The Making Of Filmography 2010 – An Interview With Gen Ip

We post a ton of videos here at /Film, but I have to say I was completely blown away by Filmography 2010, which showed us clips from 270 films set to some great music, all in the span of 6 minutes. The breadth that video editor Gen Ip was able to achieve was astounding. Horror films, trashy b-movies, big-budget blockbusters, critically acclaimed indie films — all of them got at least a brief moment to shine in the video montage. In the end, the message was inescapable: even though 2010 might have given us a ton of crappy movies, all cinema has an undeniable beauty, even more so when it's shown in 3-second chunks.

I was so impressed that I reached out to Gen to see if she would agree to an e-mail interview to discuss how she went about putting such a massive project together. Happily, she did. You can find our chat after the jump, along with some of her other kick-ass video montages.

First of all, here's the original Filmography 2010 video:

What follows is our e-mail interview, as well as a few of Gen's other videos:

Why don't you tell us about yourself: What do you do for a living? How many videos have you edited in the past? And how much time in general do you spend editing/creating videos?

My name is Gen Ip, I'm from Vancouver BC, and I'll soon be graduating from college with a BA in Communications. YouTube is basically my outlet for creative or outlandish video ideas. In total, I've made about 10 of those. The time spent on each varies with runtime, how much free time I have, and how quickly the ideas occur to me. Typically, it's been about two weeks. "Filmography 2010" took more than two months.

What was the inspiration behind the Filmography 2010 video? What do you want people to take away from it?

I've come across some really great film compilations in the past, and I've always been impressed by the magnitude of work involved with making one. Film is a fantastic storytelling medium so when you can put multiple movies together and make them work cohesively, the result can be quite revealing about the culture and society that they come from. I set out to make something that not only showcased this year's films but also spoke to overall themes that we see in movies time and time again. I wasn't sure how to start or whether I'd be able to finish, but that's the kind of challenge that usually motivates me.

What is your relationship with movies? Have you seen all the films in the Filmography 2010 video?

For me, there's little else better than a truly great cinematic experience. I watch a lot more movies than the average person, but I can't claim to be an all-knowing cinephile. I have definitely not seen all of the movies in the video.

How did you obtain footage of all the movies, especially the ones that are still out in theaters or super-indie/rarely seen (I assume you used trailers for most of them)? Was it a cumbersome process to assemble all the footage?

I used trailers for most of them, yes – that was essential for my sanity. Trailers are generally easily found online in good quality, but more importantly, they are 2-minute compilations of the funniest and/or most dramatic moments in a film. So in that way, "Filmography 2010" owes a lot to this year's trailer editors. Some trailers were obviously harder to find than others – in particular, I wasn't able to find a London Boulevard trailer in decent quality, so I had to leave that out of the final product. No one's complained about it so far that I know no big loss?

Can you tell us about your workflow? How long did it take to create the video? Did you already have the entire video in your head when you started editing?

I started compiling film trailers in September, but the actual editing work was done in October and November in between bouts of schoolwork. And so it went, the routine process of downloading trailers, importing them into my editing system, and subclipping notable shots and soundbytes. That was tedious, but also necessary in giving me enough knowledge to find useful cross-references to use in the video. I didn't really have a concrete idea of how the final product would look, but l wanted it to feel cohesive, as if the movies were talking to and feeding off of each other.

Of course, there was also the matter of including shots from every movie on the list, which was quite onerous to keep track of. Some of them are regrettably only in the video for a split second (and for that I sincerely apologize, Toy Story fans).

Great songlist! Did you start with the songs and then put the videos on top? Any songs that didn't make it into the final cut?

Music was one of the most fundamental things for me. Song selection took a while because I wanted to experiment with different moods within the same video. Also, since this was meant to be an online video, I knew the beginning had to be captivating in some way or I'd risk losing viewers 5 seconds in. That's why I decided to start with that very stylized audio sampling in the first minute or so (my favourite part to edit, by far). Ratatat's "Nostrand" and Kanye West's "Power" came together almost magically, in that I'd only thought of using Kanye because of the theme of that particular section ("Power and control"). As for the rest of the video, I concentrated on making the elements work with the music, keeping the "interfilm dialogue" going, and making each part thematically distinct from one another. Also, the section beginning with Civil Twilight's "Letters from the Sky" was based loosely on this reading of Inception that compared filmmaking to the realm of dreams and ideas. Not sure how effectively that came across, but that was the intent.

Some songs I tried but ultimately couldn't fit into the video were Muse's "Exogenesis Symphony Part 3" and Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros' "40 Day Dream".

Any movies that didn't make it into the final cut that you wish you could have included?

Not particularly.

Any video editors/mashup artists that have inspired you in the past?Kees van Dijkhuizen and Matt Shapiro's film compilations have been particularly outstanding.


A big thanks to Gen for taking the time to chat with us. You can follow Gen on Twitter at @genrocks or on Youtube. And while you're there, feel free to follow David too.