Hard to believe it's been nearly three years since we shot "Resonance." Kerri Canedy is a fine choreographer and friend. We had wanted to find a way to work together. We started thinking about projecting video onto dancers, live, but the hardware at the University where she teaches was rather limited. The idea emerged that we should film the entire project and then project the finished piece. I thought about having them dance in front of a blue screen... then the thought of erasing a dancer's body and replacing it with moving video started to appeal to me. I pitched it to Kerri and she became exited about the prospect. She had a small budget, enough to buy some blue suits, and believe me, after a couple of tests and then the actual shoot-inside a library, on a stage, and out in the snow, the feet were wearing off of these things.
We shot during two days, I think, the idea was to have a sort of 'history of modern dance' playing on the dancers' bodies while our figure, Charlie, watches on. Charlie is not REALLY an elderly man, he was made up to be. It just seemed right- to have someone who has 'seen' this evolution, watch it take place within the dancers. The five dancers were selected by Kerri- they enrolled in a special projects course with her and had very little time to work out a few progressions before we needed to shoot- there was another production occupying the stage we would need. We got REALLY lucky with the weather. Blizzards aren't so rare up here, but you can't schedule one! We're having one today, that's what made me think of this project.
Here's a snippet of the test- sometimes it's difficult to repeat something magical that happens during a test. I wish I knew how to capture lightning in a bottle. All you can really do is learn from it, see if you can use it for something else, and move on. There are certainly some things I like better about this informal test. You can't have it all. Well, maybe you can.... I'll keep trying. We learned a few things from the test, what worked, what didn't. I really like the 2-D effect that takes place. You get a real flattening of the bodies from this. It might be nice to experiment with the opposite- overlay some video and then apply a convex/concave effect to it...
We had a great team of dancers, I never heard any complaints as we shot for an hour or two in the blizzard. They were committed, and importantly, they were aware that we weren't going to be done in 10 minutes. Selina did an amazing job with Charlie, I really don't think you'd guess he's only 30 +/-.
We faced many challenges during the shoot, no doubt, but a good deal of challenges were ahead of me when I moved into the edit. Kerri supplied me with the names of dancers and choreographers, but I had to do a lot of digging around in a quest for interesting footage to overlay. Where to put it? How to position it? These were decisions that took time, and as I was still using Final Cut 7 then I had to render or export every short sequence just to get a good look.
Dances are a lot of fun to edit. It's not like sports - where you have a one-off never repeated event. Dances are a series of repeated movements. This made it relatively easy to cut, as I always knew what was coming next. There were nuances to each performance of course, that's what kept it interesting.
Once it was complete we projected it to a full house at the Spring Dance Recital. It was very well received and it was my pleasure to take the stage and bow, something I don't think I've ever really done...not in that sort of environment. I'm still a bit surprised that it hasn't had much of a life online. You never know what people will go crazy for... You really never know what will have 'Resonance.'
I guess I should mention that I borrowed one of the blue suits to make a video for my friend Kjehl's album a year later. THIS one's not for everyone. Some perhaps disturbing imagery? I don't know. I know the clown freaked some people out. I can testify that those blue suits are THIN. I was fully clothed underneath and still froze. Some great clown makeup from Kerri's husband Todd Canedy.