MIRC AWARD GOES TO FIRST-TIME STUDENT FILMMAKER
Fourth-year journalism major Clayton Tilley’s short film has been selected from among a dozen finalists for the second Moving Image Research Collections (MIRC) Award for Creative Editing (ACE). Jarid Munsch, also a fourth-year journalism major, won the first MIRC ACE in Fall 2010.
The award celebrates innovative use of archival film footage in MART 371: The Moving Image. The course introduces undergraduates to all aspects of film and video production.
Tilley, who had never heard of the University’s Moving Image Research Collections before taking MART 371, marveled at the resource.
“Our school is privileged to have so much history at its fingertips,” he said.
MIRC’s Interim Director Mark Cooper agreed.
Edited by Clayton Tilley. Download this Video.
“The archive exists to preserve these resources so that they may continue to inspire audiences and nurture creative talent,” he said.
For the MART 371 project, Department of Art faculty members Laura Kissel and Jennifer Tarr selected film clips from the Fox Movietone News Collection to teach aesthetic principles of editing and to develop technical skills in working with editing software.
“Using MIRC footage allowed us to achieve some learning objectives, and it enabled us to introduce students to one of the marvelous film collections housed at the University of South Carolina,” said Kissell, an associate professor of media arts and director of the Media and Film Studies Program.
Tarr noted that archival footage can be particularly useful in teaching beginning students because it encourages them to compare their own interests and objectives with those of the original filmmakers.
“We looked for varying subjects but wanted images with action and movement in them,” said Tarr, a media arts instructor. “We tried to avoid images that would dictate the message too obviously.”
Students complete films of about a minute in length. Entries are judged on the effectiveness with which students use editing to establish graphical, rhythmic, and spatial relationships on screen.
“In my film, I used the Kuleshov effect, a montage effect based on a psychological study that was first used by Russian filmmaker Lev Kuleshov in the 1920s,” Tilley said. “The project also gave me the chance to use Final Cut, a professional film editing software that I hadn’t worked with before.”
For a first-time filmmaker, the exercise proved a lesson in patience. Tilley offers advice for anyone working with archival footage.
“Keep watching, even if it seems it’s going nowhere, because inspiration can be found in something as small as a facial expression,” he said.
A unit of the University Libraries, MIRC welcomes use of its collections. Located at 707 Catawba Street, MIRC is open to the public Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Over 3,000 hours of rare archival material are available to view on videocassette and DVD.
View the 2009 MIRC ACE film at www.sc.edu/library/mirc/ace2009.html.