20th August 2012
Shape of things to come
Title of film: Balls
Director: Daniel Mercadante
Daniel Mercadante of Everynone talks about his "collection" projects including his latest Ball

Was Ball an ongoing project while you were involved in other work or did you simply focus and shoot round balls. Could you tell us about the process please and what you shot it on and in which program you used to animate?

Ball was an ongoing background project for about six months, and then it became a focused effort for the last week before finishing. It started out as a simple experiment: Can you simultaneously express movement and multitude, while keeping the general geometry of the frame static? Would it actually be a valuable bit of illustration of the world?

For that first test, I dove into Google Images and pulled ball photos. I must’ve used about 30 images (which amounted to less than three seconds). Despite being short, it was clearly something that I wanted to continue with.

I contemplated taking all of the photos myself; but Google Images didn’t only provide a much quicker process, in a lot of ways the range of imagery was more robust than my hands and brain could generate. Ultimately, it’s mostly sourced imagery (which I’m proud to say), and of the images I did snap, they’re taken with the iPhone.

It was edited in FCP, frame by frame. It was a tedious process. I am quite aware that there is probably some software that could work to re-align all of the images to perfect proportions, but let’s pretend there isn’t. Actually, doing it frame by frame was a blessing. It took a long time, which gave me the ability to continually come back to the project, alter patterns, progressions, and groupings of ball-types. Because I was putting a good amount of work into each frame, every image had weight, there was no unintentional redundancy or inadequacy. Also, the imperfections caused by doing it manually are important, they give it a warm disposition.

How did the idea come about? You seem to have an eye for shapes – cones, balls for instance.

I wish I knew where the seed of the idea came from. I have always had a fascination with shape, certainly. Shape and space, how a singular form (a ball, a cone) can repeat itself so much in our reality, but with different spaces and contexts, it is part of a vastly different story. It’s such a simple idea. It’s inherently profound. It’s up to someone like me just to actually start collecting the information and putting it next to itself to reveal the singularity, the truth of being fundamentally interconnected.

Ball and Photos of Cones, along with my project Materials and the film Laughs! and most of the other Everynone films; it comes down to this idea of collection. We use the term “Collection Film” to describe these.

If you can collect enough of the same thing (however you want to define sameness), it usually starts to have meaning, there’s a story of shared experience and existence to be told. If you can organize and articulate the patterns in a simple and poetic way, while giving it a strong emotional and conceptual curve, it should reveal something beautiful.



Daniel Mercadante