The House… That Was Lost

(Working Title)

Ashkan Forouhi

Concept: remembering the past

using randomized (guided) editing

Source: Personal Home Video Footage

Editing Workflow

[URIS id=68903]

Permanent Stream

Questions for the class:

* Ideas for the soundtrack? Narration? Video audio? Music?

* Should I use intertitles? Quotes?

* Should I have a theoretical appendix, in addition to the stream?

* Any resources you think might be helpful?

* Other suggestions or ideas? 



  1. M Oginz

    Hi Ashkan. I really enjoyed your presentation. This is a beautiful project. I like your narration of the Bachelard on the permanent stream idea. The guided editing workflow looks really cool, though I’m not totally sure I understand it. So the sequences are randomized by tags? Are you editing in Premiere, or writing a program?

    It reminds me of this lecture by Anne Carson, “On Corners” which covers a lot of topics, including Harold Pinter, the poetics of space, Greek tragedy, and Waiting for Godot:

    Like your project, Carson’s lecture is both philosophical and personal.

    As I said, I like the narration. Music could be emotionally effective, but I wonder if the nostalgia and spectrality is already redolent enough in the material itself. Something like, say, string music or some Erik Satie tinkling might feel overly dramatic here. I suggest sticking to the video sound.

    I would have to see what they look like, but intertitles could be useful here. You’re already using quotes, though I wonder if what you’re moving toward is a kind of evidentiary editing? Is the intention to demonstrate Bachelard’s exploration of space? I guess I’m not sure how essayistic/ 1:1 with Bachelard you want the piece to be.

    Not sure I understand the idea of an appendix, but that could be a good approach to organize or synthesize your sources. I think having a brief text synthesizing the inspiration of Bachelard’s poetics might be useful here.

    Don’t know if this tool will help you in this project, but you might check out Videogrep, an application for searching through dialogue in video files:

    Keep playing with this.

    • admin

      videogrep is great, but it does require a subtitle file. Maybe a few.of you don’t already know it, but there are repositories of subtitle files for a great many films online.

  2. admin

    Yes, as Max notes above, it’s a beautiful presentation–and concept. But I do worry a little about how difficult this might be do programmatically.
    That said, there is actually an interesting tool called Korsakow that allows projects similar to what Ashkan seems to be imagining. You can use keywords to group video clips (and actually images and text, too), show them in a multiple split screen format that is interactive: if you click on one clip, it will play, and bring up other clips with the same keyword. Since you can add more than one keyword to clips, it can produce interesting results. There’s a showcase of “Korsakow films” on the Korsakow site.
    It’s kind of a cool tool, but somewhat buggy (ported from an old Flash-based version), and it is not free. However, just in case anyone is interested in trying it, there is a demo version (watermarked) and a student version for $59.
    Without something like Korsakow, it should be possible to assign keywords to the clips and use those words to pull up clips with those keywords (either a random selection or as group). It might take some trial and error to make it work, though.
    As Max notes, any soundtrack would, I think, need to be spare and fairly unobtrusive, IMO.
    Theoretical appendix? (love the sound of that, but I’m also not quite sure what it would look like?). But more generally, I’m not sure I fully understand where (or maybe how?) the Bachelard or other theoretical material on space would appear? Was it going to be intermingled with the footage, separate from it, or . . . ? You may have said this during the presentation, and I just didn’t quite get it.

  3. Behrang Garakani

    I really like what you have so far with this project. RL’s fears about the programmatic side of things can be mitigated (see below). I’m with Max and RL regarding music: less is more, none may be better?

    The videogrep solution that Max suggests would work on your project for tagging your videos. First, you’ll need SRT SubRip subtitle files that contain tag names and start/end times. Use standard SRT format to tag parts of the video so the file looks like this (this is plain text format):

    00:00:05,000 –> 00:00:15,000

    00:01:19,740 –> 00:01:22,700

    If you run videogrep on the video and use the tag SRT, it will extract those segments out automatically. E.g. if you [videogrep -s peach -i video.mp4], then it will extract a clip from 5s to 15s.

    Of course, you can create the subtitle track in Premiere Pro and export out an SRT file.

    It gets trickier because I think I see some tags overlap on other tags, in which case you’ll need a separate SRT for each tag name, e.g., that contains all the peach clip data.

    I don’t know if that makes sense, but that’s the lowest barrier to get the work done with the least amount of coding. If you want to venture into more code, I can guide you in the right direction.

  4. A Smith

    This is a really fun and clearly personal idea. Like the above comments, I would suggest exclusively using the video audio, as a “score” could be too heavy-handed. I’m also a little confused on the footage you’re going to use. Are you only using your collection of home movies, or are you going to be streaming on Youtube? That part was not clear to me. Also, is this intended to be personal to the user? If you are only using your personal videos, I wonder how the audience will fully grasp your intentions. I may have missed something in your presentation.

    Good luck!

  5. M Salmassi

    I like the optimism on this site. The ‘Editing Workflow’ avoids the rhizomatic. I gave up on the apple; will not reach for it – in decades. The good news is that some leaps are possible where one can jump over the apple and go for the watermelon. It takes patience to arrive at this conceptual solution. ‘Editing Workflow’ is an ambitious project. ‘Permanent Stream’ is a self-reflexive composition on multiple levels. The word profound comes to mind.

  6. A Robusti

    Hello Ashkan!
    I really loved your project and your presentation! For the soundtrack I think that bits of narration could benefit your project and they could give you another poetical undertone to your work. F
    or theoretical reference you may find useful to have a look at papers from the field memory studies, just as framework, such as Rick Crownshaw’s ‘The Future of Memory’. Already at this stage this is a compelling project! Good luck!


  7. L Arango

    Hi Ashkan,

    I like your approach.. For audio content, given that these are home movies, I would select three songs that you like that convey memories and segment it in a way that I can randomize the content and attach it to each video clip. The result is a meaningful progression to one’s self.. I wonder if that video sequence with self significant video and audio content translates into a similar experience to a third and non-attached user?

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