Wednesday, October 29, 2008

COPYSHOP

Virgil Widrich, 2001
Experimental


(Clip on Cinema 16's Youtube Channel)

Sources:
Cinema 16 : European Short Films
and
The Best of Resfest: Vol 2

This is by far my favorite short film. The story: man accidentally photocopies his hand and consequently himself. The copy of himself copies itself. Soon there is nothing but copies of himself everywhere and he must put to a stop to the machine that created the copies that are filling up the world around him.

Seems pretty straightforward. Well, gosh, Kylos that's not that experimental. In fact, it sounds just barely engaging at all.

Putting aside the Dr Seussian metaphors we can draw from the photocopies filling up the world (need anything from walmart?... starbucks can you answer the door?... what' the latest on cloning technology?..... i'm going to name my kid "internet meme") and the lessons to learn... let's examine a particular production path taken by the director that is decidedly experimental and just a tad bit evil genius.

First... they shot the film, way back on antique state of the art dv equipment in 2000. They used partial sets and one main actor. Then they used green screen technology and compositing software to flesh out the environment and add more and more versions of the character.
Pretty straightforward approach for copying a dude a ton of times. Hell, I can do that right now with the software i use everyday. I composited six of myself while typing this.
But wait... there's more!

Then they printed out EVERY FREAKIN FRAME of the film (it amounted to about 18,000 print outs) and then PHOTOCOPIED them all. Are you with me? Then they photographed each copy of the film with a 35mm film camera so that what you're watching is a copy art approach to telling the story. In a sense, they've inherited Stan Brackage's Mothlight technique and adapted it to Copy Art. See what I mean.... evil genius.

For more info, including a short documentary on the making of the film - here's the website.
I couldn't find a full clip online, so if you want to watch the whole thing... I've got two copies you can borrow.

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