Monday, July 30, 2012

Video: Non-Linear

As I'm finishing up the grading to the workshop video, I had an epiphany.

While stills are two-dimensional I consider video to be four-dimensional. The added dimensions are time and sound.

I'm going to save the sound portion for another day and really try to verbalize my thoughts on time in video.

As human beings, we experience time linearly. We're on a one-way train from A to B. There's no going back. There's no rewriting history. There's no changing the past. Likewise there's no telling the future.

But what if you could?

And that is perhaps the most powerful element of video. As storytellers we can rewrite the script in a non-linear fashion to tell new stories. Having just watched Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, I noticed exactly that about Charlie Kaufman and Michel Gondry's story. And it got me to thinking...

While we we live life linearly, I believe we experience life non-linearly. Through memories. Through predictions. Through assumptions. Through stories, books, images, videos and other vehicles of capture. And the more creative, imaginative and sometimes delusional we are, the more fantastic we are at storytelling. It's why editing video sometimes makes my spine tingle. It's why I sometimes smile/laugh uncontrollably when watching a segment I've edited. And while I love still images, there isn't a still image in the world that makes me feel the way I feel when watching something move.

And there's something godly and manipulative about controlling time. Whether it's watching a hair flip in reverse or telling a story backwards to captivate the audience long enough for a twist ending. While it's conceptually foreign since time is linear, non-linear storytelling feels so natural and tangibly human when you see/experience the final product.

I suppose when I'm editing, I'm really letting people into my world. The world as I perceive it. A world non-linear and sometimes a little abstract. Very visual and hopefully emotionally stimulating. It's a world that is selective about the "rules" that work and don't work. For each video there's a specific construct; a construct built upon the non-linear nature of storytelling. A construct that allows me to compose new worlds with each video.

No, I'll never stop shooting stills. After all, stills and video are mated for life like swans. But the experience of shooting and editing video is rapturous and captivating like a pheromone. There's nothing quite like it.

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