"In all fiction, when a man is faced with alternatives he chooses one at the expense of others. In the most unfathomable Ts'ui Pên, he chooses – simultaneously - all of them. He thus creates various futures, various times which start others that will in their turn branch out and bifurcate in other times."
-Jorge Luis Borges- The Garden of Forking Paths
A web-based multilinear film narrative.
At the heart of postmodernism is a rejection, as observed by Jean-François Lyotard, of "totalising grand narratives". It stands in contrast to modernism's drive towards progress, to know and understand our underlying universal laws. Postmodernism evinces a distrust of representations of reality that claim to be the 'true' or authoritative account, believing instead that there are multiple versions of any reality, all of which are equally valid. This perception may have its origins in twentieth century advances in physics, particularly in quantum mechanics. Our awareness of alternative and parallel times, dimensions and realities, whether disorientating or exhilarating, has fundamentally altered our perception of ourselves, our history, our reality and our relation to the world.
Eligo is unquestionably a digital product; technologically, structurally, and in cultural terms. Recorded in digital video, accompanied by an electronically produced soundtrack, sited on the web, it is entirely comprised of, and openly celebrates, digital technology. In structural terms, each video segment constitutes a 'bit' or node in a multilinear narrative web. In enabling users to influence the direction of the narrative via a series of links, it closely mirrors contemporary hypertext culture, and explicitly reflects the mutability of the digital.
A run through of the paths available.
A range of quality Dublin based performers.
Aislinn is a Trinity graduate who has been acting since 2002. She has experience in theatre and on camera.
Role Cheating Girl
In 2011, Anna graduated from UCC with a BA (Hons). At the age of seven Anna toured with theatre company Red Kettle across Ireland and Japan.
Nic trained in the Gaiety School of Acting in courses such as Page for Stage, Drama and Advanced Performance. He is a model with Assets Modelling Agency.
Role Angry Man
John Sweeney attended the Gaiety School of Acting, with training in Drama, Page for Stage Character Development and more.
Role Male Companion
The people behind Project Eligo.
Joey had lead responsibility for all filming and editing. He researched and sourced the most appropriate equipment and created the helmet-cam.
Roisín was Project Manager, responsible for organising and recording group meetings and managing the Project Plan and Budget and developed half of the Treatment for the narrative.
Role Project Manager
Saar's main responsibility was the development of the website which hosts Eligo. He was solely responsible for researching and developing the aesthetic.
Role Web Developer
Andrea's primary responsibilities were developing the script for the narrative, casting roles, and directing the actors during filming.
Role Script and Promotion
An Original Score created specifically for each section.
The music was created by selecting and combining a number of sample beat loops and synth sequences within the Garageband library to create a base for the track. Original MIDI recordings were then composed and added to each track, using the Keyboard function. As a relatively high tempo of 140 Beats Per Minute (BPM) had been established (to establish a sense of pace), the mouse-operated keyboard function proved a little clumsy for quick melodies and remedial work was required in the 'Track Editor' function to reposition and adjust the length and pitch of certain notes in order to achieve the desired melody.
There was also considerable experimentation with instrument types and compressor and filter adjustments to produce a particular sound. Most of the MIDI tracks incorporate a relatively high frequency automatic 'Up and Down' filter over 8 bars. The MIDI elements in the 'menacing piece' focus on deep bass sounds to create a sense of foreboding and threat.
The panoramic segments of the film are intended to have a distinctive aesthetic and to provide an element of stylistic variety within the film. This was therefore reflected in the music, which used a markedly higher tempo (160 BPM). In order to aid the user's understanding of the diegetic shift in perception from the 'user' character to the panoramic characters, the track also incorporated cymbal sounds and heavily filtered base sounds to signify the change to and from this narrative perspective.
Video editing, colour correction and a range of after effects.
Joey used Adobe Premiere Pro CS 5.5 to edit Eligo together. While Final Cut Pro X is provided by DCU on the iMacs on campus, Joey has Premiere Pro installed on his home PC. Out of convenience of working from home and Joey's familiarity with Adobe software, Premiere Pro was chosen. Premiere Pro also could natively interpret the .MOV files recorded from the 5D Mark II, so there was no need to transcode the footage to a different codec in order to edit it.
The branching narrative of Eligo posed many difficulties in the editing process. As many of the individual videos contained the same parts as others (e.g. the park), great care had to be taken throughout the process. Each section of the narrative was given its own timeline sequence, and then videos were exported by piecing together the appropriate sections in order. Keeping "master" sequences like this isolated each section, so that there was only ever one version of that section to edit. This avoided issues such as if one particular section in one timeline was shortened, an identical section in another timeline would remain the original length. This would have created an imbalance over two, or possibly more, narrative branches.
Colour correction was very important, the biggest issue of which was adjusting the white balance of scenes. Most of the house party scenes had a strong orange tint. The Irish weather also proved an issue, with its ability to be bright and sunny one minute, to overcast, to heavy rain the next. Two takes of an outdoor scene recorded less than a minute apart could result in drastically different exposures and colour temperatures, which needed to be adjusted for each individual clip. With the massively high number of clips and edits in Eligo, it proved very time consuming to match exposures and temperatures from clip to clip. Upon final exporting of a video, on the entire timeline, saturation was upped to 125% and a slight "S" curve was added to increase contrast. The Balloon Man's flashback scenes where we are shown his love interest are coloured using the Magic Bullet "Mojo" plug in, with the warmth increased.
A crucial component of the project is the size of the video files. Trial and error exports were undertaken at variable bitrates and pixel dimensions. While footage was recorded at 1920x1080 pixels, final videos were exported at 1280x720 pixels. Initial test footage was exported at up to 9 Mbps bitrate, but these files were too large and resulted in lots of buffering when tested. A variable bitrate of 2 Mbps (max 2.5 Mbps) at 720p, 25 frames per second with 64kbps audio was decided on as suitable settings. This resulted in a file size of roughly 5 Mb per twenty seconds of video. Coincidentally this is more or less the same bitrate YouTube encodes its 720 HD videos at, so we knew we were at a good compromise of video quality vs. file size. Files were exported as .mp4 files, then those .mp4 files were converted into one .ogv and one .webm video file to facilitate Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer and Safari browsers.
Overall the editing was a straightforward but time consuming process. Editing to a script meant the there was minimal messing around in putting together all the initial footage in order. Complications arose in having to think and plan the edit around the structure of the narrative. Time was then taken to add the more finesse aspects of the edits, such as matching to music, adding sound effects and visual effects such as blinking.
A mix of jQuery, Html 5 video tag and Css3 showcased the project.
The website construction can be divided into two parts, the styling and the coding. Initially, the coding elements were looked at. The whole conception of the project partly revolved around using a code to develop an automatic response to a video and allow an interaction from a user. Flash was discarded as a possible tool for this purpose as it does not work on many mobile devices, that was an essential component of what was being attempted. The main variables involved, those things which the website was required to do, where:
The logic behind the code should probably be highlighted. The tasks where broken down into steps: