Saturday, February 27, 2010

Video - Speed + Music = [sigh]?

Slow Snow - Медленный снег (ART) from Andrey Stvolinsky on Vimeo. (via Bits & Pieces)

After watching this hypnotic slow-motion video of everyday city living on a snowy day in Russia, I got to wondering what it is about slow-motion that changes the whole atmosphere of what we are watching?

Sure, the music playing lends to the vibe, but even with the music turned down (the gorgeous "To Build A Home" - The Cinematic Orchestra), this video (and I would argue this for almost any slo-mo video) still evokes some sort of poignancy, even when the subject matter isn't inherently sad. I mean, in this video there's kids playing on the ice, a silly face someone drew on a mound of snow, a guy in a giant Homer Simpson costume for crying out loud! All this and tons of other seemingly upbeat or at least neutral images. Yet we still get this feeling... not exactly melancholy, that's not quite the right word. But maybe more of a feeling of, "Man, I miss these people!"

Huh? I've never even met these people! Still...

So, a followup question: is this reaction universal or are we the product of a lifetime of exposure to Hollywood manipulation, folks who figured out the power of this technique long ago? Would someone who had never seen a movie or TV show before get the same reaction?

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Leslie (manx_cat) said...

The other day my 9-year-old daughter was watching a movie and I said, "Oh look! Here comes the slo-mo!" (I'm working on turning her into a cynic:))

Hoosteeno said...

Slow motion video favors the peripheral shade, the muscular twitch, the splash and the spray -- all these components of everyday experience that we never actually see because we're focused on the primary actors who are hurtling around us in realtime. Watching it gives us a glimpse into how much beauty we're missing, all the time.

captnkurt said...

Nicely stated, Hoosteeno.

Has anyone else noticed an increase in the technique where one person stays in the frame in "real-time" (or some simulacrum thereof) while other people move about in the background in stop-motion?

A recent example I just saw while watching "The Hangover" DVD the other night. Alan is sitting still at the blackjack table while people zoom around him and his pile of chips keeps growing.

captnkurt said...

@Leslie (manx_cat)

Nothing wrong with showing her a peek at "the man behind the curtain".