by Sherwin, Guy

Film: 16mm 1977

Arts Council of England/Great Britain

A continuous take through the open window of a train travelling at high speed. The camera points at right angles to the direction of travel and the area framed is from the skyline to the rails immediately below the train. The relative speed of the passing landscape decreases with distance. This is complicated by the fact that at certain speeds (relative to the camera shutter speed) the sleepers appear to move in the contrary direction. Speed also affects the spatial reading of the image, from a three-dimensional space (at a distance) to a two-dimensional one (blurred foreground) comprised of horizontal divisions of the screen area. By using a technique that translates the image into optical sound, these horizontal divisions create the synchronised soundtrack to the film. Here distance (perspective) affects pitch, and tonality affects volume. Buildings, objects, trains, passing through the picture area, register simultaneously on the soundtrack. As the train passes through the tunnels the screen goes black and the soundtrack cuts out, signifying to most people a break in filming, which was not the case. - G.S. A shorter, widescreen version of this film is shown as part of The Train Films 1977 - 2004


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