α ↔ ω : An Introduction

2009.11.25 in school and video

I realized recently that I never actually introduced this project; a lot of people around me have already heard about it (or been directly affected by it, by being asked to put up with shutter noise every minute for the last few days or to fill up bowls with water), so I forgot! The basic idea is that I don't like filming people, because schedules are hard to coordinate, it's hard to find people who are convincing actors, etc.; I also don't like the quality of video that comes from the PDX-10s (or, to be honest, the higher-end-but-older-PD-170s) that the school provides for us to use. I don't have access to a video camera at all that would satisfy me, quality-wise, as I come from the super-crisp world of still photography!

Anyway; I decided I wanted to do something completely avoiding both human actors and video cameras for my final video project (after having dealt with both of these things for the first two projects, to reasonable success — but without a lot of comfort). So I proposed a short (~5 minute) video on "the birth and death of things". This elicited a "what!? you have 80 years?!" from one of my classmates; I noted that "things" in this case would be plants, and perhaps insects (molds/fungi have since been added to the list), since they are a) easy to give life to, and b) legal to kill within the timeframe of the project ;-)

So now I have to take video, with my DSLR (and my old Nikon point-'n-shoot; I need lots of video!), of a bunch of plants being born (and, later, dying). I ordered a ton of growing supplies: lights, greenhouse domes, seeds, pots, soilless mix, etc., as well as some fabric and various other supplies.

The initial plan was to fabric-off a chunk of our "porch" (it has walls on all sides, but the glass is missing from two of the windows), in order to make a situation in which I controlled all of the light in the room, so that lighting on the plants would be consistent between day and night. So, once the fabric got here, I set to work. I succeeded in making a blacked out area; unfortunately, plants didn't seem to want to grow in the mid-thirty-degree-F weather that seems to be hanging around Troy. Bummer!

Luckily, I had a set of herbs (basil, dill, and something else which I can never remember even though I look it up every day — it's cilantro!) growing in the warmth of our kitchen windowsill. When I got back to Troy this Sunday, the basil was just starting to pop out, so I decided to put it under the camera. I ended up taking apart my dresser to fabricate a warm completely-enclosed growing space; this is currently the most successful of my growing areas (the third is under my desk; I believe that success is just a few days off there — unfortunately, I'm leaving for Thanksgiving later today!).

So, yeah! That's the plan, anyway!

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