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Sarah Thompson

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About Sarah Thompson

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  • Occupation
    Cinematographer
  • Location
    Chicago
  1. I was obsessed with this kind of stop motion when I was a young teenager in the 1970s. I used my dad's Super 8 film camera with a cable release so I could fire it one frame at a time. These days, you can do this with basically any DSLR or even a compact camera so long as you can set it to manual exposure and put it on a tripod. What I am pretty sure was the technique used for most of the film above was to set up the camera on a tripod, frame the subject then lock the tripod down. Shoot a frame, then move the whole tripod back a few inches and have the actor move the same distance. Shoot another frame, move, shoot, move, etc. For some of the later shots where the camera was stationary, the same technique can still be used -- move the subject, shoot, move, shoot, etc. It takes a lot of patience! The reason for manual exposure is to prevent flickering from frame to frame as the camera adjusts itself to the scene. Finally, you can usually just import all the frames into your editing software as an image sequence and then set a frame rate. You might find that setting a slower than 24fps rate will work best -- my guess is the video did that too. Back in my Super 8 days I would often click twice for each movement, so 12fps would probably work well. Give it a try -- one thing is certain: you will have a lot of fun doing it! :)
  2. I haven't tried this, but I am pretty sure it would work: 1. Lock the camera down really solidly so there is no movement at all in terms of pan/tilt. 2. Shoot the scene at as close as possible to a 360 degree shutter angle. 3. Frame rate can be anything you like depending on the kind of movement you want. 4. In post (ideally in After Effects or Nuke, but I'll explain for After Effects), import the footage into a new comp. Create a black solid and put it below the footage. Set the footage layer to a low level of opacity and choose an additive blend mode. Then make a large number of copies of that layer and offset each of them in time by 1 frame. You'll need a LOT of them, enough to span 10 to 30 seconds depending on your frame rate. This will effectively give you a 10 to 30 second exposure for the water, but with a rolling window so you still get movement. If you have elements you don't want to blur, add another layer at the top of the stack set to normal blend mode and be prepared for some work because you will need to roto masks for them. Another option would be to shoot the live action separately from the water -- I'd keep the camera locked down between both shots, but for the live action I would go back to a 180 degree (or whatever your preference) shutter so the movement doesn't look weird and set up a portable popup green screen behind the actor(s). This would give better looking movement whilst letting you pull a key so most of the roto can be avoided.
  3. That's great to hear. Wow, a company with actual customer service! :)
  4. There are a few Alexa Classic EVs up on eBay right now at tempting prices, but they are lacking battery plates. The part number is there in the manual for the AB plate, but I'm not finding them listed for sale anywhere othere than a couple of places that list them but don't seem to carry stock. If you've shot with EVs, what power solution(s) did you use and what can you recommend? A dumb option would seem to be to use a generic AB plate and put an Alexa Lemo on it, but I do like the no dangling wires thing assoxiated with the OEM plate. Advice gratefully appreciated! :)
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