My name is Meagan Hunstad. At the University of Minnesota Duluth, my major emphasis has been Digital Art and Photography, with a minor in Film Studies. This online exhibit is the capstone of my Bachelor of Fine Arts degree. From early childhood, art has been important in my life. My mom is an independent muralist and my dad is a computer architect, designing how computers communicate with one another. My path intertwines the best of both these worlds: digital filmmaking. Although I have had difficulties in my life, my core inspiration has always remained my older sister and parents. We have developed a closer bond throughout the changes of life. Without my past experiences I would not make the art I do, because I would be a different person today. That is what I try to express, intertwining the past and present to create works that are equally as layered as life is. This is why I chose to showcase my films dealing with human experiences and community.
I find working with people fascinating. In all of my various video projects, the highlight is always interacting with people of the community. While experimenting with different types of filmmaking, I try to discover diverse ways to capture the human life that surrounds me. I search for real moments in real people's lives. This process is difficult at times. When interviewing people with video equipment they may become uncomfortable or closed off. In order to overcome this, patience is key. It is well worth it, for when that magical moment of someone allowing me into their life is captured and shared on screen. This BFA exhibit showcases three different approaches to video art that I have investigated over the past year.
For my first experience with the art of documentary filmmaking, I had the pleasure of working with a fellow student, Alex Leone. In "1325: Home of the Arch" we researched the history of a single house in Duluth Minnesota and interviewed its recent rental occupants. In the process we discovered what makes a house a home. This project was the first stepping-stone in which I began to work with capturing the people of the community. I wanted to use a classic documentary style to document a real moment in the human experience. Starting out on the project I was concerned that the college men interviewed would just be typical party boys. However, after interviews and editing you get to see the sweet side in which four regular college students dealt with the transitional period from their hometown to their own new living situation. This is the same experience all college students experience at some point; the moment you create a new kind of family. Here you get to see this transition from living in house with roommates to thinking of them as another family, making that space not just a house but a home. I enjoy working with others in the community to help reflect my own life as well. During the time of filming I was also moving from my hometown house of sixteen years. This film was a way to experiment with my own feelings. I got to see how others see the idea that at the time was also impacting my own life as well.
My second look into documentary filmmaking began the summer of 2011. I worked as an intern for a public access television at South Washington County Telecommunication Commission (SWCTC) located in Cottage Grove, Minnesota. Working in a public format, I was able to interact with people of the community in a different way. In doing so, I learned to move out of my comfort zone, interviewing public figures and community members I had never meet before. This challenged me to further develop my interview and camerawork skills. Here are two packages that I made for the weekly newscast program, "Weekly Wire".
For the July 29, 2011 issue of "Weekly Wire", I went to a National Hockey League (NHL) game in which NHL players from different teams came together to host signing autographs for fans and play a charity game.
For the August 5, 2011 issue of "Weekly Wire", I documented a rare opportunity in which regular kids have the chance to work with different coaches in the off-season of basketball each week to refine their skills.
As a photojournalist at SWCTC, I worked on teams but was also given the responsibility to conduct complete videos independently. In both videos, I conducted the following: location interviews, camera work, and sound recording. I also did all the video and sound editing, and the complete package export. I learned so much from my internship about how to build a story using different camera angles, still and moving shots. I also learned how to interview people in the community to tell a story in a short format appropriate for broadcast.
In the course "Digital Filmmaking Experimental Techniques" I created two projects using the rotoscope process. Rotoscoping is a visual technique in which frames from a live action video are traced over and painted upon to create a different form of animation. In order to make these pieces, first I filmed live action footage. Secondly, I took the footage and put it into a film-editing program, "Final Cut Express". I then took each frame and cut it down to eight frames per second. Next, I printed off the still images, traced and colored each frame individually using a light table. Afterward, I scanned each image back into the computer, bringing it back into the editing program and edited the footage. It is a long, exhausting process, but the outcome is definitely worth the time. It takes hours upon hours to complete, putting your heart and soul into it. Although, the process of rotoscoping is demanding, I feel that it is the most personal of all my projects. The three people filmed are my close friends, which in turn leads the viewer into my personal world and the wonderful community of people who make me who I am today.
"Sorry for Party Rockin'" is film on the experience of rotoscoping and a short preview into the world of a college life. It was my first rotoscope. It took 64 pictures to create eight seconds.
Branching out with the same technique in my second rotoscope, "The Target" I still deal with people interacting with one another, however, it a science fiction story of a girl killing off two boys who attack her. Here it took 260 pictures to create 30 seconds worth of film. Below are postproduction pictures of my second rotoscope. Postproduction is just as important as the shooting and editing. Here you plan out what you think is going to happen. Sometimes during shooting you get the moment of truth that makes the film, and other times you find it in editing. Anyway you find it, it makes the piece. It makes the whole process worth it, in order to find that one special moment and tell the story for years to come. The first photo is showing the first 25 pictures used for the first four seconds of the film. The second is a photo of the whole 260 drawings used.