1st Edition

Experimental Filmmaking BREAK THE MACHINE

By Kathryn Ramey Copyright 2016
    416 Pages
    by Routledge

    416 Pages
    by Routledge

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    Become a master in the influential, diverse, and highly innovative field of experimental filmmaking. Harness the little-known techniques and subtle aesthetics required for this imagination-driven art form.

    For the first time in a single volume, Kathryn Ramey has written a thorough, hands-on guide to the craft and processes of experimental filmmaking, showing you step-by-step the material methods that will help you begin an experimental media practice. From these lessons, following the tradition of Stan Brakhage’s A Moving Picture Giving and Taking Book and Hell Hill’s Recipes for Disaster, you’ll learn to take materials apart and put them together in new ways, use products for purposes other than those intended by their manufacturers, and free yourself from the constraints of conventional media. Experimental Filmmaking provides:

    • Full-color film stills and illustrations demonstrating various experimental filmmaking techniques
    • Step-by-step tutorials on hand-processing motion picture film, direct animation methods, optical printing, making your own microphones and other sound experiments, glitch art, and much more
    • Explanations of the historical, theoretical, and socio-political backgrounds of various experimental filmmaking movements and styles
    • Advice on how to locate experimental filmmaking communities in your region, as well as how to show and distribute your work
    • Sidebar interviews with filmmakers currently working in the genre that offer context and direction for your own projects
    • A companion website (www.focalpress.com/cw/ramey) featuring video examples from numerous films for inspiration and emulation

    Whether you’re an aspiring experimental filmmaker or mainstream practitioner who wants to incorporate alternative techniques in your films, Experimental Filmmaking: Break the Machine gives you the tools you need execute your most daring cinematic endeavors!

    Introduction; First There Was Sound; Film/Video/Digital Video Basics; Destruction/Creation/Hacking: Manipulating the Found Image; Making Something New; Darkroom Techniques; Re-purposing Film Technology; Para-cinema; Optically printing at Home; Exhibiting and Distributing Experimental Work


    Kathryn Ramey is a filmmaker and anthropologist whose work operates at the intersection of experimental film processes and ethnographic research. Her award-winning and strongly personal films are characterized by the manipulation of celluloid, including hand-processing, optical printing, and various direct animation techniques, and have been screened at film festivals and other venues around the world. Kathryn is an associate professor of filmmaking at Emerson College’s Department of Visual and Media Arts in Boston, MA.

    "Clearly, Kathryn Ramey is committed to creating a new generation of experimental filmmakers who are equipped with the tools and the intellectual savvy to be great artists and thinkers. This book provides both novice and veteran filmmakers with the momentum and the muscle to work with the moving image in their own homes. Ramey's voice is confident and encouraging. She tells us how to transform our domestic universe into a studio where great things will happen when the lights are on and off."- Lynne Sachs, Filmmaker and Recipient of a 2014 Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship in the Creative Arts.

    "Kathryn Ramey's Experimental Filmmaking is many things at once: a homespun, one-on-one personal primer (like Stan Brakhage's pioneering Moving Picture Giving and Taking Book); a plainspoken how-to technical manual (like Lenny Lipton's essential books of the 70's); a compendium of interviews with a variety of experimental filmmakers about their practice and process (like Scott MacDonald's invaluable A Critical Cinema series); and a celluloid cookbook, very much in the spirit and letter of Helen Hill's Recipes for Disaster. Both retro (including - at long last - a perfectly realized JK optical printer manual) and au courant (digital glitching techniques, etc.), Experimental Filmmaking most of all celebrates and encourages creative adventure with alternative approaches to filmmaking, and offers us recipes, roadmaps, directions, and countless helpful hints as to how to create your own alchemy. This very useful and engaging book of sprocketed (and pixeled) revelations has arrived on our doorsteps, it seems to me, right on time... I Second That Emulsion! Back to the Future!" - Phil Solomon, Professor in the Film Studies Program at the University of Colorado at Boulder

    "All in all, every educator of young people in the media business and every creative person, young or old, should have this book – hugely informative and, for any student hoping to make a career in production, great fun to read and put into practice – enjoy!" – Wendy Laybourn, Network Nine News

    "The book is a solid technical guide for understanding the experimental possibilities of film formats, and for filmmakers with limited exposure to actual film (an ever-increasing number of us), these experimental techniques might just be enough to spark an idea or two." – Jeffrey Legge, The Script Lab