Fortschritt – Process Blog

The first challenge was picking the right poem that could be interpreted in the form of a stop motion film – not only regarding the rhythm but also the content. Since I wanted to experience the visualizing of German poetry and since I’ve always enjoyed reading Rilke, I decided to choose the poem called “Fortschritt” (“Progress”). There are, of course, numerous ways of interpreting but I decided not to take the lines literally but instead to connect it with a more current issue like urbanization. Next, the questions that arose were how to build up a “city” and how to convey the message that “nothing is more constant than change”? The answer struck me while I was having breakfast drinking coffee. Wouldn’t the cups serve perfectly as little buildings? Due to my increased consumption of caffeine and the help of my friends, I soon had enough cups to get started. I just had to buy scissors, aluminium foil and blue paper and I was ready for filming.

The shooting was probably the most difficult part of the process. First, I had to cut the cups in order to get the effect of the city constructing itself and I had to find the perfect spot for the camera so that only the blue background would be in the frame. To see how the city develops, I thought it would be best to start with the picture of a single cup and to introduce the other elements step by step. I tried to change the angle of the camera from time to time so that the audience could really get in touch with the environment of the scene and, moreover, it was a great trick to keep  the continuity of the shots up whenever I accidentally deranged the cups or moved the tripod. I wanted to cover the “buildings” with silver foil as a symbol of progress. Therefore, I had to wrap all the props with aluminium foil. Honestly speaking, that was a huge effort and really time-consuming but now, knowing how it turned out, I can say that it was worth it.  To show the circulation of change, I decided that the last picture should again be the image of the single cup. So I had to destroy the little city and although I felt a bit sorry to damage what I had just created, it was kind of fun.

This time the editing was less complicated because working with stills is definitely easier than with longer clips. While matching the sound with the visuals, an idea occurred to me. What about emphasizing the message of the film by using special video filters? After trying different kinds of effects, my final choice was to start the video uncolored and then colorizing it in the middle right before the foil came up!

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