Unconventional Passion

Senior Noah Sacks merges art, film in interpretation of “Synesthesia”


Jess Farhat

Senior Noah Sacks shares an interactive display of his video at the biannual “Art of WSSD” show in spring 2022.

Matthew Chen '23, Editor-in-Chief

What do you want to do after high school?” is a question every high school student has heard as they prepare for life after graduation. When it comes to one’s future profession, many students are a bit uncertain. This is not the case for senior Noah Sacks, who has his eyes set on a more unique career: film. 

Sacks’ first introduction to film came when a film company used his house as a set. After experiencing the production live and speaking to the directors of the company, Sacks realized how nuanced production is and became interested in the industry. 

“It plays a big role in working as a team, finding the technical aspect in art, and being constantly creative,” he said 

Creativity is an idea that quite literally surrounds Sacks and his passion for filmmaking. While he has worked on various other filmmaking projects, Sacks’ ability to mesh together art and film comes to light in his latest piece, Synesthesia. 

Noah Sacks

With his current circumstances and available resources, Sacks sought to create something different. Combining music and film, his piece communicated the beauty of sound through the depiction of light. The piece was a visual interpretation of a song. Although it was simply sound and film, what Sacks had produced was far more compelling than the commonality of a music video. 

The genius of the idea is in its simplicity. Sacks was clear in stating that the piece was going to be filmed in a single take, within a still frame, and with only one subject. There would be little post production editing and camera work, as Sacks chose to instead highlight the dynamic array of colors and lighting techniques. 

Each technique and transition was meticulously thought out and planned. Every detail was precise, from the color of light passing over the subject’s face, to the coordination between the rhythm of the music to the pattern of the lights. This display was all meant to emphasize and illustrate the complexity of the music. 

Sacks stresses the importance of using local artists in his work, as the song used was part of an album recently made by senior Cece Olszewski. Appreciating its wide range of vocals and instruments, Noah chose the piece “Honeybee,” which, he said, was both “simple and complex at the same time”. The song fit perfectly with the film, with the voices and instruments being almost personified by the lights. 

The planning process for the video was far from easy. Sacks listened to the song over one hundred times to formulate his vision. 

“I basically closed my eyes and imagined what I saw,” he said. 

Carrying out the idea was no simpler. Fifth blocks in the media lab were filled with various challenges and mishaps, from mastering lighting techniques to assembling a DIY camera track. After three weeks of preparation and ten different takes, Sacks and his team of six finally called it complete. 

In the end, the process was rewarding for both his crew and himself, as the team quickly learned that when working on long-term projects, reflection is critical in producing the best result. 

“I didn’t understand the necessity of letting things sit,” Sacks said. “You can’t make really fast decisions when it comes to making videos that involve translating music and lights and lighting techniques.” 

As Sacks prepares to continue his passion for film after high school, he advises others who are interested in videography to “let your mind soar and bring it down to a science.” 

Above all, his work is a reminder that art has no limitations. 

“Art is expression. Film is an expression of art, from the lens to the light to the paper on which it started on,” Sacks said. “It always has the potential to inspire—which art is also made of.”