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$1,296 pledged of $2,100 goal
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By D. L. Fitzwater
$1,296 pledged of $2,100 goal
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About this project

About the ensemble:

What if you could compose live music with a few simple gestures?

What if all you needed to do was point, and you'd get a sound?

In the Semiconductor Orchestra, professional musicians and hobbyists, seasoned veterans and children, compose and perform musical pieces on the scale of a chamber orchestra.

Always different, always interesting, always impermanent. No performance ever matches another, no instrumentation in the ensemble is ever the same.
No pre-planning...
No working it out...
No notes on the page; you point...

Bobb Fantauzzo conducting the Orchestra at Northern Spark 2012.
Bobb Fantauzzo conducting the Orchestra at Northern Spark 2012.

And you have music.

Started in 2004 by experimental guitarist Greg Tippett, the Semiconductor Orchestra uses a set of about 50 conducting cues to spontaneously mold and arrange music created by an improvising ensemble of musicians. Using the cues the conductor can change any parameter of the music: rhythm, dynamics, harmony, melody, tempo, texture, or effects. There are 15-18 members of the group, including Cello, Viola, Piano, Keys, Guitar, Banjo, Bass, Oboe, French Horn, Flute, Native American Flute, Clarinet, and Percussion. 

A portion of the Orchestra at Northern Spark 2012
A portion of the Orchestra at Northern Spark 2012
A portion of the Orchestra at Northern Spark 2012
A portion of the Orchestra at Northern Spark 2012

Each musician takes turns conducting, so each piece is a new experience. The end result is a series of richly textured instrumental designs, each one different from the next. The ensemble ends each performance by having a member of the audience, someone who has never worked with the ensemble before conduct the ensemble in an original composition.

About the Film:

The goal of the film project is to produce both a standard feature film length documentary (80+ minutes) about the ensemble and an instructional video to permit others to start their own ensembles. We will do this by shooting the ensemble's ninth season 2013, intending to finish the film and video prior to it's tenth season in 2014. The finished film and video will be available for purchase via digital download as well as good old fashioned physical media. (DVD) 

What your money is going to:

Unlike a normal ensemble where one could shoot a multiple night series of concerts and then cut together the different angles, Semiconductor is never the same. From a filmmaking standpoint you either got the shot or you didn't. 

The best way to ensure the capturing of every shot, every moment is being able to run multiple cameras simultaneously at every gig. There's no way to predict what will happen, what will be said, performed, or where people will move during the concerts, and the funds raised will allow for the rental of camera equipment and the purchase of digital media. 

The goal for funding on this project is $2,100, the minimum budget estimated for the rental of additional cameras and the purchase of digital media and storage devices for the hours of footage that will be captured intermittently over the course of approximately 6 months. 

Every $150 over that minimum budget will allow for the rental of either an additional camera at each performance, or a higher quality camera (bigger sensor, better lenses) to better capture performances in lower light areas. 

Anything in excess of $3,500 will be applied to post production processing needs. (e.g. expedited processing, graphic design, additional interview shoots)

A Growing Philosophy:

Art's Not Hard. 

When you think movies, it's easy to think that they are expensive and out of reach for mere mortals. A large chunk of the documentaries that people see have big names, fancy cameras, exotic locations etc. 

The video on this page was shot with a mixture of a Canon HV20, a Flip Cam, and a Nikon D5100, Shot by a crew of one. $2,100 is not a lot of money, but it is the difference between working with what I have and having more choices for the film assembly. 

A "Thank You" credit does seem small, but it will be sincere, as the end product will be what it is because of you.

Risks and challenges

Once funded filming will take place over the course of several months beginning January 2013 and ending in approximately June 2013. The shoot positions have been planned and barring natural disasters should be able to take place as planned.

Once all the footage has been gathered, and as is typical for a documentary there will be an enormous amount of footage to go through for the editing process, if funded at the minimum goal there will be at least 100 hours of footage to review and select for the film assembly. The January delivery dates are estimated to be the latest that hard copies of the finished film will be available. However, production of the hard copy discs will be dependent on the separate production facility's capabilities and timeline. It is the filmmaker's intent to deliver earlier, but with limited personnel we're erring on the side of caution.

Throughout the process we will keep you apprised of any expected delays via project updates and notifications on our web page and our Facebook page.

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    A thank you in the credits of the finished film.

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Funding period

- (30 days)