Tricky light-painting moves using 60 cameras

A few weeks prior to this project, we were working on the Speed Ramp feature. This is a new module in Xangle Camera Server that lets the user select the precise moment where the action is going to be frozen. It is perfect for action shots, but it made me realize that for light-painting events, we might be able to use half the number of cameras and still get striking results. I really like the slow-fast play back, and this is where this "Speed ramp structure" idea came from. Instead of selecting our freezing point in the app, we do it with cameras placement. The thing is that with light-painting, it's easy to compose for a specific angle. We simply make sure that the subject is posing in the right angle, and we do the light-painting trace to match with the overall movement. So for this project in Sharjah at Xposure Photography Festival, we did this exact setup: 30 cameras super close to each other, and 30 distributed along the rest of the rig. Makes sense right? Here are a few diagrams and the end result.

360 degree bullet-time right with a higher density of the cameras on 1/3 of the structure (60 cameras total)

360 degree bullet-time right with a higher density of the cameras on 1/3 of the structure (60 cameras total)

On day number 3 of the event, we did a few experiments during our break. We went in interval mode for 3 iterations (60 x 3 = 180 images). As the motion is faster when the cameras behind the subject are triggering, we were using that moment to switch pose. Which means 3 poses within the same take. Basically, I was running around Kim with my tube, making sure I was following the sound of the camera shutters, and Kim was precise enough to move at the right moment. She was moving fast to reduce the motion blur. In my case (when we switched roles), I was moving slower to take advantage of this motion blur. Both options are great and I'm super happy with the results. It's tricky but wow I love that kind of experiments.

Eric Pare