Art – it’s not so easy, actually

Having said I would tag a nice stop-frame movie art project onto the already fairly challenging trek to Everest base camp, I thought for once I would follow through on one of my threats.

So tonight, when I’d finally relocated my camera after stomping around ineffectually looking under the same things numerous times trying to find it, I went out and took some shots as a test. The basic principal is take still camera shots at regular intervals, then composite them back together as individual frames of a film. Sounds easy, but I’ve discovered a number of challenges. I went for a ten minutes walk, and thought as a starting point I’d take a photo every ten paces. Seemed like a round number. These are the results, looped round twice;

Not exactly up to the ‘Guy walks across America‘ standard I was looking for. Looking back at this Gold Standard, I see I’ve made a number of technical errors;

  1. Not looking through the lens whilst taking the photo – seems obvious, I know, but I thought I’d try it ‘from the hip’, or at least hanging around my neck with a vague attempt to keep it level – my logic being would I really be arsed to do it properly for that long whilst hauling myself up a mountain
  2. Not keeping the horizon at the same level – see point 1, referring to my Gold Standard this makes it a lot smoother, even when there are huge jumps in scenery
  3. Not keeping it in focus – I’d set it to manual and infinity, but had obviously bumped the lens – the first few seconds are blurry
  4. Lens choice – I think it would look better wider, this is a 35mm lens on Nikon D mount, equivalent to a standard size lens on an old film camera. Maybe need to go down to 20-24mm.
  5. Take more photos, especially when turning – the composite I’ve made has roughly 13 frames a second, which is probably as low as you want to go, but I worry that even then with the ten pace rule you move too quickly through the landscape. This does cause a mathematical issue –

Even If I was to accept this frame rate for the trek, and also take a photo every ten paces, it would mean a lot of photos, and a long film:

  • 10 paces ~ 5 seconds walking
  • Trek length in total ~ 70 hours
  • Equals 4,200 minutes
  • Equals 50,400 photos
  • Equals 246gb of data at HD level – not huge, but I don’t intend taking a laptop with me to dump stuff onto. That’s a lot of SD memory cards
  • Equals a 64 minute film. People would be bored after a couple of minutes.

So the answer is probably to be a little more creative. I think I may need to take that many photos, so I may need to take a laptop to dump them onto, but will need to be more careful about when I take a lot or few, and how I edit them together. More experiments to be done.

Oh yes, and on a training update, I bought some new boots yesterday. And went up and down the stairs in them – twice!

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4 thoughts on “Art – it’s not so easy, actually

  1. Nice idea, brain dump for you to look into… there are SD cards called eyefi (I think) that have wifi built-in so they can automatically dump your photos straight from the camera without the need for a laptop. Now whether you come across any wifi during your journey is an entirely different question.

    I was also going to suggest simply lining up the horizon in post-processing but then I saw the 50k number and thought better of it…

    G

    • Thanks for all the ideas, but it is all a bit tricky. Unfortunately the high himalaya is a challenge for people trying to recharge batteries, let alone WiFi. And before you offer the suggestion, normal hard drives fail over 4000m above sea level. We’re going to 5600m. Mixture of many SD cards, spare batteries and a laptop with SSD hard drive is in order. Plus someone to sponsor all this equipment

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