Transitions of motion and sound in post-production.

Of the countless effects in post-production (the editing and assembling of the work), two transitions have proven invaluable: the dissolve and the fade. Both affect the viewer’s perception of time.

The (cross) dissolve – the superimposition of one image over another – presents two scenes (one ending, one beginning) simultaneously; as one of the most common transition effects, it is used primarily to indicate that a period of time has elapsed between the two scenes.

In video poetry, when the superimposition is prolonged, it produces a sustained experience of time suspended while simultaneously signalling the uncontrolled state of dreaming. (Related to these, a freeze-frame can also be seen as a device that “stops” time, while the split-screen effect enables the viewer to follow two scenes on the screen simultaneously; yet both are of lesser poetic value than the
dissolve or the fade.)

The fade (or fade-to-black) is used to indicate an end to a scene, usually followed by a fade-in to introduce the next scene; in video poetry, we can interpret this effect as the blink of an eye or – when it’s prolonged – the shutting of the eyes, followed by “re-awakening” to a new “world” (or at least a new context/scene in the video poem).

Accidental element of chance may produce the most unexpected trophies of “found” imagery.

Accelerated motion is often associated with a comic scene; in a video poem, depending on whether the action recorded is for atmospheric or illustrative use, the time-lapse effect can be more forgiving.

Slow motion appeals to video poetry for a number of reasons: the effect suggests a gradual suspension of time; a dream-like state is evoked; action unfolds like a painting; a perception of reality is emphasized. In the structure of the video poem, it functions as punctuation.

In its visual/displayed form, text is “looked at” before read. The looked-at text applies the strategies derived from concrete poetry, typography, graphic design and motion graphics. Fonts, the characters of type, are selected for their clarity and suggestiveness, always in relation to the image presented on the screen.

Positioning, motion, duration and method of appearance (positing by dissolve, pop or typewriter effect, for example) are similarly considered in relation to the image presented on the screen.

“Where you have music that doesn’t imitate what’s on the screen, but goes against it… is far more interesting than anything imitative.” – Alfred Hitchcock

The soundtrack is not a prerequisite of video poetry (silence is an effect and a syntactical decision), but its presence contributes to a richness of effects and meanings. Voiced text, music, and sound effects. Human voice colours the text with nuance.

Music intensifies, diminishes or eliminates the emotional content of a particular “scene”, thereby altering the viewer’s interpretation of content meaning.

Sound effects in video poetry are more often than not isolated, disruptive gestures used to highlight incongruous image-text juxtapositions while contributing dissonance to the internal rhythm of the soundtrack.

… the weighing of image-text relationships for their suggestive, rather than illustrative qualities, the determining of duration, the positioning and appearance of text, the treatment of colour, the layering of the soundtrack, the acceleration or deceleration of elements, etc. – Videopoetry Manifesto by Tom Konyves (born July 13, 1947) is a Canadian poet, video producer, educator and a pioneer in the field of video poetry. He teaches creative visual writing at the University of the Fraser Valley.