Posts Tagged ‘Video’

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20×20 art exhibition at 35 Chapel Walk, Sheffield UK, 5-8 February 2014

In Uncategorized on February 8, 2014 by Admin Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

664CANON_full_takedown

20×20 2014 at Access Space, Sheffield UK

After several months at Access Space, the 20×20 open art exhibition moved to 35 Chapel Walk for a few days in a different location. I helped to re-hang the show, and here are a couple of quick timelapse videos of staff and volunteers taking down the show at Access Space and re-installing it. 35 Chapel Walk is a for-hire ex-shop unit in Sheffield city centre.

Now you see it…

Now you see it again.

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Magnetic Atlas – Tracey Holland’s exhibition at 20-21 Visual Arts Centre, Scunthorpe UK

In Uncategorized on January 4, 2014 by Admin Tagged: , , , , , , , , , ,

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Synchronized video in suspended lamps. From “Ordinalia” by Tracey Holland.

I have been working on a documentation video (as yet unfinished) of some of the installation of artist Tracey Holland’s “Magnetic Atlas” exhibition at 20-21 in Scunthorpe UK. Actually, my involvement was not documentation but technical advice and configuration for the audio-visual elements of the show, and you can see me in the video also doing some of the physical installation. For me, the brief started out quite straightforward but developed into a real technical challenge in the end.

I’ve known Tracey for a long time but have never worked with her before. I’ve always liked her work and it embodies what my ambition is for my own work, to make art that has both beauty and meaning and can be approached in a number of ways.

When we first talking about my involvement in this project, it was just a bit of advice on the audio-visual equipment that would play back Tracey’s video inside custom-made enclosures to be hung in the 20-21 gallery. However, when it cam to the final spec, two sets of three screens needed synchronized three-channel video and this put a very different complexion on the whole job. What’s more, one of the triple-screen works was to be hung from several meters up.
Magnetic Atlas v5

In the foreground, Tracey Holland, the artist, & Dominic Mason of 20-21. The venue’s technician, Frank, is up the scaffold tower, and I’m the one in the background scratching his head.

Those of you who have worked with multi-channel video will understand that to go from multiple single channels of video to multiple SYNCHRONIZED channels is not just a little extra work, it’s a whole order of magnitude increase in complexity. I’m not going to go into the subtleties of it in this post but will write an additional post that discusses the technicalities, strictly for the geeks.

After much thought  and discussion, we decided to implement all the video playback using Raspberry Pis because they are low-cost, low-power and can playback Full HD video at 25 frames-per-second. There are lots of media players on the market but the domestic versions are a bit of an unknown quantity and cannot usually be synchronized.

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My Raspberry Pi & Lilliput multi-screen test bed.

I would have to admit to a being a bit too confident with something I had only limited experience with, and the RasPis were very fiddly to set up, especially seeing as not all the lamps needed the level of sophistication available. However, they proved me to be correct about the reliability and flexibility of Linux and the Raspberry Pi hardware platform.

20-21 is an amazing place to be showing your work in. It’s a converted church, but not the damp and gloomy space you might think. It’s very well-endowed, warm and dry, with multiple exhibition spaces, offices, café and education rooms, and the character of the building has been preserved. The staff are exceptionally helpful although the team seemed very small to run such a busy programme and large building. They seem to do a lot of overtime.

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Tea and biscuits during installation, courtesy of 20-21.

Unfortunately, due to the ambitious nature of the work and the limited installation time, we didn’t finish for the opening day but the public were very forgiving. I have worked with a lot of artists and Tracey is one of the most rewarding people I have ever worked for. Despite many stresses, frustrations and setbacks, she was always a pleasure to be with. We laughed a lot and there was no shouting or bitter recriminations. At least, not yet.

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Artist Tracey Holland.

The show continues at 20-21 until 18th 11th January 2014 and I highly recommend you see it before it finishes.
http://www.northlincs.gov.uk/tourism-museums-and-the-arts/20-21/20-21-whats-on/20-21-exhibitions/

Tracey’ website is here:
http://www.traceyholland.co.uk/

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MADE in one day – timelapse video of The Entrepreneur Festival

In Uncategorized on September 22, 2012 by Admin Tagged: , , , , , , , , , ,

I was commissioned by Seven Hills PR consultants to shoot a single-shot timelapse video of people arriving for the MADE Entrepreneur Festival in Sheffield on 20th September 2012. The example I was asked to emulate is an existing video of large window graphics being applied to the outside of a building.

However, there was not going to be anything similar at Sheffield City Hall and, because of other events happening in Barkers’ Pool, a similar shot of the main entrance was obscured. So, the brief I had was to create something impressive to communicate the size and energy of the event, and shoot and edit it in a single day so that it could be shown online the following day.

This kind of open brief is both good and bad. I prefer to be given creative freedom, but with great power comes great responsibility, and I had to come up with something.

My solution was to capture the size of the event in terms of the number of delegates, and to end with a bit of a tease as the Oval Hall fills up, the lights go down and the event starts. Instead of a single shot, I used five cameras around the building but only used four in the final edit.


Sheffield City Hall is managed by Sheffield International Venues, and is one of the finest venues in the country with a huge capacity of 2,271 in the Irwin Mitchell Oval Hall. MADE was a sell-out event with a number of high-profile guest speakers including HRH The Duke of York and Dragon’s Den regular Peter Jones.

I’ve over-achieved a bit on this one, and it was a lot to get done in one day, but the client was delighted and it was shown to the audience during the last day of the festival.

hospitality.sheffieldcityhall.co.uk
wearesevenhills.com
madefestival.com

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Club Culture at the Culture Club – Shooting the Stars of Sheffield, UK

In Uncategorized on September 18, 2012 by Admin Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Under The Stars is a night club for people with learning disabilities. It is organised and run by Sheffield-based social enterprise Reach 4 The Stars, and provides a safe and friendly environment for people of all ages (over 18) to enjoy a bit of Sheffield’s nightlife.
underthestars.org.uk
reach4thestars.org.uk

Here is a timelapse video I shot at their 5th birthday celebration event at The Hallam Union Building of Students (HUBS), Sheffield, UK, on 19th April 2012.

This week, Reach 4 The Stars / Under The Stars will be presenting at Sheffield’s regular Culture Club event, which is a platform for cultural organisations to publicise their activities and services. On Wednesday (19th September) the fifth Culture Club event will take place as part of the University of Sheffield’s Festival of the Mind. The theme is “Diversity” and is organised by Sheffield City Council and The North Marketing Agency. The event is free and you can still book via Eventbrite.
nrth.co.uk

Hosted by the University of Sheffield, the “Festival of the Mind is a celebration of ideas, culture and collaboration. It’s open to everyone and it’s FREE“.
festivalofthemind.group.shef.ac.uk

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New Year and the tyranny of choice

In Uncategorized on January 1, 2012 by Admin Tagged: , , , , ,

Happy New Year. It’s quite natural to be thinking about new opportunities at the beginning of a new year and if anything, working in digital media, the problem is not what to do, but what not to do. The automation possible with desktop computers and the availability of high quality image capture devices means that it is very easy to shoot lots and lots and lots of material. But the real challenge is in post-production and critical choice.

My own tyranny stems from having too many ideas and too many options. Digital photography does not require me to be selective at the capture stage and I can always see more than one composition. Here are 3 shots of the same subject with different composition. Which one to use and how to crop? I’m still unsure which one I prefer.

My major challenge for 2012 is to clear my backlog. I have dozens of small projects, and a few large ones, that I shot on spec but need to find time to edit. And that does not include all the conceived projects that are fully formed in my mind but not even begun in production.

2011 was a bad year, cursed by technical failures, equipment losses and late payments, and much of my own work has been delayed.

Happy New Year and here’s to a more productive and prosperous 2012.

Articles

There and back again: In-car timelapse experiments with CHDK

In Uncategorized on December 21, 2011 by Admin Tagged: , , , , , ,

Rain, plane and automobiles.

Here are a couple of timelapse video edits made from material I shot from in-car cameras, timelapse-enabled with the Canon Hack Development Kit (CHDK). The software is an amazing achievement and I use it regularly, although I only use a small part of its functionality. Installing it can be a bit fiddly and you need to spend some time with it, but I have found it extremely useful shooting timelapse and HDR.

Both videos were shot during car journeys that were at predetermined times so I had to accept the routes and weather conditions. One camera is on a suction mount on the inside of the windscreen on the passenger side. This position means that it is mostly in line-of-sight with the roof pillar and does not obscure the driver’s view. In the first video the other camera was mounted behind the passenger seat’s head rest, looking out of the rear passenger’s window.

Shooting through glass is always problematic, but there are ways of reducing the risks. Internal reflections can be reduced by masking internal features with blackout cloth, and/or mounting the cameras very close to the glass. Also, I use black cardboard masks to stop the camera seeing its own reflection. Cleaning the glass helps too. These two videos are just experimental and exhibit a lot of shooting faults.

I use CHDK on Canon Powershot cameras. I have several A560s and a few other models for various reasons. CHDK requires a different build of the software for each camera model so I mostly use several of the same model so that I can swap memory cards between them.

In unpredictable and and extreme conditions such as this, I mostly set the cameras to Program auto-expose and auto-ISO as it is impractical to change the settings during a shoot. This mostly works, particularly for video, as the movement hides a lot of the shooting faults.

I used the script Ultra Intervalometer and set the interval to 0 so the cameras shot as quickly as possible. This is about once a second for A560s. This depends on exposure time and they shoot slower in low light.

I performed various exhaustion tests on the batteries. I’m working on external battery boxes but running them on the two internal AA rechargeable batteries I get variable results depending on shooting period and interval.

Using fairly new Maplin 2,500 mAh rechargeable NiMH batteries (all numbers are approximate):

0 second interval – 9,000+ shots in about 4 hours.
5 second interval – 5,500+ shots in about 11 hours
10 second interval – 3,200+ shots in about 12 hours
20 second interval – 2,200+ shots in about 14 hours

To extend battery life I switch off the screen and this introduces a small problem that focus-lock is not preserved. This is not usually a problem for distant subjects but can be in some circumstances. Problems with the focus are apparent in the Jean Marc Calvet video, though not a big issue. When I’ve shot HDR timelapse, it is better to use external power so that I can lock exposure and focus in order to get higher quality results.

Canon Hack Development Kit (CHDK)
chdk.wikia.com/wiki/CHDK

The music for both videos is by Jason Shaw.
audionautix.com

Articles

Double Exposure – The Art of Commerce

In Uncategorized on October 12, 2011 by Admin Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Sunrise at The Quadrant, Sheffield, UK

I am both a commercial media producer and a fine artist. As an artist, my ambition is to make beautiful, meaningful and lasting work for a general audience. I make my work for the world-at-large and I see no conflict of interests in being a commercial artist and also a fine artist. In fact, this is a very traditional approach, and I see myself as a traditionalist, although I use very modern technology and techniques.

This week has seen success for me in both worlds with my work being acknowledged as a commercial success and also being selected for an international film festival.

Still from The Quadrant video promo

Recently, I completed a job for The Quadrant, a managed workspace in Sheffield, UK, and this is a good example of how the two worlds of art and commerce can benefit from each other. I was commissioned to make a commercial promotional video and was given 24-hour access to their building. I saw an opportunity to make something of my own at the same time. Not instead of, but as well as.

I have been experimenting with techniques to capture high dynamic range (HDR) time-lapse video since 2008 and I saw an opportunity to test my workflow. I shot a number of views of the building as the sun moved during the day, and used the open-source Canon Hack Development Kit (CHDK) to enable Canon PowerShot compact cameras to shoot multiple-exposure time-lapse. For the promo I mixed these shots with other timelapse shots of activity within the building. The Quadrant are very happy with the promo I made for them, particularly as it is markedly different from the usual commercial promo, and this is what an artist can bring to a project, a high degree of innovation and a different way of looking at the world. Here is the finished video, music by Laurence Alexander:

I used the clips of HDR time-lapse to make a completely separate piece of work that is an artwork rather than a promo. This is part of an ongoing body of work called “The Secret Life of Buildings” and is a collection of video works that attempt to capture the essence of the building, rather than to simply document it.

Still from The Secret Life of Buildings #6

This work has been selected to be shown at the Chronos 2011 Film Festival of time-lapse, slow-motion and stop-motion in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and here is The Secret Life of Buildings #6 with music by Erik Satie, played by BL Underwood: