The possibility of the content expression of the film with minimalism: Taking “WORK” as an example



Zhao Hongbo, Yonguk LEE


Tokyo Polytechnic University

Center Address Here

2-9-5 Nakanoku Hontyo






I believe that many people can and even have talent, accept simplified information and understand it through the brain. Let’s take the text we use every day as an example, after thousands of years of simplification, from body language to original murals to hieroglyphics, it has finally become the language we use today. Today, some people advocate a minimalist lifestyle, arguing that giving up messy and superfluous things can simplify life and then focus on life itself, improving the quality of life and comfort. We simplify non-essential information or content to truly focus on important and necessary content.


Keywords-component; Minimalism; Cinemagraph; loop


1. Introduction


What is the result of this concept in film production? In a minimalist film, how does the information that it contains be passed on to the audience? Inspired by cinemagraphs, I use the loop method to make two movies under the same theme.


2. History and Origins


2.1. History of Minimalism


Minimalism was an art faction that emerged in the 1960s after the Second World War. It was presented to the audience in the form of the original object itself, and the author eliminated the oppression of the audience through the work. It minimizes the sense of violence when the work appears in the form of words or symbols, opens the image space of the work itself, let the audience participate in the construction of the work, and eventually become the author of the work without specific restrictions.


2.2. Origin of the Cinemagraphs


The magical subtle motion technique in still photos refers to the combination of dynamic photography and still images. The art of two artists, Jamie, and Kevin from NYC, first came out of the website cinemagraph. It combines still pictures and video to make a moment in the picture moving at a moment;

Jamie & Kevin: We want to convey more stories in the picture than a still picture, but we don't want to use lengthy videos. In the process of preparing for Fashion Week, we tried to find a way to convey more content;

Cameraman Fernando J Baez said, the charm of cinemagraph is: more than a photo, but not quite a video.



2.3. “Spacy”


The experimental video work "Spacy" by Japanese artist Itoh Takashi, which combines more than 700 photos to design an empty stadium scene, and uses three wooden tripods with artboards as props. This experimental film is, in my opinion, a work of Minimalist style, which creates visual space movements and cycles through the alternation of the picture. I believe that viewers who have enjoyed this film can clearly feel the image space that the film conveys through the combination of sound images, but they will have different feelings.



Pic.1 Screenshot of “Spacy".



2.4. “Circuit”

The film "Circuit" produced by Kreis Film in Germany is a self-directed and self-directed work by Robert Gwisdek. The story is that an electrician who entered a room repair circuit entered the room but found him trapped. He will return to this room anyway by "escape" from the room. This film also uses a room with a pure white scene. In addition to the tools that the actor carries with him, the props only have circuit boxes on the wall. Although it is different from "work", the story and rhythm of each cycle are not exactly the same, and it can't be seamlessly played, but in such a plot, many factors are generated to image the audience's emotions. The movie is played in the form of a single screen, making it more dramatic. But I think "Circuit" is still a film with a very minimalist style. From its props (single, small amount), scene (solid color, simple space), lines (no), personnel (less) and other elements which can be seen, the rhythm of the different plots makes the plot very attractive to the audience, and the visual focus is definitely the plot and the actors themselves, but there is no slack in the attention to detail.



Pic.2 Screenshot of “Circuit”.

3. Experimental: a case of minimalist video “WORK”


3.1. Equipment and software



Camera: Canon EOS5DIII (FE 24-70mm F2.8FE 50mm F1.4); Sony nex-5R (FE 18-55mm).


Final Cut Pro X.


3.2. Ordinary version


The film takes the work of office workers has been too heavy in recent years, excessive overtime and other topics as the theme, through the traditional film production process, to complete the production of the micro-movie "WORK".

Story: The protagonist was under pressure from his superiors at work and worked overtime until late at night(Excerpt.1-2). When he woke up in a night, he found himself returning to the office(Excerpt.3). After working overtime this day, the protagonist rushed home, and when he opened the door, he saw a light(Excerpt.4-5). When he walked into the light, he found himself returning to his office again(Excerpt.6).

He opened the door despite everything and fled the space, but he came back again(Excerpt.7-8) ...




Excerpt.1 “WORK”/Ordinary version



Excerpt.2 “WORK”/Ordinary version




Excerpt.3 “WORK”/Ordinary version




Excerpt.4 “WORK”/Ordinary version



Excerpt.5 “WORK”/Ordinary version




Excerpt.6 “WORK”/Ordinary version




Excerpt.7 “WORK”/Ordinary version



Excerpt.8 “WORK”/Ordinary version




3.3. Minimalist version


First removing the part of the first film that does not directly express the central idea, including but not limiting to: scene, field, lens, picture, sound, dynamic, props, lighting, background, even the plot, characters, lines... only the part that directly corresponds to the central idea, the film re-selects the pure white scene: reorganizing with only one actor, one desk, one computer, footsteps and keyboard percussion, we make a minimalist content movie. Then we use the loop method to edit this movie. At this point, I completed the streamlining and re-creation of the film, using a single pure picture and language to convey the core content of the original film to the audience. Like cinemagraphs, a single dynamic picture seamlessly loops back and forth, which can be played indefinitely. Its particularity does not affect the understanding of the content from any point in time, and the information that it conveys is not affected by other factors.

Story: The picture is fixed in front of a table. The protagonist enters from the left screen, then he walks to the bottom left of the desk to start office... He stands up and leaves from the right side of the screen, and then he enters from the left again.

This work needs to be displayed through more than three connected images, which can express the central idea that the work is too heavy for the protagonist to escape.



Excerpt.9 “WORK”/Minimalist version



Pic.3 How to display “WORK”/Minimalist version. (In 21st JAALA International Art Exhibition-2018, at TOKYO METROPOLITAN ART MUSEUM).



4. Conclusion


This thesis is produced by the use of minimalism and editing in video films. I made an association with the possibility of the result of this combination, and tried to confirm the works “Spacy” and “Circuit” from Itoh Takashi and Robert Gwisdek, and made a film production with this kind of thinking. Exploration and experimentation. My goal is to understand the emotional infection and information transmission capabilities that can be achieved through video images with different expressions and media images.





[1] Article on Minimalist Art at the Dia Beacon Museum" Dia Beacon", Tiziano Thomas Dossena, Bridge Apulia USA N.9, 2003.

[2] So Long Animated GIFs, Hello Cinemagraph.

[3] “Spacy” ITOH TAKASHI, 1981.

[4] “Circuit” Robert Gwisdek, 2013.