what is considered an experimental film?
If you are new to the film industry or are simply a fan of cinematography, you may be interested in learning about more of the unfamiliar types of film production. In this blog, Dot Films discuss exactly what experimental films are as well as the benefits of this type of film production.
So, what is considered an experimental film? Experimental film is a genre of film that uses unconventional techniques to challenge the norm in the industry. Visual effects, unique themes and unusual narratives are some of the main characteristics of experimental film.
Keep reading to find out more about the features of experimental films as well as some of the key benefits of them.
what is an experimental film?
An experimental film is a new genre of film that typically includes the use of unique visual effects, themes and unconventional story structures. This type of film is growing in popularity and many film festivals have created separated categories to accommodate experimental films. Experimental films are often also referred to as avant-garde due to them regularly challenging the traditional norms of film making.
Here are some examples of experimental films we have produced:
storyblocks // modern indian kitchen
gurgaon // goodbye
sub-z // sos
what are the key experimental film features?
Now that you know what an experimental film is you are probably interested in learning more about the features of them. The general public can find experimental films quite difficult to follow due to them not having mainstream narratives; therefore, we have detailed some of Fred Camper’s (writer and lecturer on film and art) key features of experimental films for you below.
1. created by one person
One of the key features of experimental films, according to Fred Camper, is that they tend to be created by one person or a small group of people. This often means that the funding for the project is quite small and the chances of a profit is unlikely. As a result, the film production can end up being something that is very different to traditional theatre.
Sometimes, a professional actor might work on a low-no budget film if the script interests them. To find actors, take a look at Facebook groups, actors glossaries, local drama workshops or from an agency.
2. post production
Once you’ve shot your film, you may need a hard drive to put your footage onto. Luckily, there are many free editing programs available to edit your zero budget film.
Additional sound effects can be created in post with a microphone or found via online sound libraries. Some free music websites include SoundCloud, Jamendo and Sound Click. Don’t forget that you’ll need copyright permission for all the music used in your film.
3. not personal
Another one of the key features of experimental films is that they often involve the filmmaker doing more than one role. For example, the filmmaker may be involved in producing, directing, editing and sound.
4. don’t conform to conventional narratives
One of the most noticeable experimental film features is that they don’t conform to conventional narratives. Fred Camper explains that this is what can make an experimental film confusing to some viewers but it also helps them to make an impact on viewers.
5. draws attention to filmmaking materials
Fred Camper also suggests that experimental films draw attention to the use of different materials and mediums. Examples of this include the use of out of focus and high exposure for certain scenes, extremely rapid camera movements and placing objects in front of the lense to alter the image.
6. opposes mass media & mainstream culture values
One more feature of experimental films is that they offer a unique interpretation on traditional filmmaking. For example, experimental films can involve the re-editing of instructional films to provide a different message or critique of the original.
7. does not offer a clear message
The final feature of experimental films is that they do not offer a clear message. Unlike mainstream film production, experimental films are filled with ambiguity, encourage various interpretations, and use contradictory techniques to encourage active participation of the viewer.
what are the different types of experimental films?
Experimental films can be quite difficult to categorise due to their unique nature. However, there are some ways that they can be split into recognisable groups. Take a read below to learn more about the different types of experimental film.
challenging the structure of filmmaking
One type of experimental film, is that which challenges the expectation of typical filmmaking and manipulates the creation process. An example of this type of experimental film would be The Phone Call. Click below to take a look.
Another type of experimental film is the experimental film documentary. These types of film can use techniques that blur the line between fact and fiction, and challenge the typical expectations of a documentary. An example of an experimental film documentary is Moonage Daydream. Take a look at the video below.
Another type of experimental film is the experimental film documentary. These types of film can use techniques that blur the line between fact and fiction, and challenge the typical expectations of a documentary. An example of an experimental film documentary is Jibaro. Take a look at the video below.
what are the benefits of experimental films?
Now that you understand what experimental films are, you may be interested to learn more about the benefits of them. Take a read below to discover the main benefits of experimental films.
One of the most prominent benefits of experimental films is they encourage complete creative freedom. All rules and expectations go out of the window and the filmmaker can take risks that they might not have before. Whether it be with unique music, camera angles, or different narrative, experimental film allows full creative freedom.
Another benefit of experimental filmmaking is that it allows for acts of spontaneity. With mainstream film making, there is a lot of pressure to stick to time schedules and budgets, therefore filmmakers tend not to explore. Whereas, with experimental films, creative decisions can be made at any point throughout the film production.
Freedom of expression is another benefit of experimental film making. Whatever your message or feelings, experimental film making allows you to express it in completely unique ways due to there being no rules. In some instances, the production process of the film can offer a certain level of emotional catharsis for the filmmaker.
making an impact on the industry
In the modern film making industry, it is quite common to see very similar films. However, with experimental filmmaking you are able to challenge the norm and make a name for yourself in the industry. Through unique film techniques, camera angles, music and messages, you can make a big impact on the film industry.
experimental film production at Dot Films
At Dot Films, we understand the impact that experimental films can make on the viewer and the industry. If you have an idea you would like to pursue but need a little creative inspiration, we are the filmmakers for you.
Have a look through some of the experimental films we are most proud of. Contact us today to discuss the new concept you are interested in bringing to life through the lens.