Calculating how short-length cinema might set about to examine the experience of a tree that plays out in year-long cycles, this 24-minute study experiments with polylinear construction and polytemporal scaling of sound and image that were recorded during one 24-hour slice of street life in the span of a city block. 8K video (7680×4320) with 5.1 mix has been downsized to HD (1920×1080) with LtRt audio for this preview.
THE SOCIAL LIVES OF URBAN TREES is work-in-progress name for an experimental video project that merges environmental sensing with observational cinema techniques—inventing a cinéma vérité approach that takes cues from revelations that emerge from ongoing data capture. A series of video portraits of San Francisco street trees will explore the forms and qualities of public spaces created by individual trees, while using small programmable cameras and sensory apparatus to visualize and listen to the trees’ own perspectives regarding their environments and various other inhabitants with whom they share the territory.
In the course of the project, techniques were devised to capture and present actual synchronized production sound for time-lapse visuals. This is most clearly audible at the beginning and at the tail end of this video. It was discovered that multiple-timescale audio of particular events made the presentation more accessible. An example is the car-departure between 2:00 and 2:10. Actual production sound of this moment was placed into the edit at different timescales, and edited to produce an impression of “time-compressed car departure” whereas the actual 60x timecompression sounded more like a clik.
While it began as a piece about the trees specifically, during the audio editing and mixing process, which ultimately included several additional field sound gathering sessions to the location, it became a kind of study of the soundscape of this particular intersection: 24th and Folsom Streets in San Francisco’s Mission District.
You could listen without watching… I won’t tell.