Check out this excellent light painting video for the song KamaUnit by Samved. Incredibly this light painting video was created by just two people, light painters Chandrashekhar Karalkar & Nisarg Mehta of India. This massive light painting project took nearly 8 months to shoot starting in June 2013 and ending in Jan 2014, during that time Chandrashekhar and Nisarg created over 4000 individual still images! Below is a short interview with Chandrashekhar talking about what how this project came to be, what was involved in creating it, and a little advice for anyone looking to take on something similar.
LPP ∇ Chandrashekhar great work on the KamaUnit Light Painting Video, tell me a little about you, do you have a background in video or photography? How long have you been light painting?
CK ∇ I am Chandrashekhar Karalkar, enjoying creative services since the year 2001. Currently heading On-Air Promos for a leading youth Entertainment Broadcasting channel in India. Video Direction; visualization has been my forte & also have bagged some awards for my work.
I have never taken any formal education (Academically) in photography or any form of media. It’s pure passion. When friends ask me if I am a photographer I simply say “I have a camera but I am not a photographer”. I love stop motion animation & started being passionate about light painting / Long exposure since end of 2012. I needed to do something more and break through the mundane work clutter and that’s when some of your Light Painting caught my eyeballs & inspired me the most to take up Light Painting and challenge myself further.
LPP ∇ Thank you! Can you tell me a little more about the project, how did it come to be? Were you approached by the record label or did you go to the band with the idea for a light painting music video?
CK ∇ One of the key band members of Samved the band [K.K] has been a dear friend for more than a decade now, when he let me listen to this freshly cooked track, it just blew me up. We spoke, I was very keen on experimenting with Light Painting further, so I showed them some of my Light Paintings & I asked them if I could shoot a video of this track combining Stop-Motion with light painting technique & in return all I wanted was their time & patience, they all were thrilled and agreed readily.
LPP ∇ What inspired the project?
CK ∇ Like mentioned I was hugely inspired by your work and was extremely keen on experimenting with Light Painting.
The objective was to create a visually intriguing experience, with stunning light paintings & conceptual elements. This song “Kama Unit” by the band SAMVED, vaguely portray the birth of our universe through the divine intercourse of light & sound. That everything we know and see are made of is the result of heat, light, vibration & attraction. Musically, the piece has a fusion of Indian Classical & Electronica, creating a pleasant surreal incline, with enough room left intentionally for subjective interpretation by the audience.
It was not an easy task to shoot and edit, however I was fortunate to have a young enthusiastic kid Nisarg Mehta along with me to work on this piece of art. Once the video was ready, the band made their move and approached few music labels. Universal Music one of the leading music labels today promoting new talent were thrilled and excited to see this new, innovative piece of art and decided to take on the launch of the album and the video.
LPP ∇ There is some beautiful lighting in this music video, some of the scenes remind me of Dean Chamberlain’s work specifically the closeups of the leading lady, were you inspired by Dean’s work at all for this project?
CK ∇ It’s a great compliment if it resembles the work of a great artist like Dean Chamberlain, however to be very honest, I came across his art only after I finished the video. This video took almost 9 months to complete and has taken a lot of hard work.
LPP ∇ What type of gear did you shoot on?
CK ∇ I have a 550D with kit 18 55mm lens, 50mm 1.8, Tokina 11-16mm & a basic Tri-Pod.
We attempted a DIY bullet time shot. For which we used 3 barrels which were present on the location, a thread to measure and mark the arc and distance, 2 plank of woods to place the camera, borrowed 7 cameras from the friends. (out put was not that bad :D) We had no budget for this video. So had to use things which were available for cheap or borrow.
LPP ∇ How many different lights and were there a few that were your goto lights that you used more than others?
CK ∇ There must be around 36 different types of light & light rigs we have used. Most of them we have customized & got them made from a local hardware store. It was fun, as they where totally confused of our needs but followed the designs we roughly drew but had good inputs from them too.
Our favorite where the different sizes, LED Strip Sticks that we got made, EL WIRE [of course] & various effects were created with lots of permutation combination of various intensity of torches and combination of gel papers.
LPP ∇ How long did the video take and how many individual images did you end up shooting?
CK ∇ We started working on this dream project in June 2013 & finished the shoot in January 2014. Since this project started as an experiment and a challenge, we shot around 4000 pictures & used about 1600 final shots. To put this in perspective, most feature length films take about 4 months to shoot, this three and a half minute music video took us around nine months to complete. Its indeed a labour of passion and dedication!
The result of this mammoth undertaking, endless nights of shooting, crazy amounts of editing and standing motionless for minutes together to get every single frame right is a music video that few have seen and fewer still have attempted to make, anywhere in the world.
LPP ∇ How was the talent to work with, did they understand how long and difficult the process was going to be?
CK ∇ The only reason I could complete this video and the result is so magnificent is only because of the talent. It was difficult to get all the band members under one roof at the same time as each of us had their own commitments but they were all so excited about the video that they would be all charged up. Since we shot only in the night and with the instructions of posing motionless while we did the lighting was extremely challenging. We use to shoot all night & be up for our work early. All the band members are young, full of zest and most importantly being an artiste they understand other art form too. It was pleasure working with Samved 🙂
LPP ∇ What advice would you give for someone that was thinking of taking on a light painting video project like this?
CK ∇ My advice for a any artiste would be, is to first conceptualize, plan and be extremely, extremely patient while working on a music video because unlike a still photograph the flow of the images to become a video is very tedious. After shooting for 4 to 5 hours we got about 6 sec of footage. Be calm and patient that’s mantra.
LPP ∇ Thank you again for taking the time and giving us some insight into this excellent light painting video project. This is great work!
CK ∇ Thank you.
Director / Light Painters – Shekhar Karalkar & Nisarg Mehta
Executive Producer – Shekhar Karalkar & Nisarg Mehta
Content Producer – Shekhar Karalkar, Nisarg Mehta & Samved
Costume & Makeup – Khyati Busa
Edit support by Kuldeep .J
Samved is – Ritvik Joe, KK, Zeeshan Khan, Sangeet Mishra, Kirti Prabar Das & Chandan Raina with Christie Bourcq