Thursday, May 10, 2012

Uses of Digital Distortion Techniques in Filmmaking

The vast digital world we now live in opens endless doors for remixing and reimagining both visual and audio effects through digitally- altered imagery and sound. Filmmakers are increasingly turning to new technology to create digital master pieces, rather than using traditional techniques and methods. It is this new generation of experimental film-makers that is pushing new boundaries and using over-saturated colour and distorted sound to inject new life into both visual and audio landscapes.


Below is a selection of brilliant examples of digital distortion, shown through some of the most prominent young filmmakers using these techniques to signify their work. Also, this article looks at Hit Film, an easy-to-install programme that enables digital filmmakers to experiment with their own work.

Yoshi Sodeoka -

Yoshi Sodeoka is a visual artist and filmmaker based in the USA, and originally from Japan. He currently produces digital videos that have been manipulated, altered and enhanced to create hypnotic, hyper-saturated, abstract results. He uses primary colours, distorted into a kaleidoscope of patterns. He is currently working on a project with a musician, Daron Murphy, to develop a series of videos that have been inspired by the psychedelic rock era, combined with Greek mythology. He uses digital distortion techniques to bring his inspiration to life.

Ryan Trecartin -

Ryan Trecartin is an American artist and filmmaker from America. He makes digital movies inspired by the fast, cut throat world of internet communication. He uses techniques such as voice manipulation, over-layering graphics, adding text and editing in a frenzied, abstract manner. His films are chaotic in nature and often contain narratives. Storylines are blurred due to his purposely confusing style of editing. He uses distortion to portray the vastness and frenzy of the online world, portraying a dark and disturbing picture of the internet. He reflects his use of distortion through his films’ eccentric characters; he adds unnatural amounts of colours to each one – going overboard on hues. His sped up filming techniques require the viewer’s full attention; clashes of colour and abstract sound make following what’s going on a purposely difficult challenge.

Kenneth Tin-Kin Hung -

Kenneth Tin-King Hung is a digital filmmaker who was born in Hong Kong. His speciality is remixing images and sounds of pop culture, politics and modern communications through innovative, digitally distorted filming.  He draws on digitalised graphics that play on the aesthetic of video games to portray a cynical view of modern society. He uses hyper saturation and exaggerated hues to portray satire and has since been commissioned by music producer Felix Da Housecat – an artist also known for his dark projections about society through his work.

Home software

There are now many great software packages available for those wishing to experiment with digital distortion – both visual and audio – that are compatible with most computers. One computing company producing software is is FXHome. Its programme, Hit Film, is one of the best available for adding all kinds of special effects and digital distortion techniques. Hit Film allows the user to create cutting- edge visual effects, motion tracking, colour alteration and 3D compositing. Its 3D camera has optional depth of field, and can blur layers based on their relative distance from the lens. Hit Film Ultimate’s 3D facility allows interaction of layers and particle simulations. Other facilities include fine tuning, masks, invisibility, cloning, temporal effects, lighting and shadowing effects, and green screen editing facilities. It also comes with visual additions, such as blood spray, light swords, gun fire, lightening and lens flares.

Like with all filming equipment, make sure you invest in a good contents insurance plan, as not only is the hardware pricey but once you add on the software we're talking about a sizable investment; these programmes are rather pricey – Hit Film prices start at $149 for the standard version, $399 for the Ultimate version and $647 for the studio version.

For those able to splash out on Hit Film Studio – the top level version – you can expect an easy-to-use package for beginners that also adequately fulfils the needs of advanced digital filmmakers, combining video editing, advanced compositing in 2D and 3D and visual effects. The Studio package has features to rival any professional filmmaking studio, with highlights including a vocal eraser tool, which can easily extract unwanted vocals from films including removing vocals from songs; stereoscopic 3D; video compositing; colour correction, and surround sound mixing.