Sunday, June 8, 2008

Welcome to Westside blog

Documentary name :WESTSIDE
Year and month of production: May 2008
Place: Kerala, India
Producer: C-Dit
Executive producers: Damodar Prasad & KG Jayan
Script Editing Graphics Sound mixing: Vipin SS
Narration: JBK Rebeiro & Arya Alphonse
Sound Recordist: S Praveen (Media City,India)
Cinematography: Sunil S (ntv, India)

NB: Due to aesthetical and technical reasons some bytes and names were dropped. Kindly understand the limitation of a diploma production.

WESTSIDE is a paradoxical documentary which tries to indicate the dilemma factor in music enjoyed within a territory. The modern world is filled with a seemingly endless and ever-changing profusion of music styles. On the other hand traditional music is facing deterioration. Although not occurring in a uniform rate, this is a worldwide phenomenon. In a nation where traditional music is a badge of cultural or national identity, the loss of traditional music can be slowed; this is held to be true, for instance in the case of Bangladesh, Hungary, Ireland, Turkey, Greece, Portugal, Brittany, Galicia and India and Crete all of which retain their traditional music to some degree, in some such areas the decline of traditional music and loss of traditions can be reversed.

Indian film industry and of course South Indian film industry adopts too many western styles and techniques. Most of us enjoy these hybrid music styles. Even though the documentary is paradoxical in nature, the producer and a large group of traditional music composers and lovers longs for a better consideration to traditional music. In the molding of a new global society, the new generation should take into account our priceless tradition and heritage.

The Script

Performers dancing to Chettikulangara [V]

Titles [V]
“Chettikulangara” [A]

A solar system featuring cam movements [V]

Music listeners [V]

Music performers [V]
Foley for solar system [A]

Silence for individual shots [A]

Mute off for percussion as whole [A]
Music, the union of rhythm and sound, the divine art, is in fact a unique facet of god’s creation. Music goes along with many of our activities. Everyone listens to music and most people make music, even if only to hum along with a familiar tune. All around the world, each and every human life is guided and inspired by the magic of music. [N]

Images of various cultures [V]
An old traditional music "Qawwali" [A]
Music is part of virtually every culture on Earth, but it varies widely among cultures in style and structure. There are thousands of musical cultures on earth – each one distinctively different to one another. The classical Pipa Music of China, the expressive operas of Italy, the sacred Sufi music of Pakistan -each is a discrete, centuries-old form of music. Music reflects both human identity and diversity. [N]

Visuals of non Western Western- Music bands (rock) [V]
Junoon [V]

Although some forms of music remain traditional, the modern world is filled with a seemingly endless and ever-changing profusion of musical styles. Some forms of music, such as contemporary rock, can be found in many places. In contrast, other types of music remain closely tied to a particular place and culture. But even when transplanted far from its roots, music often remains strongly associated with certain times and regions. [N]

Computers ,Telecast, Satellites [V]
A cheer music [EROS] [A]

Fades to a mystic music [A]
During the 20th century, most music has become accessible worldwide through a technological revolution that has produced high-quality sound and video recording, radio and television, and computers. Remarkably, the boundary lines among many cultures, and between subcultures, have shifted dramatically and in some cases have disappeared. There has always been some cross-fertilization among musical cultures, and this is often a sign of healthy cultural and artistic growth. With all of the cross-fertilization among musical cultures, some people worry that music will eventually drift toward a single, global music that is bland and unvaried. Others argue that there is a growing countermovement to preserve the diversity of cultural heritages, including traditional musical genres. [N]

BYTE describing that there is no such thing

TB, Reality shows (ISS, ASS) [V]
TB [V]

Fade out before next visual
Majority of the countries world wide have shown keen interest in adopting western music styles into their own music. This influence can be seen in today’s Indian music and also in the Arabian music system. South Indian motion-picture music combines Indian and Western musical instruments and mixes classical Indian melodies with Western rock- and jazz-influenced accompaniments. [N]

Kerala Map [V]

[EROS type] [A]
This is Kerala, the south western state in India. Kerala's culture — its civilization, artistic forms, beliefs, and worldview — are largely Dravidian in origin. The culture of Kerala is one of its kinds in India. Kerala is probably the only state in India which is keen in preserving its rich cultural heritage and ritual. Kerala have 31 performing arts and 2 musical arts and numerous folklores under its belt. Even though Kerala is holding the individuality of a traditional society, its liberalist attitude is open towards various external influences. [N]

BYTE- Western Music in Kerala – its history

Music performance

Visuals of a Western Music School

Guitar player [V]
Keyboard player [V]
Ambient sound/ Or recorded [A]
Teacher and students talking [V]

Different people enjoy music in their own way [V]
Music played by band [V]

Responses to the video

This is my first video. I have made my own videos which fall under graphics and visual effects category. None of them was made based on a script. Some of them are published in YouTube. Basically my interest is in graphics and creating and promoting educational videos (like those in Doordrshan, Discovery, Animal planet, NGC, etc). They include simple graphics also. So, WESTSIDE is my first video.

My diploma video received a lot of criticism saying (primarily) that the theme was not well conveyed. Secondly, the documentary went narrative. Some portions (the Chinese portion, some bytes) were lagging.


The production side was the most interesting and challenging side. Actually, I presented a script (educational documentary) which failed to get approval. So WESTSIDE was a vague subject which got approved when I presented the outline. Interesting thing is that 40 percent of the script didn’t go as planned. I wanted Sufi music and Junoon but went on with Pipa and we will rock you. Two bytes were dropped (painfully). Four of the renderings were dropped and the 11 minute rendered byte was edited to its 1/4th.

Budgeting was a big failure. All the bytes and chetti kulangara dance sequences were shot at ntv studio. It was a nice studio. Series of missteps took over most of my money. I failed to co-ordinate things. Vidhu Prathap and Prof V.K Sunil was available on 12-4-2008. The shoot was made without Dr. Bhavana Radhakrishan as she was not available on that date. When I got the confirmation the choreographer and team was not prepared for the take. So I took a total of three days to shoot these things. I were a little more intelligent on that, I would have saved Rs.2500.


Post-production is the area where I can say I have did something because my strength is on post-production and research. Mainly two products were used in the post-production Adobe After effects and Avid Xpress Pro HD. Green Valley Canopus Procoder was used intensively for converting flash video to OMFI files. After effects was used to create simulations, motion graphics, titles and compositing and visual effects. The major achievement was the broadcasters shot, which actually was an image, and some others shots where images were animated to create a live effect of sunrise, solar system and GPS macro shots. Puppet tool is remarkably an outstanding tool to make dead things move. Photoshop and Illustrator was also used to create and edit maps and textures for simulation and graphics.

Sound recorded at Media city, Trivandrum (India). Nuendo was the tool. Adobe render engines (HCL Champion) were provided by Lappyz Systems India [P] Ltd.

The DVD authoring was a bit problem for us as the three initiatives failed due to some unknown reasons. Some portions of the video got “burned” and the color was brighter than the one which was visible in the record monitor. The fourth time we rendered the video to avi format and then burned to DVD using NERO 7 Ultra Edition. Even though the menu and style were not much customized according to my taste, the video content and color were perfectly in harmony as in the record monitor. I still have the three copies in my hand.

Starting Title

The title was planned with a silhouette background of the popular Malayalam movie song “Chettikulangara” . Chettikulangara was in fact an old Malayalam song acted by the ever-green hero Prem Nazeer. The song was actually presented in a western style. The particular song was remade in the Mohan lal block-buster “Chotta Mumbai”. The film was directed by Anwar Rasheed and produced by Maniyan Pilla Raju. So, the song is double- western. The song was my personal favorite which is why I chose it for my title; if I speak frankly.

The title song is choreographed exactly as it is in Chotta Mumbai. Some additional steps were also contributed as it is not shown in the original. The intention behind showing the song as backdrop is purely aesthetical. It is not to discourage any new initiatives in Malayalam film industry but just to indicate the current trend.

Rajesh RS, is a young man who is a freelance choreographer. He has an independent troupe called Rap Ruddys. The three dancers Tharang TS, Pradeep Kumar M, Deepak MP are his team.