Time Splicing Exercise

After editing my abstract exercise and trying out a ‘time splicing’ effect (explained in a previous blog post) I decided I would shoot some material better suited to the effect. Most of the shots I had taken for the abstract exercise were static; so this time I wanted to get shots with lots of movement in them (whether it be the camera moving or things inside the frame moving). I thought that any type of movement would enhance the ‘time splicing’ effect, however, I later found out that this wasn’t necessarily the case.

I had picked out a walkway lit beautifully with early afternoon light, the sun was creating bold shadow lines on the concrete ground and black walls. There were heaps of people passing through the area, making the location a gold-mine for capturing movement. My crew and I decided we would shoot a static shot and a hand-held shot in the walkway so that we could experiment with different types of movement during the editing process. The shots we got were visually dynamic because of the high contrast of the shadows and bright sunshine, and the intensity of the movement within the frame against the sharp lines.

After applying the time splice effect (by cropping each shot into 10 different columns, layering them and then moving each one 3 frames apart) I came across some interesting discoveries. I realised that it was best to have movement within the frame, rather than camera movement, because the effects created by time splicing are much more prevalent and contorted when there is fast action passing the camera. When the camera moves it just creates a weird, almost checkerboard effect, where you can tell there are ten different columns within the frame, that are separated by time, but it doesn’t really add anything new or interesting to the shots. I came to the conclusion that I would rather watch the shot below without the time splice effect, than with it.

I also found that the best effects were achieved by shooting fast movement and movement that takes up the whole frame (thus the camera needs to be close to the action). For the video below we had the camera on a tripod which was shooting from a high angle, framing the walkway on a diagonal. As a result, the people walking by come into frame on the left, further away from the camera, and then walk increasingly closer to the camera before leaving frame right. The ‘kaleidoscopic’ effects which I was going for (when the movement is repeated several times in consecutive columns at almost the same time, creating a fast-paced rhythm to the movement) were only really achieved on the right side of frame, when the subjects were closest to the camera.

Thus, if I were to do this exercise again I would not only shoot from a static position, but I would also have the subjects move past the camera much faster and either have them walk closer to the camera, or increase the focal length of the camera’s lens.

For the static shot I tried to use Adobe Speedgrade to colour grade the edit, as I said I was going to try this out in my last blog post. However, I really struggled with using the program and found that I could get the same effects much more efficiently using Adobe Premiere Pro. To enhance the ‘kaleidoscopic’ effect of this shot, I played around with a few other effects in Premiere. For instance, I used ‘Turbulant Displace’ to get the psychedelic wave effect in the video below.

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