Aussie director's stunning light painting video clip

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Lexy spent her formative years taking a lot of photos and dreaming in technicolour. Nothing much has changed now she's covering all things photography related for CNET.

Australian director Darcy Prendergast and his creative team at Oh Yeah Wow have created an amazing music video featuring a perennial CNET favourite technique: light painting.


(Screenshot by CBSi)

The clip, for Melbourne band All India Radio, takes place under the cover of darkness with colourful animated sequences set against an urban backdrop. Prendergast estimates that around 3500 still frames make up the video, and used a Canon 5D Mark II as well as two Canon 7D cameras to take the still images. The video for the band's track Rippled follows on from a similar style used in Lucky, also a song by All India Radio, which won the Oh Yeah Wow team an award for Best Animated Music Video at the St Kilda Film Festival in 2010.

"With Rippled, I knew what themes I wanted to play with, and whilst it's an abstract narrative, there is still very much a narrative involved," Prendergast said. "Lucky was spontaneous — we would leave the studio as soon as night fell and spend an hour or two on set every night just trying to think of what to shoot. There wasn't much of a direction, it was just fun. Watch the two back to back and you'll see just how far we've come."

As for how the Oh Yeah Wow team exposed each frame, Prendergast said that because they were shooting in the same abandoned factory, the light settings were the same each time. "We knew where the strong street lights were, so we steered clear of their tungsten warmth! We'd usually just fiddle with the Kelvin settings, if there was any troublesome light, until we found the right mood. Same with our aperture and exposure lengths — we'd adjust them both accordingly to ensure the shot wasn't too light or dark."

The team used standard LED torches covered in cellophane to achieve the effect, leaving the shutter open for 10, 15 or 20 seconds to trace the light path. A brighter torch led to a thicker and more opaque light path. As for storyboarding, Prendergast said that it wasn't a big part of his process. "I like visceral formations and enjoy following random pathways that may lead to more exciting outcomes." Planning was, however, a big step. "Whilst I can storyboard just fine if I was required — planning and organisation aren't my strongest attributes. Over the course of the shoot, however, it's a skill I think I began to master. Charging batteries, packing lenses, prepping cellophane ... man I was on fire!"

Watch the results of the six-months-in-the-making video for yourself:

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