by Markus Etter
«Light Graffiti’s» have always put a spell on me. A seemingly simple photographic trick, can – if done by a skilled professional – result in a fascinating array over wonderful imagery.
A «light painting» or «light graffiti» is created by fixing a stills photo camera in a locked of position and exposing one single image for a longer period of time – typically around 30 seconds. During the exposure time, the artist moves a light source in front of the lens. The resulting picture produces surreal, organic light creations, floating in the air – and illuminating the scene around them in beautiful colors.
How it works
As a professional filmmaker I have dedicated a considerable amount of time and energy in bringing this photographic trick into the world of filmmaking. This project is the result of 3 years of research and planning. And this is how it works:
- We are building a multi camera rig, consisting of 50-100 DSLR stills cameras. All fixed in line on a rigid pole construction.
- All cameras will be connected to a self developed «triggerbox».
- This triggerbox will allow us to to open and close the shutter of each camera individually. Once programmed accordingly, we will be able to fire off all cameras the same instant, but have their shutters close in sequence from the first to the last camera.
- During this exposure time, a light graffiti is created in front of the camera, by moving a light source around in front of the lenses.
- As a result we will receive a series of photographs – each having the light graffiti a little further evolved than the previous one.
- Through further technical adjustments, we will be able to set an exact time delay for the shutter closing sequence and the interval between the cameras. This will allow us to film any segment of a longer choreography in front of the camera.
For the final film, we will be working closely with professional dancers, who will perform a choreographed dance with light sources in front of the cameras. This, combined with an appropriate scene setting will make for a very unique film experience, like you have never seen before.
Why you should back this project
The technical setup for this project is considerable. But it is a challenge that we are looking forward. The construction of the triggerbox alone will cost around CHF 4000. It is the heart of the whole project and will allow us to make fine adjustments to the individual operational behavior of the DSLR cameras. The box will allow us to use the whole camera rig as it where a regular film camera mounted on rails.
For this Project, I am working closely with NIKON Switzerland, who has kindly offered to help provide the still cameras needed for the setup.
With your help, I will finally make this project become reality. Thank You!!