Music Videos – Time Remapping

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by Massimiliano Manzo, Giorgia Salis, Francesco Strada


Time manipulation is a quite popular visual effect due its extreme versatility, in fact time can be stretched, shrieked, fast-forwarded, stopped and more. These time shifts embrace very well with music videos giving the ability to play in opposition or in accordance with the rhythm of the song.

Time Lapse is becoming a widespread technique thanks to the ability to obtain visually compelling results and to condense long time evolving events into a short period of time. This is what the Gondry brothers (Oliver and Michel) have done for the Lacquer music video “Behind” released in 2003, which depicts two guys careening across America in a vintage Chrysler convertible. The time lapse was realised from 16mm photographs shot on a rig set up in the back seat. The images lapse over a seven day journey, shot at one frame per second during the day and one frame per 10 seconds at night. The editing enriches the visual impact, being magically synchronised with the changing scenery.

On the contrary the Academy – Plus production company desired to trap people in space and time in the realisation of the music video for London Grammar’s “Wasting my Young Years”. They achieved their vision in a very particular and out of the scheme way building giant special rigs each featuring 625 individual pinhole cameras. A more explanatory description of what this whole work has been can be viewed in this behind the scenes videos.

As we have been doing in this series of posts we experimented with the time lapse technique, adding a particular feature which was to implement in the TL footage a real time moving character in order to try to achieve a visual contrast. In order to do so we first shot the time-lapse sequences measuring the position of the camera in accordance of where we would have wanted our character. He was later shot over a green screen and imported into the TL, color correction and proper masking where essential to make him merge as much as possible with the fast moving environment. The video features the song “Please, Please, Please Let Me Get What I Want “ by The Smiths.

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