terminology that the ballet dancers could understand.
As the dancers went through their movements, Hughes
popped multiple 48-frame exposures. It was the first time
The Big Freeze had worked with flash rather than HMI, tungsten or natural lighting, Hughes says.
Each of the 48 frames was then individually retouched
to remove the visible cameras and rigging, color graded
in Lightroom, and assembled into motion sequences in
Quick Time. After the sequences were stabilized using After
Effects, they were brought into Final Cut Pro for editing.
Part of the purpose of the project, and one of the reasons it
qualified for the Chalmers Arts Fellowship, was that it would
push the boundaries and intended uses of different software and camera equipment. (According to the Ontario Arts
Council, the fellowship provides support for artists who want
“to examine and experiment with style, technique, process,
method or content; conduct research that targets an issue or
concern in their artistic practice; or research, investigate and/
or gather historic information.”)
Because Hughes and his team were using programs in new
ways, they couldn’t easily go online and find troubleshooting
tips, which made post production more time consuming than
it might have been otherwise. One of the biggest issues they
faced, Hughes says, was that in some of the programs “there
is a gamma contrast shift that can occur, which can drive
you crazy if you spend quite a bit of time grading something
and then [a program shifts it].” Eventually they resolved this
“technical nuisance,” Hughes says.
Another challenge was that Hughes hired an audio company, Zelig Sound, to create the soundscape from scratch, rather
than working with an existing
audio track as he had in previous motion projects. “They’re so
used to getting a finished piece
and scoring it, and I’m so used
to having music and editing it to
that,” Hughes explains. He would
send them shorter clips and they
would respond with ideas for the audio, and through that
back-and-forth the project came together.
During the late stages of editing, Hughes decided to throw
solid black frames into the sequences, creating a flickering effect that matched the soundscape and alluded to early filmmaking and the way hand-cranked projectors used to “drop
frames” when the film was fed too slowly by the projectionist.
The effect, which draws on the history of filmmaking, is appropriate given that Hughes’s project explores the medium’s
current “cross-pollination” with still photography. Today, “
digital capture, digital software and digital presentation methods in both media make the integration of the two fields
seamless,” Hughes says. “Coming from a film background, I’ve
always had a desire to push the still image further.”
Top: A grid shows the images
Hughes produced with one
simultaneous capture by 48
DSLR cameras. Below: A view
of the set and the circular rig
built for the cameras.
On PDNOnline: To see the finished
videos, check out the PDN Pulse post:
All Photos this PAge © RyAn enn hughes