When is a physical graphic not physical? When it’s made of light.
Light painting is a technique more often associated with stills photography. It can bring movement and dynamism to an otherwise still image. The technique involves long exposures which allow the movement of single points of light to be captured as streaks. This also means the person doing the ‘painting’ effectively becomes invisible as they are in constant motion and generally not illuminated.
Like other photographic techniques it has found its way into the world of moving images. There are different ways this can be achieved, using a stills camera to create a stop-motion video for example or with a very slow shutter speed on your video camera and a very steady tripod. Both of these present their own issues – you would need a lot of stills to create a smooth stop motion and with a slow shutter on your camera every other moving element in your shot would be reduced to a blur. That’s why this video really caught my attention, it is essentially ‘live action’ light painting.
Having recently made use of physical graphics in a number of projects I couldn’t help but think this would be an interesting and different way to approach them.
The makers of the video aren’t giving away their secrets but I would imagine it involved a LOT of post production working using various layers and masks. So what’s the point? Sure, you could just create the ‘light painted’ parts in After Effects…but where’s fun in that!