Sunday, August 30, 2009


Another odd little video that I finally finished this morning: "Boxcar."

What do you do when your neighbour parks his junker car on your front lawn? You turn it into a constructive project.

I took my camera and tripod and filmed every piece of the car that I considered to be interesting. Since the horizon was rarely level with the car itself, I made a decision to always orient the camera based on the car's surfaces, which I think was a mistake: it causes the surrounding surfaces (roads, hedges, etc.) to appear skewed in a distracting sort of way.

Eventually I got the hang of avoiding reflections, and I also realized that late-afternoon light is very pretty when it bounces off metal.

My original idea was to mix the video clips with painstakingly hand-edited stills of the car, to make it look like a cartoon in the midst of a live landscape. Then I decided that it was a "too-tricky-clever" idea without any real point.

And since I was reading Iain Sinclair's "Lights Out for the Territory," I found myself getting more interested in the style of a film he frequently wrote about: "London" by Patrick Keiller. I hadn't seen the film at the time, but Sinclair's description of droll narration, motionless camera, and no-nonsense cuts was subconsciously inspiring...I was also thinking about Peter Greenaway's "The Falls." By referencing objects in the clips themselves, I wrote a little story and tried to find images that reflected the mood (rather than the content) of the clips.

I intercut with black frames to break the monotony of the images, and I threw a deliberately glitchy shot into the middle for the same reason. The background sounds are the ones from the clips themselves, with rougher sounds (like busses) removed and lots of denoising to compensate for my camera's crappy mic.

I hope you like it!


Lois said...

I love the video!

Adam Thornton said...

Thanks Lois! I hope it invokes strong memories of Union Blvd!