shutterbug: A Short Experimental Film

A few years ago in film school, I had an assignment to make a movie using an old 16mm wind-up Bolex camera. I didn’t feel like making a normal narrative; instead, I lugged that clunky camera and a tripod around San Francisco and shot some timelapse footage. Mind you, I didn’t have any sort of automatic timer to control the old camera, so I literally stood in place while manually progressing the film, frame by frame. Most shots are about 15-20 minutes compressed into 15-20 seconds.

With one roll of film left, I needed to create a unifying theme for all the timelapse footage, so I asked a girl to walk around pretending to take pictures. She’s using a magic camera, I guess; I wasn’t too concerned with the story. She was an actress that I had directed before in a more traditional film project.

All of the film was pretty glitchy so of course I used glitchy music. Unfortunately the footage is literally just a mini-dv camera recording a projection of the film because professional telecine scans can be quite expensive. A lot of work for a small pay-off — my silent peers in the class were indifferent — but I like it.

Comic-Con 2011

I didn’t have tickets.

“AND I WILL STRIKE DOWN UPON THEE WITH GREAT VENGEANCE AND FURIOUS ANGER THOSE WHO WOULD ATTEMPT TO POISON AND DESTROY MY BROTHERS!”

Side effects of the Subway diet come to light.

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FORGET all that is dear to your heart, all that is holy and sacred, for THEY have risen above any god by shedding unto the masses FREE T-SHIRTS!

DSC_3185aDSC_3188aTHE CHOSEN ONE experiences the tragic ecstasy of pure cotton rapture.

And so he clutches his t-shirt as the throngs still reach for everything that can’t be had, the silk-screened tees passing like a night train in the distance that enters your dream with its horn, the brass ring at the carnival you will never be able to grasp, the shooting star in the corner of your eye that may or may not be there. “My precious”, he says, “Precious, we wept to be so alone. My Precious Free Tee Shirt.” Hopefully it fits.

Autodesk Photofly

Autodesk’s Project Photofly, or Photo Scene Editor, allows anyone with a digital camera to create a 3D model of an object simply by taking a series of photographs from multiple angles. This sort of interpolation has been around for a while; in fact, when you see people wearing those spandex suits covered in ping pong balls, their 3D motion is recorded by having multiple cameras track the data points. That’s essentially the same way we have depth perception, by using two mushy eyeballs.

This isn’t about motion, though. The significance of this Autodesk project is that it allows anyone with a camera to capture 3D models, and it’s free until the end of 2012.

Myself, I’m trying to make a good quality 3D coconut:


If I had a clean enough mesh, I could order 3D printed coconut from Shapeways. They could even make a sterling silver coconut, or perhaps steel, with bronze finish.

UPDATE: Behold, an interactive 3D coconut viewer courtesy of Sculpteo.

And here’s a quick attempt to capture Buzz Lightyear. Of course the layers of irony of creating a 3D model by photographing a toy based on a 3D model are delicious.

Or perhaps I should work on this:

SF Pride Parade

First some music:

It was tough to be an amateur photographer at the LBGTQWERTYLOLXOXO gay pride parade in San Francisco. Big crowds, hot sun. But I had a good time. Almost all of the pictures I took were taken while I held my camera above my head. Sometimes the autofocus gods were generous and sometimes they weren’t.

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I like when I discover someone is looking at the camera and me:

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This is Sara with the red plume. I was happy she found the picture I had taken online and sent me a message.

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The Dyke March was on Saturday in the mission, my neighborhood, prior to the Sunday parade.

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See the whole 87 picture set. Altogether I took a little under a thousand photos! Pardon the violent metaphor, but shooting digital is like shooting with a machine gun, whereas shooting film is like a sniper rifle.

I know, that’s kind of a horrible metaphoric thing to say, but I couldn’t think of another way to put it.

Haight Street Fair

Que the music:

I had fun taking pictures at the Haight Street Fair and heavily processing them in Photoshop. I figure anyone can learn to be technically proficient, so it’s fun to try something else.

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I don’t like having people pose for pictures because they end up being phony (in addition to the awkwardness of a stranger asking to take your picture), but I had to ask her for a close up. You can see the rest on Flickr.

PS. If you’re curious, here’s a comparison before/after playing with the colors, and some are more drastic than this: