As a growing business, it’s really important for us to stay on top of trends and technology. Last year, we made a music video for the band Embrace using a specialised rig that held six Go Pros. The shots were then stitched together using magical wizard software – you can read all about it and watch the music video here. It’s always fun to get out there and shoot fun new things – learning on the job is the backbone of this business.
So, when the opportunity came to harness some more cool tech, we grabbed it and ran. Our CEO Danny had recently tried out a technique called hyper lapse at Ilkley moors, West Yorkshire. It’s a very cool technique which produces a brilliant effect, especially with such fantastic scenery.
How is it done?
The key is to focus on one point and keep repositioning the camera around it, taking a photograph each time. The smaller movements you make, the better. If you’re in a corridor and going around corners, it’s tempting to take fewer photos because you’re turning – ignore that impulse, and take as many as possible so the turn is smooth. We shot the video, or should we say photographs, using a Canon 5D. The images that come out are massive, so scaling them down and converting them from RAW to JPEG is essential to speed up the workflow. The photos are then graded and put together in a timeline to play as one clip. Sometimes, some post production image stabilisation is needed just so smooth it out even further. It’s very easy to get the photos into the edit room and realise you’ve not taken enough. Our advice? Take more photos than you think you need. It’s better to have too many than too few in this situation.
We used the technique for a new client of ours, Bradford College. They’ve just gone through some major rejuvenation, and wanted us to do a tour of sorts for their prospective students. Knowing that the video would contain a lot of POV walking around and showing off the facilities, we decided to use hyper lapse to liven it up a little. Using this technique in this sort of busy setting works brilliantly, and certainly adds a bit of spice to what would otherwise could have been a fairly ordinary video. We mixed it up with some smooth slider shots which help to break up the more stylised parts, and added some colour-branded motion graphics. The college are incredibly happy with the end result, and so are we. We generally love what we do anyway, but it’s always a nice bonus when we get to try something new and exciting.
The hyper lapse technique has really come into it’s own in the last couple of years. The technique we’re talking about is photography based, but social media giant Instagram released an app in 2012 that offers a similar service, called Hyperlapse (funnily enough). The difference here is, the app allows you to record up to 45 minutes of video instead of photographs, stabilises it and uses a special algorithm to speed it up. It’s essentially just time-lapse (where the camera stays still and shoots from one angle), but veers into hyper lapse because the position of the camera is also moving. If you wanted to use a more high res product, you could record video on a camera instead of a phone, stabilise it the footage, and take out certain frames – when put together at the end, it will also have the hyper lapse effect, if done right. We think it’s better and much more fun to execute the technique using real photographs, not only for the learning curve, but for quality only a professional stills camera can bring to the table.
If there’s any advice that we would give to clients, it would be this: take the first idea you’ve had, store it in a box, and try to come up with another one. Sometimes you end up inventing concepts that aren’t great, which solidifies the first idea as the best. However, you may also come up with something interesting and different that might just work. The phrase ‘corporate video’ hardly sounds like the most exciting thing in the world, so any ways that we can spice it up a little are definitely worth exploring. In the case of Bradford College, approaching it with a stylised ‘youth friendly’ image (and that archaic phrase is coming from someone recently out of university – ouch) worked well with their remit as a hub for young people. Plus, it’s also really fun for us to get out there and try new things. You never know, it might just work!