As part of the launch of the new national coordination Passeurs d’images, I proposed an “interactive cinema session”. Come in, ladies and gentlemen!
On June 5, 2018, Passeurs d’images, a national image education scheme funded by the CNC and the CGET, chaired by Laurent Cantet, made a public presentation of its “new era” at Cinéma des cinéastes (Paris).
Interactive cinema session
Session conceived with Patrick Facchinetti, general delegate of Passeurs d’images and Santiaga Hidalgo, in charge of Passeurs d’images projects.
Half-light in the room. On the screen of the cinema, this “image wall”. Behind each vignette is an extract from a film made in a region of France as part of the “Passeurs d’images” scheme.
The session lasts 45 minutes. I present the principle to the audience: a person in the room will ask to see the extract he wants (1 minute 30 per extract). I’ll click on it. During the screening of the extract, the microphone will have been passed to the coordinator who supervised the project, who, just after the screening, will orally pose the issues of this project in 3 minutes. An exchange will follow in the room. The person who asks a question chooses the following extract, which will be shown on the same principle. And so on, a meaningful and sensitive path is invented between extracts and interventions.
Content, participation and meaning
On the screen, there are the vignettes, the titles of the films, the themes covered as well as the name of the coordinator, so that the intervention at the microphone is embodied.
Of course in 45 minutes all extracts could not be shown. That wasn’t the point. The aim was to make the diversity of the cultural and pedagogical approaches of the Passeurs d’images network feel, in a non-prescriptive, open and singular way, to the collective sensitivity of the people present. This has worked very well, bringing the public through digital, heritage, political and social approaches... and their meaning in terms of territorial inclusion and democratic issues.
The “substantial marrow” of Passeurs d’images has been made tangible in a very concrete way. Passeurs d’images is such a rich and diversified project that it is quite difficult to imagine it. This “image wall” provided a very clear synthetic representation.
At the end of the session, a QR code allowed attendees to use their phones to access the “image wall” so they could immediately see the other clips.
My objective was for the spectators to be able to take part in the programming of the session. To move from the “passive” posture of the spectator, in order to allow the construction of a deeper and invested interest for the films. It worked very well. Even for those who did not choose an extract themselves, the session in which they participated was invested with this dynamic, this energy, this singularity, this “magic” proper to the performing arts. It was a moment whose content was unique.
To concretize this idea it was necessary to define very precisely the framework then to ask all the coordinators to choose a film, an extract and to specify the exact mentions stipulated beside each extract. This is a very careful database and monitoring work, which was conducted by Santiaga Hidalgo.
Then, it was necessary to recover video files from the films, extract the selected sequences and vignettes in a “clean” way, harmonize the sound levels and framing, and have them validated by the coordinators. As well as validate, re-validate and correct the “wall of pictures” itself, which is an HTML page specifically designed for the occasion.
Construction of the HTML page
The HTML page “wall of pictures” was built in 16/9 Full HD format (1920x1080 pixels) in order to correspond exactly, to the pixel, to an academic video projection. In short, this page (which was read from a full screen web browser) was designed not for a computer screen, but for a movie theatre projector.
To build this result dynamically and to be able to integrate in a flexible way the regular corrections which took place during the process, the contents of this page were recorded in a Filemaker Pro database, of which I exported an Excel sheet to be able to easily receive corrections. The email addresses of the 18 coordinators concerned were integrated into the database in order to simplify communication.
And I had built a script in Filemaker Pro to dynamically generate the HTML code for the “Image Wall” page.
And finally the videos are not hosted on a community video site, they are encoded and directly hosted on the platform of Passeurs d’images.
On the other hand, for on-site projection, so that it could function independently of a connection, this “mini local website” was copied onto the computer connected to the video projector. I had made it available to the projectionists upstream so that they could download it and do the projection tests themselves.
The goal of this method was that each of the many stakeholders in the process could have full and complete means to build and validate its part. It was a true collective construction, made possible by a framework that was both rigorous and flexible.