Final Remix

Obviously, the more original and affected [the] clip is, the less you will [have to] defend it.

Without boundaries, and again without a solid place to begin, I found myself reflecting on the previous remixed videos I have created. The one thought that I kept returning to was: ‘the clips were never affected enough to be termed original’. They were original in the sense that the remixes were my own creation, but they were not substantially different from the original clips I had taken. I wanted to create this final remix with the ability of – hopefully – being unrecognisable at first instance. To successfully transform the sounds and clips I had chosen (on a whim) to an ‘original’ state, I wanted to utilise the ‘new aesthetic’ of glitch imagery. I wanted to create a remix that looks dysfunctional, and almost broken – that makes no sense and is what it is at surface value.

To begin, I collected and recorded a various selection of sounds and simple atmospheric noise to import into Audacity to edit. I reversed the sourced tracks, increased their tempos and pitch to varying percentages, inverted some of the noises, utilised the echo and ‘wah wah’ effects, and studio fade outs in different areas of the sounds.

This captures the soundwaves of the backing 'music' to my remixed video after each of the effects were infected into the sounds and noises, and then effectively joined as one continuous track.
This captures the sound waves of the backing ‘music’ to my remixed video after each of the effects were infected into the sounds and noises, and then effectively joined as one continuous track.

There was no method to the madness that influenced this eerie, robotic sounding track that would compliment the ‘glitch aesthetic’ I wanted for my remix. The track is a mix of dysfunctional noises, and sounds exactly as it is described.

In my writing this up, I did not want to disclose the clips I used as they are quite ‘mainstream’, and I knew once I did, the video would become – albeit, only slightly – recognisable. Nevertheless, it is important to provide credit to the authors and copyright owners where it is due, and it is necessary to highlight the significant transformation of these clips into what I have made them.

  1.  Japanese television advertisement with cats;
  2. Norton’s Japanese television advertisement for an antivirus USB;
  3. 7/11 – Beyoncé (2014);
  4. Big Girls Cry – Sia (2015);
  5. Runnin’ (Lose It All) – Naughty Boy (featuring Beyoncé and Arrow Benjamin) (2015);
  6. Kids In The Dark – All Time Low (2015);
  7. On My Mind – Ellie Goulding (2015);
  8. Laser / Strobe Lighting effect;
  9. She’s Kinda Hot (Live) – 5 Seconds of Summer (2015).

I arranged selections from each of these clips (which I had previously converted from YouTube videos to MP4 files) around the duration of my backing track as I found it fitting, then proceeded to insert whichever effect worked best with the segment. There was no methodology behind what I was doing, except for my desire to make the remix in the form of the ‘glitch aesthetic’.

The layering and overall composition of the selected clips.
The layering and overall composition of the selected clips.
The composition map of the effects generated by Adobe's After Effects.
The composition map of the effects generated by Adobe’s After Effects.

I inevitably found myself at the stage where my computer was threatening to force itself into a shut down because I was adding, deleting, and altering effects, and moving my clips around obviously in a way my laptop could no longer handle. The effects that I used included:

  • Blobbylise; blurs; brightness/contrast; cartoon; colour balance and offset; drop shadow; echo; emboss; flip and transform; flo motion; glow; hue/saturation; lens view; liquify; luma key; magnify; matte choker; mirror; mosaic; night sweep; plastic; power pin; radial blur; ripple pulse; scatter; slant; smear; splitting clips; tiler; time displacement; vegas; vibrance; wave warp; and 3D glasses.

Through the utilisation of these effects on the sourced clips, accompanied by the eerie and robotic backing track I remixed from noise, I believe that I have created an ‘original’ video that does not attract a deeper meaning. My remixed video is what it is on the surface – an exercise in glitch imagery. It looks dysfunctional and broken as if it makes no sense in any exaggerated context that it may be placed in.

COPYRIGHT IN AUSTRALIA

Before I delve in and support my remixed video in terms of Australia’s copyright laws (Copyright Act 1968 (Cth)), I wanted to share some of the feedback I received in regards to how recognisable the work was to an audience. In the first instance of watching my ‘glitch imagery’ remix, each of the individuals whom I asked to view it came back to me with roughly the same comments along the lines of: ‘what is that meant to be?’, ‘it’s hallucination worthy’, ‘trippy’, ‘that looks like the affects of drug use’. Whilst this solidified that I had been quite successful in attaining the ‘glitch aesthetic’ that I set out to achieve in the beginning, it did not answer my question as to whether or not the video was unrecognisable enough to be deemed ‘original’. I do believe, however, that nothing is original in remix culture in the technical sense of the word – that things are ‘new’. In remix, artwork evolves from the ideas and creations of those before us, but is made original by our authorship to it – our voice that is inherit in what we create. I asked my audience to take a second and more perceptive look at my video and to comment on whether or not they thought it was entirely my work. The less interested in what I was asking came back to me with: ‘of course that’s your work – it’s not really good enough to be anything professional’. I assumed that was a compliment; I had created something I could argue was in essence my own creation. The more perceptive of my audience, however, noticed that Maddie Ziegler (star of Dance Moms and Sia’s music videos) made rough appearances throughout the remix. Whilst she wasn’t entirely noticeable to begin with, my audience noted that anyone who possibly knew of her would be able to recognise her. Personally, and referring to my statement above about my belief of remix culture, I think that my use of the clips of Maddie Ziegler in Sia’s music video for Big Girls Cry (2015) is justified. I have taken the original material and transformed it into something else – something that does not reflect the deep meaning of the interpretive dance Maddie is viewed to be doing in the music video. What I have created is reflective of the ‘glitch aesthetic’, it does not require a deeper meaning to the surface view of its broken and dysfunctional, eerie and almost undesirable look. Everything in remix culture has evolved from a previous idea.

Legally, I have infringed Australia’s Copyright Act as I have used footage of which I am not the copyright owner, nor do I have the licence of the owner to use it, and further I have communicated it in some  form. I am, however, able to defend this – again under the Copyright Act 1968 (Cth) – as my work being a fair dealing for the purpose of research or study. My remixed video is for the purpose of my university studies, has no effect upon the market (it is not produced for financial gain or value), and did not utilise more than ten per cent of its original content. Whilst I was unable to find an Australian case wherein a party to the dispute effectively (or even ineffectively) used this provision of the legislation as a defence, I was able to find a New Zealand case to satisfy my argument as evidence, which unfortunately is not binding on Australian courts, but is, arguably, persuasive in the common law. In Copyright Licensing Ltd v University of Auckland the plaintiffs had licensed the defendant university to copy and distribute copyrighted materials to students for a fee. The university then charged students a fee for the material. The High Court of New Zealand held that the University of Auckland’s copying of materials was not a fair dealing as the request for the material must be made by the individual students, rather than mass producing it for a fee. In my case, the application of these facts, alongside section 40 of the Copyright Act 1968 (Cth), suggests that  I have not infringed the legislation as it is for the purposes of my study, to which I have not distributed it for a financial return.

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