itself be reflexive.

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