At SVA, everyone graduating has to complete a thesis. As Computer Art majors, we started the process at the beginning of our junior year.
From the beginning, I knew I wanted to have my thesis about dreams and lucid dreaming. (The subject has always fascinated me. My AP Art portfolio in high school was also about dreams!) Coming up with a story, however, was hard. I wanted to make it about my own dreams, so it started out as someone just traveling through all these random dreams. After coming up with concept art and storyboarding it all out, I realized that it was just too long and confusing.
So, I picked out one of my favorite dreams, where I'm flying, and transform into a hawk. It needed some sort of storyline, so I incorporated another dream where I "wake up" and fly out my bedroom window.
The rest of junior year was spent tweaking storyboards and making production schedules. At this point, I knew that I wanted to use the Waking Life rotoscope technique. Every second, every frame, would be that much more work. The deadline of April 2009 was always looming.
The summer of 2008 was spent filming. Starting out, I was using a Sony HDR-HC7. Great camera, until there was a problem with the tape drive! (Luckily it was under warranty, so it got sent off to be repaired.) However, I still had most of my filming to do, so I was able to get ahold of a Sony HDR-HC9... even better! I used an Ewa-Marine underwater housing (Really, it just looked like a big ziplock bag! But it kept my camera dry, and that's all that matters!) for all the "flying" sequences.
Senior year, Fall 2008. Thesis work really begins. I worked with my thesis advisor to really tighten my cut, trimming out any unnecessary frames. Then, every frame was hand drawn in Photoshop. This part took the longest, about five months. Then color was added in After Effects. Aaaand... here it is!
The title comes from reading the book "Exploring the World of Lucid Dreaming" by Stephen LaBerge. In it, he uses the word oneironaut to mean "explorer of the dream world." I scanned in that page, and you can see it in the background in the very beginning, if you look closely!
The music used is "Escape into the Twilight" by Skrypnyk. You can download it for free from Overclocked Remix!
"I've always been intrigued by what happens below the surface, like what's happening where we can't see." While watching the slide-show on Mark's laptop I'm amazed at the detail of this 'other world' that's portrayed with his selection.
As an accomplished documentary photographer, in the past Mark has used the ocean as an escape for some solace away from his projects. Lately, while between projects he's been "hanging out" below the surface trying to capture what happens while swimming on a slow summer's day.
"Coming from a surfing background I used to wonder what happens when we're duck-diving, like, what it looks like from a different angle than what we can see. Kinda hard to explain but it has always been on my mind. I used to surf with a small video camera and housing attached to my helmet, (pauses) it worked surprisingly well but my neck couldn't take the impact and stress while trying to duck-dive and capture the right angle. Even tried to turn it back on myself to see what happens clearer but that, uh, sucked (laughs). I looked for a new approach to capture what I was seeking, which basically meant getting off the surfboard."