Ellie loves her iphone. She uses it to take pictures until the batteries run out, then she comes upstairs, plugs it in to recharge, and takes one of ours, until the battery runs out, at which point she comes back up to switch it out with her re-charged phone.
She has taken thousands of photographs. Thousands and thousands. She had the curious habit of taking many, many pictures of the same thing. We would delete them and let her start over again, and she never seemed to mind that the old photos were gone.
A few days ago I needed some random photo off my phone, and I synched it with my computer before I had the chance to delete all her photos. I was annoyed with myself, as it took about twenty-five minutes for the phone to sync with all her photos on there. At one point I started to flip through the photos using the arrow keys, which allows you to flip pretty quickly through the large format pictures if you like. It was at that point I realized what a dummy I am.
She wasn't taking fifty pictures of the same thing.
She was making a movie, probably seeing the movie in her head as she moved her toys a fraction of an inch before taking each photo. She couldn't see the final result on film, but it must be able to animate all these photos and string them together in her head to see the movie. I thought about Temple Grandin's book "Thinking in Pictures". According to her, autistic people don't think in words, but in pictures, and can manipulate these pictures in their head like a computer. I think that is what Ellie had been doing with her photographs.
So without further ado I present you with a selection of Ellie's finest. I uploaded her little films to YouTube, and have embedded them here.
The Big Show (2010) Ellie's latest and greatest video. I named it The Big Show, because it's a pageant of spectacle and pomp.
This short film took Ellie about three days of steady work. She first drew all the backgrounds and printed them out, draining our expensive ink cartridges dry. She folded the backgrounds in half and used them as a backdrop to the photographs of her toys, which she carefully arranged to one half of the frame, allowing her to illustrate the other half of her multi-media slides. She inserted the transition frames by hand, picking one she liked and copy and pasting it between the shots that needed breaking up. The illustrations were done using an app that she found called Mega Draw, which allows the user to draw on photos taken with an iphone or ipod touch.
Ellie also timed all the movement of the film by carefully choosing which frames were multiplied to give them more footage. Certain shots were longer than others.
There's a sad story about this film. Originally, I had found through a long process I won't bore you with, that The Beatles "Hello, Goodbye" was the absoulte perfect song for The Big Show. It lined up like she had it in mind all along, and it just made the film sparkle. Even though I own the song on itunes, You Tube won't let me attach it anymore, so I had to find something else that matched the beat approximately. It's a sad second best, but it will have to do. Focus on Ellie's work.
I hope you like it.
Good Night (2009) This may be my favorite one yet.
I'd like to point out a few things: first, that she started the film indoors, then went out to finish up the project by filming balloon boy panning away from the window. Brilliant.
Second, check out how she smudged out the marker several times, to make the eyes go from wide open, to sleepy, to closed, as balloon boy lays down.
Third, feel proud that someday you'll be able to say that you knew Ellie "back in the day" when she was just starting out, making sweet little movies with an iphone.
Mickey and the Shovel (2009) A film in the mystery genre by Ellie. Personally, I think the story goes like this:
Deep in the night, Mickey is digging. He digs and digs, the sweat pouring from his brow. Suddenly, there is a struggle. Mickey wrestles against an unseen presence. Minnie reveals herself, approaching Mickey with a menacing gait. She is knocked down to the ground, and fighting for her life, she pulls her nearly lifeless body across the graveyard, trying desperately to escape her tormentor. Minnie's fate is revealed as Mickey puts the final touches on her grave, slowly lowering the last clump of dirt onto her final resting place.
Beach party!! Minnie splashes playfully in the surf while Mickey digs himself a groovy sand castle that takes the prize at the Crane's Beach Annual Sand Castle Competition!!
Personally, I like the first story better. I think it fits with the horror films she was making for awhile. I should see if I can find the audio of Ellie screaming and dub it in. That would be hilarious.
Anyway, enjoy, Mickey and the Shovel. Feel free to interpret as you wish!
WALL-E and Mickey do the Same Thing (2009)
A Space Flight (2008) Please keep in mind as you watch this that she took the first series of pictures as if the space ship was coming at her, then had to walk around to the other side of the space ship to shoot from a different angle.