High Speed Photography, aka Moviemaking

When was the last time you were watching TV and thought of the obvious, yet seemingly forgotten fact that what you were seeing between 25 and 30 single images per second? A long time ago? Then join me: Back to the roots of filmmaking.

When “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” was released, a long time of waiting had come to an end. It was about one year ahead of its release that I first heard of the production. Too much time had passed since the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy was shown in cinemas around the globe, and I was very positively surprised by the news. In December 2012, when the moment had come in which I could finally gather with friends and check the time slots in my local cinema I stumbled across an abbreviation that I had never seen before: HFR. The Hobbit was only to be seen in HFR. My local cinema appeared to take it for granted that this abbreviation was either self-explanatory or common knowledge. Do you know what it stands for? I did not. Google did. HFR stands for High Frame Rate. These days, high frame rate means 48 pictures per second. Thats 486720 single pictures that were shown in the standard run time of “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey”! Quite impressive.

About half a year ago, just after the release of The Hobbit, I made my own short film. It is 24 seconds long. It consists of 142 images being shown at remarkable 6 frames per second (who needs HFR?). It has special effects. It has a plot. It is analogue. See it below.

[vimeo https://vimeo.com/58792582]

This short film was shot on 35mm film using the infamous LomoKino. In essence, this is a photo camera that has a turnable handle as a release button. The Images are arranged vertically on the strip of film which allows around 140 frames to be shot on a regular 35mm 36-exposure filmroll. After scanning the negatives I used a software called Kinocut to detect the single frames and stitch them together to make this wonderful little video. Probably I should have used a tripod, but I am not too bothered about the wabbling.

I am deeply in love with the LomoKino and am looking forward to the many possibilities that lie ahead. Will I try combining multiple films to make longer shots? Will I dare making my own version of Wallace and Gromit? Will I film from inside a car and create a city guide in 25 seconds? To all these questions: I hope so! But I certainly do not need 48 FPS to be satisfied.


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