Haze – Colour Flow | Production Process


I have never had experience with this type of film before so to develop my personal research i began my search for Non Narrative shorts films on Google which lead me to Youtube, some i have listed below that are all quite different to each other in regards to content:

Non-Narrative film – Gareth Roberts

Exit 12 – Short Film

Danger Mouth – Short Non Narrative Film

Presage — A Non-narrative Film

Mortality – Non-Narrative Short Film

Creative Media Directions – Non-Narrative Film

Also films from:


Karen Heald

“painterly, poetic, non-linear video narratives created by myself and fellow collaborators. The films showcased are experimental, minimal and complex. The body of work intertwines video, performance and installation. They are films that respond to the history or culture of a specific location or concept”

Karen Heald  (2015). Available: http://www.karenheald.co.uk/films. Last accessed 29th March 2017.

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After exploring lots of these films my understanding was that they are:

random / weird / calming / scary / meaningless / meaningful / emotional / annoying / dreamlike / distorted / frustrating / intriguing / simple

I was filled with quite confusing emotions throughout so first I looked into what describes a Narrative Film –

  • Storyline
  • Cast
  • Soundtrack
  • Scripted Dialogue
  • Acting
  • Costumes
  • Motive

So a non narrative film is a method of storytelling but without any of the above. They have a poetic & dreamlike quality, containing things that we consider mundane captured in a non controlling way.

Gloria Janet. (2015). narrative vs non narrative. Available: http://www.mediafactory.org.au/gloria-tanuseputra/2015/05/02/243/. Last accessed 29th March 2017.

narrative / non narrative. Available: http://www.centerforhomemovies.org/narrative-vs-non-narrative/. Last accessed 29th March 2017.

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Exploring Ideas For a Non Narrative Film

Digital Textures

  • industrial scenes
  • sun moving across buildings
  • cars on a busy road / motorway– slowed down / sped up
  • City Lights changing

Colour Flow

  • Movement of water
  • Oil dripping down something / use coloured lights to change the colour of the oil
  • Food colouring dripped into water
  • Film the Sky – clouds moving across blue sky
  • Out of focus – moving in and out of focus on colourful objects

Move Me

  • Nature shots
  • Time Lapse / Flower at different times of the day
  • Melting Ice Cube or Ice cream / outside / different locations
  • Leaf, blowing around

Sound Bites

  • Film things around the house, edit in time to music
  • Kettle Boiling
  • Tap running / Dripping Tap
  • Clock ticking
  • Close up shots (macro) of household objects

For the Non Narrative film that I have chosen to make I have taken my inspiration from 2 of the videos that i watched:


Connor O’Brien – Creative Media Directions – Non-Narrative Film, I liked the idea of having relaxing music with foliage.

interior interior

And Karen Heald & Alana Tyson. (2015). Interior Interior. Available: http://www.karenheald.co.uk/films. Last accessed 29th March 2017. I loved how calming and relaxing it made me feel…watching something so simple as moving fabric, it was hypnotising and made me want to watch more. But not to find out what was going to happen, it was satisfying in a detachment way, i didn’t feel the need to look for meaning in it, i could just watch it … similar to how i felt when i watched other Non Narrative films. 

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How do I choose what to film…surely ‘choosing’ to film ‘something’ makes that the subject of my film and therefore a narrative ?

I did come across an in-depth breakdown from Dartmouth.edu website that the non-narrative characteristics consist of these 4 main categories :

Categorical / Rhetorical / Abstract / Associational

Non-Narrative as a formal system. Available: http://www.dartmouth.edu/~film01/nonnarrative.html.  Last accessed 4th April 2017.

The whole concept totally baffled me and the only way for me to get past that was to go out with my camera and film…. all I knew was that I wanted to do something for the Colour Flow with ambient music & nature.


Nikon 750 & Sigma 50mm 1.4 Art Lens

I filmed everything that was already there, untouched, unplanned and in its most natural state in and around my house outside.

After filming lots of childrens feet bouncing on a trampoline, clouds, plants & leaves I decided to concentrate on an area that isn’t of any interest….just the green weeds & grass around my garden, using a shallow depth of field moving in and out of focus slowly. And the sun was quite low in the sky by this point and this is my favourite light.

With everything that I have filmed in the past (Narrative based) my main priority has always been to make sure I get my focus spot on, but for this I decided to do the opposite and have some blurry areas because there is less importance for that accuracy. And naturally flowing in and out of focus would adapt itself to a dreamy look. The footage has to be put together with Ambient music over the top so I did my best to move as slowly as I could holding my breath most of the time, I aimed to get a fairly smooth fluid camera pan like in Karen Healds’ Interior Interior but it turned out to be much more difficult than I thought.

There was a mixture of footage, hand-held panning & camera sat on the ground / shoe / scarf. I could of used the glidecam to stabilise my camera or stabilise it in post production but i chose not to, i wanted the footage to have a slight natural movement to it so that it was raw & natural which suited the subject. I filmed different areas of my garden, concentrating on the mundane weed and anything that was green because that was the colour i had chosen for the brief – Colour Flow.

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Using After Effects I put all my footage together, I do find it very time consuming because with every playback it has to render the section which really quadruples the editing time. I think for what I needed to do I should of used Premier Pro to save some time. Nothing fancy went into the edit, there is no colour correction, no fades, nothing done to any of the clips, all I did was slow them down by 200%. Again, i wanted to keep it as simple & natural as possible.

The ambient music was a track I found on Youtube:

Arnav Srivastav. (2013). Royalty Free Background Music – “Roads To Oblivion” (Background Music for Films). Available: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dufE2Ravrrw&list=PLUxc0pGFdGiGzK64w3-UJn0dlU8rzuFmc. Last accessed 29th March 2017.


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I set out to create a non narrative film with a very hazy idea of what i was actually doing and after spending a while i managed to remove myself from planning every little aspect that goes into a project and began to think in a less constructing way. This was one of the main issues that i had to deal with, getting into the mindset of filming in a non-narrative way,  almost without purpose but not completely.

I’m still not sure that any film can be classed as 100% non-narrative because the creator has chosen what to film & the content the want to include. Or is it the viewers interpretation of what they are watching that becomes the narrative? But nevertheless it opens up an unsolved subject which can only lead to exciting experimentation by all creators.

I feel like i have extended my learning by experimenting with something i have never done before and it has made me look at film in a different light. There is more depth to a film when you explore it from a different perspective. I am really pleased with my first attempt at this type of film and it has left me slightly addicted so i will definitely be making more.

This project has helped me look at how I approach film for the future and I feel that i have achieved all the learning outcomes for this assignment by:

  • Researching & planning
  • Working through problems & finding solutions
  • Using the correct media & techniques
  • Working to a brief
  • Evaluating the process along the way, learning and making notes of how I could have improved.