What do you get when you combine Hugo Baptista, Cisco LightPainting, Darren Pearson, Will Wildmot, a light painting workshop, 3 hours of shooting, 12 Nikon cameras, 9 Canon camera, 1400 photos, and 30 hours of post-production? One really cool piece of Light Painting Bullet-Time Stop-Motion Animation. This piece was created at the 1st International LightArt and Light Painting Convention held in Oviedo, Spain. The event was organized by the LPWA (click here)to read a detailed closing report of the event.. For more about on the background of the bullet time lapse project check out the interview below…
LPP ∇ Hugo I just saw your Bullet Time Lapse you create at the LightArt Congress in Oviedo Spain this year awesome work what inspired the idea and how did the project come together?
HB ∇ As you probably know the term bullet-time comes from that scene in The Matrix where Neo dodges bullets. When I first saw it in 99 I thought I want to do that one day. And that’s how I can now dodge bullets…lol
Seriously, Eric Pare and Patrick Rochon have made great bullet-time videos with light painting and of course they were also a big part of the inspiration. Unfortunately the budget required for such a feat with a large number of the same cameras, lenses and an advanced triggering system with live viewing often exceeds what many clients are ready to spend. When I was in talks with the Oviedo LightArt congress organizers about how to go about this project we decided it would be feasible to crowd-source this with workshop attendees. Not only was it feasible but it was more inclusive too in a workshop setting. To make it work we needed to have the attendees bring along camera/lens combinations with approximately the same field of view. That is why we required a complete list of camera(s) and lense(s) on the sign up form so I could request the most common. We ended up with 12 Nikons and 9 Canons and diverse lenses that I tried to keep at approx. 18mm.
LPP ∇ Oh wow this created as part of a Light Painting workshop?
HB ∇ Yes. A 3 hour workshop designed to be all about doing and not so much about talking given the little time available. Here is a more detailed explanation of the process: http://www.oddballgraphics.com/?works=crowdsourcing-a-bullet-time-stop-motion-video
LPP ∇ Who were the other light painters that were involved?
HB ∇ I was very happy to have Cisco Light Painting (left) and Darren Pearson (right) agree to LP behind two dancers from ZigZag dance group while Will Wildmot helped with the setup as well as being responsible for a side light.
LPP ∇ How did you set it up, it must have been very difficult working with so many different people and camera?
HB ∇ Yes, Particularly the language barrier was an issue since not everyone understood English and my Portuguese masked with a Spanish accent wasn’t clear to everyone. That lead to a misunderstanding with two members of the Canon row who set their cameras to 80mm instead of 18mm. That’s why I didn’t use that row in the bullet-time. I should have printed the settings for everyone to read like I originally planned but I naively thought it could be done verbally. The first hour was spent aligning the cameras in a semi-circle, pointing the cameras at a ping pong ball on a tripod and making sure they were at the same height and same distance from each other.
LPP ∇ What kind of light painting tools did you use?
HB ∇ I made a custom tool consisting of a transparent hose, two handles and a double DLW from Michael Ross. Cisco and Darren were using their own tools.
LPP ∇ Do you plan on doing more of these workshops?
HB ∇ I sure do. But not necessarily using this format. I want to do it with many more cameras in a wide open space next time.
LPP ∇ How were the images put together in post?
HB ∇ The first stage is importing all the raws in Lightroom and organize them by camera number. Then I’ll approximate the settings so that the different cameras/lenses match. I then created a 1400 photo quick collection making sure to not select accidental shots and to not include sequences that were missing shots as was the case with some. I found pretty soon that some cameras had moved slightly between exposures which meant copying crop settings wouldn’t work as it did with all other settings. I knew a considerable amount of editing would be needed so I decided to go all the way and crop all the photos one by one based on where the action was taking place which meant this bullet-time would have a variable center of rotation. I liked this effect in early tests so I went with it. I then exported the quick collection to a 4K sequence and further edited it with After Effects and Twixtor.
LPP ∇ Woah thats a tremendous about of work! How long did it take to put everything together to make the final video?
HB ∇ About 30 hours (excluding the many hours of rendering)
LPP ∇ What was the most important thing you learned from this experience?
HB ∇ I met many people from around the world who are very passionate about light painting but also many who were just starting, all working together for a greater goal. I learned that the Spanish LP community is brewing with incredible talent and was inspired to see how committed everyone was.
LPP ∇ Is there anything you would do differently next time you make a Light Painting Bullet Timelapse?
HB ∇ If I have the budget to do it for a commercial project yes, pretty much everything would be different but next time I use this workshop format I will definitely not forget to write the settings down on unambiguous pieces of paper!
LPP ∇ Its a really great piece of work! Thank for taking the time to answer some questions.
To keep up to date on the NEXT light painting workshop and for more amazing work Check out Hugo’s website OddBallGraphics.com