Shortly after completing Carriage, I decided to produce a shortened version, titled Parallel Carriage, initially as a response to a call for a film festival which limited films to a maximum of two minutes. The festival specialised in work made with smartphones (the original footage for Carriage was shot on my iPhone).
This afforded the opportunity to approach the edit in a different way. The slow build-up used in Carriage was not possible with such a short time frame. Additionally, there was not the time to have the original footage of the whole train shown as a coda. Instead I selected just three of the extracted windows, ones where the sense of individual narratives of the carriages inhabitants was strongest, and combined then with the footage of the whole train, slowed to approximately 50% of real time (again using the pixel motion frame blending in AE).
The film considers the uncanny nature of the experience of passing another train at night, where the windows into the space of that other carriage are pools of light in a black void, offering portals into another world. Individual windows slowed down to 10% of real time draw out the movement of the inhabitants of that parallel carriage. The soundtrack to that “other” space, is produced from the space of the carriage from which the camera, filmmaker, and viewer are located – slowed down to match the images, it becomes an abstract roar, echoing the black void which the windows flow through.
The re-edit of Parallel has resulted in a fundamentally new film, Carriage.
This film is constructed entirely out of the train windows extracted from the footage used for Parallel. The footage was slowed to 10% of real time (or a temporal scale of 10:1), using the After Effects pixel-motion frame blending. At time this generates strange artefacts, which only add to the uncanny quality of the film. As the extracted windows were enlarged by around 500%, the resulting loss of image quality was combatted by using an AE noise generator filter.
I completed Parallel about a year and a half ago. It was made from a 02:56 length single-take piece of iPhone footage shot from a train window at night, returning from Victoria to East Croydon. It films a train on parallel tracks, which keeps this adjacent relationship on the approach and departure from Clapham Junction station.The edit works with this original footage, zooming in on it, slowing it down. The resulting film considers the parallel worlds within the carriages of an adjacent train, entering and leaving “Britain’s busiest railway station”. Most passengers merely pass through or interchange at the station, heading for other destinations. For these people the space of the station exists isolated from the world beyond, their view limited to that through their train window, or from the platforms and linking bridge. Figures are glimpsed through the windows of the parallel train, and their narratives imagined, before they slide off, the tracks diverging, separating the spaces that were momentarily drawn together by the infrastructure of the station. Continue reading