Day 2

Today was busy. At points the room seemed rather full to bursting and it would have been quite tricky to have managed to maintain efficacy had there been more people in the room. Especially when you bear in mind that most of the action takes place in the dark, getting too crowded is a good way to head towards unfortunate bumpings of tripods and fallings-over of cameras. maybe even the dreaded scratchings of the lenses or standings on of the lights. Managed to get to cameras working at the same time, buy pointing one at the chalkboard and another at the blacked out window, The latter not being ideal, as there was still light getting through the blinds, so on a long exposure, this showed up as plain as if there were no sheet covering the windowframe. But in a display of exemplary positive thinking, one of the participants managed to turn this to his advantage by incorporating the light from the blinds into the shots. Some subsequent tweaking of apertures and use of brighter LEDs saw this extended as far as taking a shot with all the lights on. That's quite unusual, and considered no mean feat amongst affectionados of the waving of the torches.

Further investigation was also made of the use of stencils, with a giraffe stencil being created and it's use modified for freehand light painting, rather than the more traditional flash unit. This led to speculation on the possibilities of specific purpose illustrations aimed at being completed by photography, with the light in the illustration being supplied by a bit of light in motion applied behind the illustration. Quite groundbreaking in it's own way. Definitely an extension of the current methodologies utilised by practitioners of the noble calling of faffing-about-with-lights-and-stuff.

The Digital Light Wand was reprogrammed, with a demonstration of how it's possible to use the thing without all that tedious mucking about with Arduino code, by the judicious use of Mr P Wright's marvellous code generating software. This led to some mildly amusing fail-shots where text was described in the air, but backwards and upside down. After a few tries, things got down to the business of getting the timing right so that the text was evenly distributed throughout the frame of the shot. Remember, with all this light painting stuff, you've got no cues to let you know what has been drawn, and where, as the lines made vanish as soon as they've been created, with only the camera sensor being able to see the overall image. But of course it keeps that particular info to itself until the shutter is closed, so repetition of each shot is inevitable, getting the positioning and he timing right is something that even in practised hands, can take 10 or so shots.

The afternoon was rounded off with some precision logo creation using the lights against the chalkboard again to generate enough shots for a short animated logo sequence. The amount of effort and concentration this required from the two participants involved was considerable, and I found it particularly rewarding that they'd both got the hang of the technical aspects of making the sequence, and that the whole concept was of their own generation, using the methods they'd been shown, and extending them to good effect. That's just the sort of thing I was hoping would happen during these sessions.

Published: 4th April 2012
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