Undergraduate Honors Theses

Thesis Defended

Spring 2012

Document Type

Thesis

Department

Film Studies

First Advisor

Christina Battle

Abstract

My interest in light as a film concept began my sophomore year in college. I had just been introduced to 16mm film: the texture of the grain, the depth and range of the intermixed white, grey, and black with palettes of green, blue, and yellow was astounding. The possibilities of creation were now limitless, for not only was color intensified but the film frame was now an individual piece of art. Film is composed entirely of light. It cannot exist without a light source, light bouncing off a subject onto the film’s emulsion in order to create an exposure. I became fascinated with light as my central concept because it was the element that makes the entire medium possible, yet it was not being explored in an artistic approach, which has been my goal from the start: to create a film that is aesthetically pleasing while also non-verbally addressing the endless capacity of light to act as a captivating illuminator of one’s environment. Early experiments and test rolls were primarily concerned with capturing light from an interesting point-of-view or reinterpreting familiar settings, like car headlights or streetlamps, from a new perspective. These experiments evolved as I’ve spent this last year shooting my thesis film, taking what I’ve learned and applying it to different conceptions, such as using a sheet of plexiglass as a filter. I work entirely in natural light, making the sun my primary source of wattage, yet I am interested in the layering of differing landscapes atop one another and connecting the superimposed images with a string of either rhythmic time-lapsed traffic lights or hidden behind hand-painted plexiglass filters. The use of time-lapse and painted plexiglass is to highlight the light’s form by placing it against a separate backdrop, to focus on the shape of the artificially produced headlights or light’s refraction through the semi-transparent paint. If light were photographed head-on, it would appear white, having removed all the film’s emulsion and appearing as an overexposed image.

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