This project is one that I have been envisioning and procrastinating about for a few years now. It just seemed like such a cool idea to create this stop-motion video in which my work would seemingly paint itself in a matter of minutes. The amount of work that would take though seemed overwhelming, and thus the procrastination. As with any daunting task, I decided that If I was going to get it done, I needed to break it done into small manageable pieces.
The first step was all about preparation. I knew that this project would extend over several weeks and that I would need to be able to paint at any time during the day or night, so I needed to be able to control my lighting. In order to accomplish this, I designated one room in my house exclusively to this project and used heavy duty garbage bags and duct tape to cover the window and block out all light. I set up photography lights, an easel with a prepared canvas, and my camera on a tripod.
Once the preparation was complete, I could start the process of capturing the images. After each stroke of the knife, I would take a picture. I have a remote for my camera, which made it a little easier, but it was still a lot of walking back and forth in order to stay out of the shot myself. My first attempt did not turn out so well because I had my camera set to auto adjust, and so it kept changing the color balance and focus as I added paint to the canvas. I ended up starting over with a completely new painting, this time setting the camera to manual mode, which worked much better.
After I captured the images, I could move on to step 3, building the actual movie. Fortunately there is a lot of software out there that will allow you to do this. First I found a batch photo editing app that allowed me to crop all of my photos exactly the same so that I could crop the background out of the movie. I used an application called Smoovie to build the actual stop-motion. I liked it because it allowed my to edit or remove individual photos from the movie and control the timing of each image.
The fourth stop wasn’t actually mine. Fortunately my son Miles is a singer/songwriter and offered to write a song to accompany my movie. The song that he wrote (ADD it up), is truly a wonderful song, and it was great to create this collaborative project with him. If you’d like to know more about Miles, you can check out his website http://milesneuvirth.com