Tutorial with Jonathan

The main focus of this tutorial, was to speak about display options for the final show. I have mentioned previously that I wanted to display the work across multiple displays, displays from different times in my life. I’ve been thinking about why I want to do this and it became clear quite quickly.

In creating the video and stills footage, I’ve attempted to deconstruct time and motion and reassemble it, using the power of the reconstructed forms to create new language. The best outlet I feel that I could show this is, across multiple displays from different eras. Each TV will tell the same tale, essentially the same feed is fed in to each TV from one media player. This represents of course, no matter what period of time we are in, the same story is being played out, over and over again. On chair will accompany each TV, the chair will have a direct symbiotic relationship with the VDU.

In discussing the proposed piece with Jonathan,  two potential problems presented themselves.

Problem 1 – will the media player have the potential to output RF and HDMI signal at the same time? I could potentially feed the HD TV with RF signal, but does this make the use of the HD TV less authentic? If I’m not using it’s full potential, is it less authentic? As I have shot some of the footage in 1080p and the photography stills output a native 5k display, it would be a shame to downgrade this display to 480i. However, in terms of authenticity – modern UK household 1080p TVs are fed via an RF cable, from set top boxes, so I may be able to achieve a suitable resolution this way.

Problem 2 - When discussing the first problem, Jonathan posed the question – ‘is it essential that all displays run concurrently?’, could each display be fed by a separate media player, staggering the story on each display. Each display of course, showing the same story, but at a different point. I  must say that this has made me rethink the whole approach. Staggering the footage certainly reflects the process and the mechanics of the production better. Technically, I think it would be good to play with both ideas and see what feels right. The slight reservation I have with this idea is that with 3 different displays exisiting with their individual seats, it may look like three entirely different pieces of video.

TV selection

I have purchased an old black and white portable TV.

Just need a colour old CRT one.

Hopefully I can borrow a HD one from Jonathan

The idea is – 3 TV’s, all from different generations, all telling the same story. This reflects my whole project quite well I think…

New cables, new results

After using new cables – this time a male to female RF TV cable (and using the correct port on the RF modulator!), I have found the desired result. The quality, while approximately 1/4 of the quality of 1080p, is still readable. The stacking work is fully visible and the drop in quality acts almost as an adjustment layer, rendering the footage while it displays it. The colours are similiar, albeit a little less dynamic, and this helps to age the footage.

These clips are filmed on my iPhone, so there will be flickering and all sorts of anomolies because of the difference in frame rates between the camera and the TV,  so you’ll just have to trust me – the footage displayed is exactly as I’m looking for.


Trials in Downgrading 1080p Footage

In preparations for the final show, I have been looking at display options for the installation of my work.

After talking through my options, I have ruled out a few things I wanted to try, with it being so close to the show I felt I could take on elaborate ideas and not do them justice. One idea I had, was to try to make 4 tracks play, looped, on channels 1, 2, 3 & 4 of an analogue TV – in an to attempt to alter the passive viewing habits of a gallery audience, essentially empowering the viewer to act as a sort of editor. Even the very notion of this idea, would require elaborate hacking of an old TV, or a very expensive piece of kit. Time and money are both things that I’m short of right now, so I have had to think of other solutions.

Below the text, you will see images of where I have  downgraded the footage from 1080p, to 480 lines of analogue, via an RF Modulator.  This is the start of a short process of trying to acquire old televisions to experiment with. The old televisions are going to act as physical representations of the changing cycles of time. The plan is to have a portable sized B&W TV, a 1980′s style wooden TV and possibly a HD display.

I’m sure we had a B&W TV when we moved in to the house – no furniture, I seem to remember deckchairs… no wallpaper, a summer night but the house seemed cold. I may be misremembering as I was three years old when I moved in to the house that I’ve been filming my mum in.  Again, the TV (I think it was owned rather than rented), was the nucleus of the family home and a certain pride was attached to it. It was like an ornament, or a museum exhibit – no furniture, however if you have a TV then we surely couldn’t be poor! This B&W TV then migrated to my bedroom, where many an hour were spent attempting to get signal for any channel possible.

The 1980′s colour TV again is a symbol of pride. We’ve made the move to colour. We rent, therefore this should be cutting edge technology, however it’s not. Importantly, it’s a formative object. On it, I witness Lee Martin score the winner for Manchester United in the FA Cup Final and later that year David Platt’s volley against Belgium in Italia ’90.  Many iconic reruns of British comedies are first seen on this screen. Fawlty Towers, Only Fools and Horses and new ‘alternative comedians’ Reeves and Mortimer. Years after everyone else, I acquire a Commodore 64 – which my mum graciously lets me plug in to the TV after Eastenders and I have my first dalliance with computer software. In 1994/5, I watch the battle of Oasis vs Blur, and pick my side. We have never had a dinner table, so around this object is the only time I sit down with my family. I also sit around it when I am alone and learn great lessons from documentaries. Alongside the behaviour cycles in my family,  these are the experiences that have made me who I am. I owe it all to a TV.

The 1080p TV. Now myself and my sisters are real grown ups, we bought my mum a nice TV for Christmas. It’s better than the one I have myself. She now has Sky and has learned how to record all of her favourite programmes. I’m not sure what any of the programs are, but the voices from them are what keep her company as the children have flown the nest. When I am lucky enough to get back home, my mum lets me pick out a movie (as I have good taste apparently) and we watch it together. There is still no dinner table, so in front of this object is where all of our discussion takes place.

RF Modulator

I have found an old TV in the cupboard to play with – it’s not really old, just a general CRT silver plastic Grundig. I don’t really want to use this in the exhibition, as it just makes me look like I haven’t bothered. However, it does have a scart socket and an RF aerial input, so I can at least start to visualise what kind of results I’ll get. There are still some wire and cable issues, so hopefully the extremely poor footage will improve. All the footage below were filmed on my iPhone, so please take that into consideration!

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Media player in to RF modulator in to RF input on CRT TV. Although the stacking effects are made more subtle, they are also nearly unreadable so more work has to be done.



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Media player directly in to scart socket of CRT TV. Distorts colour quite nicely and cheapens the image which I like. However not different enough from plugging straight in to a HD TV.

Below are a mixture of results from the RF modulator, scart and 1080p HD footage on my home TV. It’s made me appreciate the HD footage a lot more – the impact of the stacking work is what I have been working on for the last year and it would be a shame to lose that completely.


MA Fine Art (Digital) at University of the Arts London – Digital Journal