This week I’d like to explain, in my opinion, the second most interesting type of shots from my latest video – WINTER. It’s light painting timelapse. To be honest it was my first try of such technique and I’m quite happy with the results. But beware, it’s extremely tedious 😉 Especially, if you’re not sure if the result would be even usable.
As always, check out the shots and then read a few tips on how to achieve this effect. If you try such shot, be sure to post it on my Facebook group – I love watching such abstract things 🙂
The basic concept of how the light painting timelapse is done was shown in the video (also in the WINTER making of video). In classic light painting photography, you set long shutter speed and draw different shapes with a flashlight or another light source. In timelapse, you just need to repeat that a few dozen times creating pretty much the same shape in the same place 😉
Of course, it’s a technique that is usually used in night shots. If you want to try it in daylight, first make some test with still photography 😉 Even if it would be night, in brighter locations you may need to use an ND filter. Of course, it depends on what you want to paint with the light. The more complicated is the painting, the more time you need. For my shots I used an interval of 12-15 seconds and shutter speed of about 10 seconds. During that 10 seconds I had to go into the frame, paint whatever I was painting and go out of the frame. The less time you’re in the frame, the less you’ll be visible in the shot. I mean – in my shots, especially in the snowman you can see me behind the snowman, and I’m transparent. In car shots – it was overall brighter location and I’m less visible in the frames.
The shapes I made are quite simple, and that’s what I recommend for the first shots. It’s not that easy to animate something in movement there 😉 So, basically you’ve got to know, when the camera is taking a picture. It’s harder with electronic shutter, because you don’t hear it. In DSLR camera, for sure you’ll be able to hear the mirror movement. I was just watching what’s happening on the camera screen. When the exposure starts go into the frame and start painting. It’s best to paint with some reference points, not just in the air, because you’ve got to do it lots of times in the same place 😉 You could also stay in the frame and accept that you’ll be visible, but it’s not the effect I wanted. Turn on your flashlight just for the painting. Don’t walk with it turned on during exposure, because you’ll get unwanted light artefacts in the shot. For the horns shot over the car, I was turning of the flashlight between the horns.
For two of three shots I used camera movement, which makes it a little more interesting (the snowman shot movement is fake). As usual I used Moza AirCross, which lets me use even that long exposure with Advanced motion timelapse feature.
The snowman shot was a little bit harder to edit. I think the main problem was that the location was way darker than the parking lot with car shots & I used longer focal length of 30mm. This way the flashlight, even if that was the same one, was too bright for the shot (especially I was pointing it directly into the camera). Remember, always make a test shot 😉 For the settings I chose I couldn’t see the image after it was taken. I fixed it a little in post, masking the snowman and a part of the image to reduce the flairs visible in the frame.
Overall, all three shots were quite hard to make. And I don’t mean just the shooting part 😉 For the car shots I took two cameras with me and NOT EVEN ONE MEMORY CARD… childish mistake. I had to drive back home for that. And for the snowman shot – I didn’t take spare battery. I just kept shooting the shot till the battery died. Usually I get a backpack with everything in it, but it was supposed to be a quick shot, and it was pretty cold, I wanted to be fast… 😉
Of course you can also try to fake it in post, but it’s not something I want to even try 😉 I love the fact that it’s all in camera effect, just another combination of stop motion and timelapse. So please, if you want to comment something about drawing that in After Effects – just don’t 😛 Also, it wouldn’t be that easy to make it natural with camera movement.
That’s all for this week and I think that’s the last post in which I explain the shots from WINTER video 🙂 Don’t forget to enable the notifications for the blog and see you next time!