fast & changing world (part I)
Keith Loutit employed and combined ’tilt-shifting’ and time-lapse photography in order to create the video below. The method of tilting the lens of the camera helped him to control the orientation of the plane of focus, and select an area of focus that deviates from the usual case, which is parallel to the camera. A large aperture was also used to achieve a very shallow depth of field. The images were manipulated so that they look like photographs of a miniature scale model and, given the high vantage point too, the scene seems much smaller than it actually is.
Video & Photography: Keith Loutit
Notice that, for those without the appropriate optical equipment, this effect of miniature faking can be approximated or enhanced through an image editor. For example, the process involves shooting from a high angle, distorting the focus and simulating a shallow depth of field, etc.
The video also used a time-lapse technique of cinematography, whereby “each film frame is captured at a rate much slower than it will be played back. When replayed at normal speed, time appears to be moving faster and thus lapsing” (Wikipedia). Thus, slow and subtle processes through time are suddenly emphasised and pronounced.
I think the result by Keith Loulit is brilliant. And it is claimed that Keith is the first to actually combine the two techniques, which is actually both, a time-consuming and equipment-wearing process. What has equally captured my attention, though, apart from the surprisingly miniaturesque and speedy world of his videos, which allow all sorts of new emotions and details to surface, is the way his work was received.
According to The Sydney Morning Herald (23/10/2008) the video attracted “almost instant recognition” and the attention to his website was rocketed along with emails from galleries, festival organisers and journalists. “Two weeks after launching my gallery I was being interviewed by the ABC in the US” said the photographer.
There is an interesting combination of contingent factors interacting here: the relative quality of the work; its rather innovative aspect; the choice of adding an inspiring soundtrack; posting the video in a website which supports high definition content; the conscious opportunity given to other bloggers to spread the video around the world by embedding it in their sites, and their ability and actual decision to do so; the attractiveness of toy-like material for the growing social fascination with toy-like perspectives in the news and life; the increasingly attentive and competitive attitude of the media-hungry news corporations and art agents towards multiple cultural news and all sorts of new artistic endeavours; the fact that his rather quick videos appeal to the short attention span of internet users… These are some of the striking elements of the big picture here. We could add more, but this analysis already unfolds a bizarre new map of social and economic factors, influencing the demand and consumption of cultural products in a fluid and contingent way.
Interestingly, echoing the subject-matter of his videos, the world has responded to Keith in the same way, quickly capturing and pronouncing – as another example of lapse photography – the subtle effects of his initial work.
It is of course an open question, for us to see, if today’s attention would be translated into something more permanent or more valuable for him. It seems, however, that in this liquid modern world, nothing can remain the same for long time… “All that is solid melts into air” as a great mind said long time ago… In other words, everything requires adaptation to survive… Well, the world moves fast and changes. Today, time appears to be moving even faster.
Relevant posts: details of Japan: kawaii