Synopsis:

Con Brio is a four minute choreography of stop-motion animation featuring flowers in liberty and play. This project began as a challenge to explore the distinctive optical properties of pinhole photography for motion. The images were acquired one frame at a time entirely without a computer or lens, using a 16mm film camera adapted for a variety of pinhole and double-slit techniques and choreographed to a lively ukulele composition by James Hill .

More details:

Having made various pinhole photos over the years, I wanted to try the technique with movement. Pinhole photography is a glutton for light so shooting outside was a given. From there it followed that a great source of form & colour would be flowers and this led to a brainstorm of all the many ways I could move normally static flowers.

The project was completed part-time over a six year period and involved creating methods of capturing images and generating effects in-camera that are decidedly low-tech but effective. My materials were mainly cardboard and foam core with lots of tape, a CD spindle and toy car wheel. I made many pinholes but also purchased two laser precision ones.

Although there is no image preview, it is possible with calculation to have a fairly good idea of what will be in frame by making an angle of view chart. This shows how much of the yard will be visible in a given distance from the camera. I then use a ruler to map out where the flower characters need to be to enter and exit the scene.

Shooting a film this way allowed for a lot of reflection. I spent time reading weather forecasts, watching the sky to anticipate cloud cover, and growing hundreds of plants from seed. The project was at the whim of the backyard environment which forced a peaceable acceptance of things. The slow tranquil pace of the production is a complete contrast to the frenetic energy in the final film – but it was just as liberating.

Screened:

  • May-June 2020 - Ambulante Film Festival, online, Mexico
  • Sep. 2016 - Unexposed Microcinema: Living on the Edge, Durham, NC USA
  • Sep. 2015 - Women Media Arts & Film Festival, Sydney, Australia
  • 2014-2015 Stop and Go: Made from Scratch, travelling show
    • Sep. 2015 - Kala Art Institute, Berkeley, CA, USA
    • Feb. 2015 - Second Act Marketplace & Events, San Francisco, CA, USA
    • Apr. 2014 - The Explortorium, San Francisco CA, USA
    • Jun. 2014 - Grafisch Atelier, Amsterdam, Netherlands
    • Jun. 2014 - trenutak.39, Zagreb, Croatia
    • Jul. 2014 - Mediteran Film Festival at Kino Mediteran, Hvar, Croatia
    • May 2014 - The Niche New Media Project, University of Virginia, Charlottesville VA, USA
    • Aug. 2014 - Gigant, Outdoor Caravan, Appledorn, Netherlands
    • Nov. 2014 - The Flicks, Boise ID, USA
  • Sep. 2013 - WNDX festival of moving image, Winnipeg, Canada
  • Aug. 2013 - Hollow Earth London Film Festival, London, UK
  • Jun. 2013 - Haverhill Experimental Film Festival, Haverhill, MA USA
  • May. 2013 - Montreal Underground Film Festival, Montreal, Canada
  • Mar. 2013 - Flatpack Festival, Birmingham UK
  • Mar. 2013 - West Virginia Mountaineer Short Film Festival, Morgantown, WV USA
  • In the permanant collection of The Exploratorium, San Francisco, USA

Credits:

  • Direction & animaton - Sandra Eber
  • Music composition - James Hill
  • Music performance - James Hill & Anne Davison
  • Music reproduced with permission from - Boralis Records (www.borealisrecords.com)
  • Sound re-recording - Shelly Craig
  • Video online - Denis Gathelier
  • NFB technical coordinator - Daniel Claveau
  • NFB consultants - Michael Fukushima & Randall Finnerty

Supported in part by grants from:

  • Concordia University Part-time Faculty Grant
  • NFB Filmmaker Assistant Program