In a recent thread on Reddit, filmmaker Jonah Haber discussed how he created a simple but striking visual effect:
I bought a roll of glow in the dark paper from Aliexpress and asked my friend to dance in front of it. This is the result of that
Not mentioned but key is the use of a strobe flash. Haber says timing the final hits took weeks of setup.
I actually had a toy similar to this when I was younger. It was a small piece of glow in the dark fabric and a small little strobe (think disposable camera size flash) where you would create “shadow art” with it. I recently visited my parents and was reminded about it when I was there and thought it would make a cool video!
The shadow-capture effect is haunting, at least for me, evoking as it does the etched shadows of Hiroshima. Haber said he was mainly inspired by a Jon Hopkins music video. It also uses dancers and negative space, but in a way I’d say is less fluid:
Some other commenters chimed in with a Soft Bullets music video that’s in a glow-in-the-dark vein:
I love the idea and the execution! Not only is glow-in-the-dark photo paper readily available from craft supply stores, but also glow-in-the-dark paint and even makeup. What that brought to my mind is Thad Nurski’s short film “A Dimly Lit Room” which uses blacklight-reactive makeup to create some hypnotic low-light visuals. “A Dimly Lit Room” just had its premiere at Dances with Films in Los Angeles. I hope it will be available online in full soon. In the meantime, here is the teaser:
Even with a medium as old as film, people are creating new visual effects. I have to think that as low-light cinematography gets better and cheaper, we’ll start to see more exploration of filming with alternative light sources. Who’s afraid of the dark?