June 13, 2017 / J. Ott / Comments Off on This Glow-in-the-Dark Cinematography Will Have You Straight Trippin’
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. EDIT Oct 2017: Here it is:
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?
I’m a real sucker for clever uses of timelapse cinematography. This one must’ve taken a long time to make…
I wonder if he got sick of the song by the end? It looks like it starts with the After Effects project where he lined up the photos. Just that is a lot of work, never mind actually taking the photos and getting the lip sync correct.
What did you think of the video? Obviously the quality of the images and camerawork could be better, but I wonder if technology didn’t improve faster than the time it took to photograph and compile the full video.
June 19, 2015 / J. Ott / Comments Off on Your Weekend Viewing: Turning a Cheap Tripod into a Stabilized Camera Rig
Call it a Steadicam or Glidecam or Flycam or SteadyCam or what have you, stabilized camera rigs give you that smooth, free camera motion that’s just plain cool. To do it on a truly professional level, you need a very fit, well-trained operator with a vest-mounted rig that has a gimbal. Oh, and he or she needs an assistant to hold the heavy rig when it is not being deployed.
Fortunately, you can approximate these pro camera rig results yourself with a little bit of practice and some way to lower the center of gravity for your camera. The good folks at Mike’s Production Corner have a quick video that shows one way to do this, simply by inverting a cheap tripod and fanning out the legs.
If you want to make a living doing editing (as I currently do), I recommend learning Avid first, then Premiere (fewer job opportunities, but a growing field), then Final Cut X (even fewer opportunities as of right now, but potentially more when they add more pro workflow support). Movie Maker and iMovie will give you the basics, but won’t help you get work.
Some Basic Editing Software Recommendations
Avid MediaComposer is pricey and has a less intuitive interface, but they offer a student version at a price that’s competitive with the other major software solutions. It’s a pain-in-the-ass to get and activate (and transfer between machines). The new Adobe subscription licensing is another major reason I think Premiere is currently on the rise.
For low-budget indies, the Adobe workflow is very attractive, especially if you are doing documentaries and can make use of the auto-transcript features. Happy cutting — and US readers have a great long Memorial Day weekend!
May 23, 2014 / J. Ott / Comments Off on Your Weekend Viewing: Two Video Essays on Spielberg’s Art
After 40+ years of Hollywood career, director Stephen Spielberg is getting dissected in great detail. The first of these I saw was cameraman Vincent Laforet’s very practical look at how Spielberg did the blocking for specific scenes. Then, this week I saw two wider and more philosophical attempts to categorize the Bergmeister’s techniques.
Tony Zhou sees Spielberg as the last practitioner of the long (but not flashy) single take. He calls it “The Spielberg Oner”.
Fandor’s Kevin B. Lee, meanwhile, sees the auteur’s signature stroke as “The Spielberg Face”.
[via reader TC]
I think both make too much out of a pattern that’s all-too-common in other directors, but there’s no doubt that Spielberg has studied the greats and internalized some of their most powerful techniques. What do you think about these analyses? What do you see as Spielberg’s signature moves?
May 2, 2014 / J. Ott / Comments Off on Your Weekend Viewing: Great Director Fan Films
The first short to check out this weekend is called “Mite” and it’s a brilliant extension of The Shining. CG Artist Walter Volbers imagines what Kubrick ‘mite’ have done if he had use of CGI.
You’ll notice the importance of the sound design in bringing the digital images to life.
Another brilliant use of sound design is this “Wes Anderson Mixtape” — which doesn’t stop at remixing sound but also finds cool visual correspondences across the persnickety writer-director’s oeuvre.
If you still haven’t gotten enough filmmaker tributes this weekend, check out the preview for Vincent Laforet’s “Directing Motion” class, which breaks down an entire Spielberg scene from the perspective of the director.
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