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5 September 2014

how to make a sausage


After a significant break from timelapse I am back with new ideas and renewed enthusiasm!

This film is the first of my 'how to' series.

Created using a mixture of timelapse, hyperlapse and after effects.

6 December 2013

Pai, Northern Thailand



These few days spent in Pai I can unquestionably rate as being amongst the most enjoyable and magical days I have lived. Of all the places I have been to, this is first to have affected my experience of what it is to be alive so profoundly. A video cannot possibly do it justice, for you simply have to spend time there to fully comprehend. Yet it is always my inclination to share that which inspires me, so this is my best attempt at capturing some of that beauty of this wonderful place.

Music tracks (in order)
Rise - Eddie Vedder
The Lazy Song - Bruno Mars
The Staunton Lick - Lemonjelly
A&E - Goldfrapp
Guaranteed - Eddie Vedder
Happiness - Goldfrapp
Hard Sun - Eddie Vedder
Lorde - Royals (US version)
Goshen - Beirut
Caravan Girl - Goldfrapp
Rambin' Man - Lemonjelly
Guaranteed - Eddie Vedder

27 November 2013

Just another day in paradise

"Trust me, it's paradise. This is where the hungry come to feed. For mine is a generation that circles the globe and searches for something we haven't tried before."



24 November 2013

Video Diary - Chiang Mai


After two months timelapsing our way around Europe, we have finally made it to the warmth & friendliness of Thailand, Chiang Mai.

18 October 2013

Our new garden in Chiang Mai



The monsoon season is finishing in couple of weeks here in Chiang Mai, and I am loving the rain and the bright green everywhere. We are starting to work on a very exciting project with Heston, Sam's best friend, involving traditional Thai herbs that have been used for healing for centuries. Also, I am planning to see my friend in circus school in Pai, so there will be loads of exciting videos and beautiful time-lapses coming soon. For now, enjoy this colourful macro photos from our new garden.

European Summer

         

Good bye Europe! Thank you for the beautiful summer.

14 October 2013

Video Diary weeks 3-6

Levitation - A song from my past





In all the excitement of preparing for this life-time adventure I completely forgot that just prior to my departure from the UK I was offered the chance to record one of my many songs by a complete stranger in Swaffham Bulbeck!  Well, he was actually the local postman and I had seen him delivering letters, but we had never actually met.  That was until I plucked up the courage to do something I had never done before and sing at an open mic night in the only pub in this sleepy little village.  Thank you for the encouragement Dominika :)  So, the postman (whose guitar I had borrowed) heard my song and immediately insisted that I come and record it in his local studio.  How could I refuse such a wonderful flow of energy?

The song itself is an old one, written around 2006 for a porn star girlfriend I loved very much.  Our relationship however provided much in the way of drama and left me rather broken. Who would have known it?

The reference to levitation takes me back to my early days of magic:

'Levitation is easier to crack than love it seems'

From an early age I was able to master the complexities of magic tricks, yet the subject of love remained a complete mystery to me, despite having studied it at length!  The immediacy and intensity of my love for the women in my life at that time was rarely reciprocated.

Since then I have come to understand that my relationships with women will rarely fit into a box that can be labelled as traditional.  But that's okay!

And the most liberating kind of love is the kind which expects nothing in return.

10 October 2013

Barcelona


I have endured over the years much criticism for indulging a side of my character I am unwilling to relinquish.  What some might call faith in the human spirit, others would frowningly dismiss as naivety.  Many people owe me money as a consequence of my giving nature but I am able to let this pass in the knowledge that money is not the only means of returning favour, and the soul lives forever, so there is plenty of time for the karmic balance to be restored.

If one is resigned to spend their days in what I now refer to as a human dwelling box, having a comfortable one is essential.  Back in the day it was important in my mind to have a spare room within the dwelling box, primarily used for junk storage, growing marijuana and guests.

I recount this side of my character because in 1997 I befriended a Spanish man at University and let him stay in my spare room for the good part of half a year.  It was at the time a contentious issue, yet one I would not be budged on.  There was much less junk in my life back then and I had not yet been introduced to the indoor growing club, so the room was unused and it was logical to let Francisco stay there.

He returned to his home country after acquiring his film degree and the two of us have barely spoken since.  Two weeks ago I was sitting in a field with some new friends discussing the wonders of this part of Spain.  I don't remember the context exactly, but Barcelona came up and Francisco popped into my head.  All I had to do was call him and ask if he knew where we could stay.  Not only does he have access to an empty dwelling box in Barcelona for us to relax in at will indefinitely, but it is not more than a few steps from the alluring Park Guell, one of the many masterpieces of Gaudi, an architect whose organic designs are synonymous with this city.  The ongoing building work of his impossibly complex Cathedral, the Sagrada Familia stands as a lasting testament to his genius.

Our arrival here it turns out is rather timely too, for the park is only a few weeks away from becoming a source of income for the struggling Spanish economy.  Gaudi had intended for this place to be free to all, yet in these modern times of systematic failure, the morals of our predecessors fall quickly by the wayside.  It is hard to ignore the spray-painted signs in all the roads surrounding the park, demanding justice.  Yet they are washed away as quickly as they arrive and the voice of the people remains unheard.

Rather conveniently, Franc works now as a tour guide for small international groups and has a fantastic knowledge of the place.  Needless to say, we have put this to good use and found some beautiful spots in which to shoot time-lapse.  And I should add, Franc is now hooked on our unusual hobby and has been coming with us to shoot his own time-lapses.  It is a wonderful road to take and I am happy to teach anyone willing to stand by my side and listen.  On that note, Dominika and I are formulating plans for a moving time-lapse school; something I think that will bring us much joy.  How it will happen I do not know, but the first step to manifesting any new reality is always desire.  And desire has been established.

Having a dwelling box to call my own again has certainly had its advantages.  Aside from the now consistent supply of re-charged batteries, a desk from which to work and the the other obvious joys of dwelling box life, my love of green juices, fruit smoothies and fancy salads has been able to flourish once more.  The kitchen thankfully came with a blender.  Yet the strange and slightly scary white-faced porcelain clown dolls that watch me from the shelves won't let me forget the irrefutable paradox of dwelling box life.  This static comfort breeds an invisible kind of laziness and a powerful addictive sense of nostalgia represented by items from one's past, items that only multiply in number, in the end giving rise to the need always for the same thing: a larger dwelling box.  Or as it seems is the way in Spain: a second dwelling box in the country.

As to Barcelona itself, I am less comfortable here than in the petite confines of Pamplona, but the undeniable originality of the place makes it very hard to stay indoors watching blue render lines on a computer screen.  Any city with it's own sandy beach and a sunrise that comes from across the sea is likely to be special, but to have a public park on top of a hill overlooking it all is the real icing on the cake.  And unlike so many mature cities, its roads are designed around a simple straight line system, making it much easier for people like myself to find their way around.  In addition to this, the Metro system seems efficient, uncrowded and inexpensive.  London Underground doesn't even come close in comparison.

The gothic quarter is more complex in its design; a maze of antique graffiti-laden alleyways, leading you always to another square filled with a bubbling culture cauldron of drinkers and performers, and the type of buildings that demand more than a passing glance.  The modernity of the new business quarter speaks of a country once wealthy beyond imagination, and it speaks too of tireless architects living in the shadow of a great man, each one clambering to outshine him.

The idea of creating a time-lapse film that accurately represents Barcelona is uncomfortably overwhelming.  And it is a task I am not ready to take on.  My challenge, both in life and in my films, is to keep on evolving.  With every desire fulfilled comes a new feeling of contrast and a new perspective of the world from which the next desire is born.   I made a conscientious decision to be free from the constraints of having my own dwelling box, for to create effortless time-lapse fuelled by love, I realised that I needed to keep moving.  I am excited beyond measure upon discovering a new place and my instinct is always to capture it immediately, for once I have seen a place twice, the magic seems, well… less magical.  Yet nothing has changed at all except that I have become more excited by somewhere else.  My experience of that which I have already seen stagnates very quickly and to time-lapse a place is to see it in a way that is all-encompassing.  90% of my time when shooting is spent in silent appreciation of the visual spectacle before me.  And when the time-lapse is finally processed I feel like I am glimpsing at the essence of the place.  Something that few of us care to look for.  Though if I had been born here, I would no doubt have walked past every one of my time-lapse sites with barely the blink of an eye.

Chapter 1 gave birth to many potential paths of evolution for this time-lapse odyssey, but most notably it forced me to evaluate the limiting features of the meter-long tracking system.  Like me, the camera was asking for freedom from its constraints.  And it has been a pleasure to oblige.  Hyper-lapse is the phrase which has been chosen to coin the new system of capturing greater distances in time-lapse.  It requires a steady hand and an unfaltering focus upon the little monitor at the back of your camera.  It requires much patience to shoot and even more to painstakingly process and stabilise the HDR images.  Our first tests were shaky, but there has been little in the way of rest over the last two weeks and the system has evolved quickly.

In answer to those of you who are asking what has happened to our Camino, I proclaim that we are still on it.  We met many pilgrims who have been walking the route for over thirty years, returning to it for only a few weeks each year.  Always heading towards the same place.  And a wonderful place I am sure it is.  But why Santiago?  I believe it can be any place you choose and you can change your mind as often as you like. The road to Santiago served as a good starting place for me.  A means of pulling me away from England with a clear focus of intent.  Now that I am doing what I love, the choice of roads before me has become infinite.  And there is no wrong direction. 

Two weeks ago we posted Chapter 1 on the internet and are now enjoying the little ripples from this wave of joy.  Aside from the many lovely compliments there has been good constructive criticism and more than this we have been offered representation from a small but fair UK based time-lapse company who make me feel a whole lot better about having turned down the less than desirable contract offer from Getty Images.  So the means to be paid for doing what I love is effortlessly manifested.  And it happened by doing only that which makes me feel good. The Law of Attraction in motion.

Whilst I am certain that saying goodbye to the dwelling box lifestyle was the right choice for me, I remain consistently grateful that the majority of people take the more static approach to life.

Thank you all for opening your doors to me.




5 October 2013

Still here...



Now in our third week in Barcelona and we are preparing for departure. It has been blissful getting to know this great city for over a month... but I must remind myself now that nothing stays the same.  NOTHING.  So, onward we go...An interesting potential opportunity awaits us in the countryside.  And in my experience opportunity always leads to adventure...  
Video updates coming soon :)



24 September 2013

Barcelona




We are in Barcelona for a week to get some big city time-lapse. Yes, our Camino is taking a far from traditional route. A wonderful friend from uni has given us a place of our own, right next to Gaudi's amazing park. There is so much to shoot here it feels a little overwhelming. And the police don't seem to like tripods (just as they don't in London) so stealth mode is required for some shots. Never give up! Never surrender! :)

Video Diary - Week 2


20 September 2013

Camino de Santiago - Chapter 1



We have spent the last 2 weeks enjoying the splendid views and tasty pleasures of the first 50 km of the Camino de Santiago - the Napoleon route. We walked with kit and tent attached to our backs from St Jean Pied de Port in France, over the Pyrenees to Pamplona in Spain, stopping here and there along the way, whenever we saw a potential time-lapse.  We camped on the edge of a cliff in crazy winds, deep in a forest valley next to a magical flow of sparkling water, out in the open surrounded by horses with bells, and every night under the twinkling milky-way.  We are still ironing out a few technical issues but nevertheless proud to present the first instalment of our time-lapse series.

The technical bit: 
Shot with Canon 5D and 600D, using the 16-35 mm, 24 mm L-series and telephoto lens 100-500 mm.
The motion control was achieved with a Digislider add-on to a 1m track, with a 9v battery powered slow motor and 3 axis motion control head - the Orion Teletrack, powered by x2 9v batteries.
There are not many electric plugs in nature, so we made good use of a 10W solar panel from Voltaic. It charges camera and 9v batteries, and powers the laptop long enough to off-load pictures (Raw files can eat up the card pretty quickly, 32 gb card is full after shooting 2 time-lapses) Unfortunately the solar panel does not give enough energy to the laptop to process all HDR shots, but we are looking to solve this issue in the future somehow. Please feel free to comment if you have nay suggestions on this front:)
For HDR batch processing we used Photomatix Pro.  We also used Panolapse http://www.panolapse360.com . We used both of its really great features - the extra panning movement that warps the image to any set lens size (in those times when 9v batteries decided to have a day off) and also the RAWblend option - to stabilise the flicker in the morning/evening shots when light is changing rapidly. Very happy about the smooth results of this program, as sometimes we had some issues with the automatic Bulb ramping option on Magic Lantern, which is otherwise an amazing software hack for your canon camera, that gives you good consistent HDR bracketing and intervalometer functions. In our final shot, the one with the band stand lighting up, we manually adjusted the shutter speed, and it seems to have worked pretty well.  
Patience is the name of the game in time-lapse.
For the final edit we used Final Cut Pro. 
Music: Tarja - New Land 

Looking forward to hearing your thoughts on the video, specifically your thoughts on how we might be able to improve what we do.

Enjoy :)