eric paré

LightSpin2

27 Nov 2017

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I love to mix dance and light-painting under a bunch load of cameras, and this is what I’ve been doing for quite a while now for my studio work. As for the original LightSpin project, this one happened mostly because of constraints. That is one of the most important part of the process: limiting myself to a few key elements. So what happened is that I got obsessed with the idea of working against a black wall. And as a matter of fact, I seriously hit the wall and it took me a while to figure out what to do with it.

LightSpin2 has been produced with 26 cameras inside a pitch black studio in Montréal using light-painting and bullet-time techniques. Nearly the whole content has been created on September 1st, 2017.

By Kim Henry & Eric Paré @ the Xangle studio.

https://ericpare.com - http://theXangle.com

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The past, the present and the future

Most of the content of this project has been produced within two hours only. And the editing took less than a day. But that’s not counting the five intense years of experience that allowed us to get to this point.

The first LightSpin took me about 400 hours of work to produce. It’s a project I did in late 2012 / early 2013 using 24 cameras in a full 360-degree environment. We used stop-motion and light-painting techniques and ended up with nearly half a million pictures. It was very tricky, I wasn’t really sure of what I was doing, but it turned out to be a good success anyhow. It got published on all of the major photo and video websites, and it’s been presented at many film festivals.

Since then, we kept improving the technique, both on the artistic and technical level. In 2014, we increased to 32 cameras and started shooting raw which created massive amount of data, but the quality jumped drastically

And the cool thing is that It’s because of these personal projects that we started to do live events in festivals and conferences. The way it works is that we bring our technology and make people live a unique experience in our dark environments. So far we’ve performed in Los Angeles, Madrid, Macau, New York City, we did SXSW and Coachella and many other events for brands like Microsoft, Intel and Adobe.

It might surprise a few, but one of the biggest challenges was to get out of this 360 degree setup and create good outdoors light-painting. I failed for two years before finding my voice. The Tube Stories exist because I absolutely wanted to spend some time outside of the studio. And it’s by pushing myself this way that I’ve been able to take a few steps back and come with better ideas and higher quality images.

Fast forward at the beginning of this year (2017), we built a 84 camera rig which got us incredibly smooth videos. Our Xangle camera software is now very mature and allows us to control everything from a single web page. We now either shoot in bulb mode for light-painting, in super high-speed mode to freeze the subject, or in interval mode to trigger the cameras one after the other.

LightSpin2 brought me back to my initial challenges: forcing myself to work with specific constraints. I got obsessed with the idea of working with a subject against a black wall. It turned out to be much harder than what I thought. My usual way of doing the light was not working at all. I was super visible in the frame, my shapes were not good, and the overall feeling was not super interesting. I felt like I couldn’t make my light-painting signature work with this 120-degree setup. After a couple of failed attempts, I decided to break my own rule. I attached the light on top of a pole. And it worked. As we kept shooting that day, Kim and I were quite inspired and decided to give it a last try without the pole. I put on my new ridiculous black suit and made a few dance steps.

What’s fascinating for me about this project, is that it is so easy to get ourselves super unstable by breaking only a few key elements. Then it’s like starting everything from scratch as far as frustrations go. However, it’s with the experience and knowledge acquired over the years, mixed with intuition and persistence, that this kind of project take life.

Where do we go from here?

These days, we’re playing with 120 cameras in a full 360 degree setup and in a weird twist, I realized that the more we add cameras, the less we feel the technology. The smoothness we are currently able to achieve brings some sort of magic that goes beyond the wow factor of the bullet-time effect to leave more space to the beauty of the movement of the dancers.


 

 



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