Saturday, March 26, 2011

Tripping and Tropos: A few examples of video clips

With the final projects in mind I have been trying to take video of Barcelona that shows how I experience the city, both in the broader context and in a more subjective way. For instance, when I first arrived, I was impressed by the big crowds that are the trademark of a dense urban environment -- big contrast to my small-town upbringing. In this brief clip, I try to show the crowd of shoppers on one of Barcelona's big tourist and shopping districts.

But this second video clip shows the crowd from a different perspective, to convey what it's like to navigate a busy crowd of foreigners. I was really trying to show the experience of being crammed in with tons of strangers and catch the babble of Spanish in the background that sounded so strange when I first arrived. This shot is different from the others because it's taken while moving inside the crowd, and from a lower angle. The low angle emphasizes the people as intimidating and/or obstacles to movement, and the motion of the camera viewpoint demonstrates the street as a path to be navigated, not just a stationary space. I especially like the way that people's backs move suddenly in and out of the near foreground. They are all wearing heavy coats which make them appear very solid. It captures the experience that I constantly have of nearly tripping over people who seem to be moving erratically and blocking my path unexpectedly. Humans do not always behave in a rational manner.

Unfortunately, however, my hand is not as steady as I thought it would be. The shakeyness of the shot reminds me of those old Star Trek episodes where the camera shakes and sparks shoot out of the computers whenever there's an explosion. I guess they still do that in action movies. Maybe it helps to convey the action of the place, or... maybe it will just make the viewers motion-sick. I'll probably try this same shot again with a smoother motion, in different places and from different perspectives. An angle above the crowd might be interesting to show the overall flow of the urban streetscape.

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