An Analysis of ‘Imagination’ by Marc Donahue

I have honestly been fascinated by this project as a whole.  Produced by Marc Donahue Roth Rind (Rind-Raja Picture Company) who from what I can tell, live for making films that have close relation to our emotions as human beings.  Rind’s ‘About’ page on the companies website quotes:

“Motion pictures have a tremendous ability to communicate emotions and ideas. Rind-Raja Picture Company is dedicated to the art of enabling your vision and helping the world see what you already do.”

This is where I began understanding which direction I wanted my imagination piece to go.  By using the SnapChat filters, I am able to make the idea of constructing a child’s point of view very current, aiming to make the visual content relatable for viewers that regularly use the app.  I also want to explore the idea that film is a great way to communicate emotions and ideas in order to create the desired mood, a nostalgic insight into a child’s imagination.

Upon my first viewing (of a total of about 25 plays by now), the choice of music produced  by Jordan Corey, captivated my attention.  The well known Charlie and the Chocolate Factory theme tune, Over The Rainbow enforced an instant feeling of nostalgia, and the visuals complimented this soundtrack perfectly.

The short film follows a young boy through his imagination in the space of four minutes. Taking viewers on a journey through time and space through the use of stop motion.

Conceptual Analysis

The concept of nostalgia is a great way to communicate types of imagination through film. I often come across media that takes me back to a time in my life, whether it was a big event or not.

This piece has tapped into the memories of viewers with some common childhood comforts such as:

  • Mario
  • Willy Wonka
  • Ghostbusters
  • Toy Story
  • Walking a giraffe on a skateboard (perhaps not so recognisable, but an example of where a child’s imagination can take them: the power of the young imagination)
  • Disney World
  • Lego Land
  • Monopoly
  • …and much more

As a 90’s kid, I am familiar with each one of these, thus the reference to these and consistency of interaction with them throughout the short transported me straight back to that time period of my life.

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Visual & Audio Analysis

“Hold your breath, make a wish, count to three…”

Personally, I think that the audio was pretty much spot on.  I have read mixed views in regard to the choice of music, mostly from the older generation.  This is an example of how associations can change over time, as as a younger person I can appreciate the remix.

Watching this for the first couple of times, I just sat in awe wondering “how the hell did they do that?’.  One of the most interesting parts of all the visuals for me was the scenes shot in the children’s bedroom.  The precision, time and patience it must have taken to successfully produce that level of animation is something that really interests me.

Hologram Scene:  not just a single way of expressing memory, they have also used holograms to refer to the video games we may have played as youngsters.  How did they achieve this?  With the use of a green screen and a projector, I’m guessing they used overlays in order to make these images appear in the correct location.

As the film comes to a close, the character moves to the bottom of the bed.  We realise that he is now an adult.  The animation of the things in his room stops briefly, as he looks at himself in the mirror; perhaps representing the notion that things have now become clearer and less animated as he has grown up.  However, he still has all of his toys which we see in the final shot as he stands holding hands with Mario…NOSTALGIA!

Technical Analysis

Primary use of the Red Epic for this project, but also captured a lot of sequences with the Canon 5D Mark III and the Sony A7 (The Alpha a7 Mirrorless Digital Camera).

Tricks and Techniques

  • GoPro Hero 4 for unique perspective filming
  • Stop-motion
  • Bullet-time
  • Time-lapse
  • Time-slice
  • Lyric lapsing (Donahue): the synchronisation of character’s mouth movements and the music. The breakdown of the sound word by word in order to decide what sounds happen in each part.

The duration of the filming process was supposed to be 60 days, however it ended up taking a year and a half to shoot.  Donahue tells PetaPixel in an interview that they went away with around 12 terabytes of content…that’s A LOT of content for such a short video.

What I have learnt from this

By watching the Behind the Scenes video, I have been able to comprehend how much time and effort actually went in to creating this piece.  Personally, stop motion has never really interested me that much…but now I have been encouraged to research more about how to begin the process of learning how to create it myself.

Back to the theme of imagination and my artefact,  I am still happy to go ahead with my interpretation of a child’s imagination in an attempt to create a similar effect on the viewer to that of this piece.  Whether it will work or not, who knows?  But that is what motivates me to produce something cool.

Although I do know yet have all of the knowledge or equipment required in the stop motion area, I feel as though my use of SnapChat filters could really push this project to encourage the creation of something new and innovative, as well as being experimental.

Bibliography

Rind-Raja picture company (2016) Available at: http://www.rind-raja.com (Accessed: 28 November 2016).
Davies, B. (2015) About Bronwyn. Available at: http://bronwyndavies.com.au/about-bronwyn (Accessed: 28 November 2016).
PermaGrinFilms (2015) ‘Imagination’ by PermaGrinFilms in 4K. Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qB8Aqpt93O4 (Accessed: 28 November 2016).
Donahue, M. (2015) ‘Imagination’: Behind the Scenes. Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oXWQGQuPTUk (Accessed: 28 November 2016).

Featured Image & photo content:

Famà, M. (2015) Make your day in only 4 minutes watching the best lyric-lapse ever. Available at: http://timelapsenetwork.com/video/make-your-day-in-4-minutes-best-lyric-lapse/ (Accessed: 28 November 2016).
Zhang, M. (2015) This stop-motion video of a child’s imagination took 1.5 years to make. Available at: http://petapixel.com/2015/10/01/this-stop-motion-video-of-a-childs-imagination-took-1-5-years-to-shoot/ (Accessed: 28 November 2016).
Frost, J. (2015) Videopolis: Imagination time-lapse video includes Disneyland. Available at: http://thedisneyblog.com/2015/10/22/videopolis-imagination-time-lapse-video/ (Accessed: 28 November 2016).
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