The Many Cams of Lalila

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Light painting is of course, the process of shining a torch over a dark object such as a night tree, and superimposing filmed images so the tree’s shape is gradually illuminated. While you might find Kath & Etienne of Lalila light painting in a Tasmanian forest, the audiovisual duo are equally at home choreographing crazed multi-camera shoots for later cut-up, collage and live manipulation. Do say hi: www.lalila.net

What inspired the multicam project, and how many motion sickness pills did u need?
e: We’ve often thought it’d be a hell of a lot of fun playing around with a Matrix type freeze frame shot thingy in a live context. We can’t afford 100 cameras, but we could probably get lots of people together with their own cameras to shoot the thing for us. Electrofringe was perfect for this…. so many people walking around with their toys. Kath had to take several motion sickness pills. But really only because one volunteer had the bright idea of shooting the car whilst speeding around on his skateboard. Some lovely moving panning shots, but it was the “in-between the lovely panning shots” shots that brought up Kath’s breakfast.

How’d the performance function, once you’d captured and edited the various shots?
k: The performance is yet to eventuate, the reality is that this was more of a two week project rather than a two day project. The time to capture 15 angles of the event left me somewhat … motion sick. Syncing up the video tracks by their sound files takes patience, and it began to reveal itself that if it wasn’t right on cue the whole idea would fall down. I messed around with a little short-cut spin around the block maximising everyone’s best angles and there is definitely ample footage to make a worthwhile performance, its just pre-production time that was lacking.

e: When we put the thing together, it will basically be an exercise in live editing. We use a midi keyboard, and map each key to a different view. We kick off the video, then hit any key to change the view. With 16 views, there’s lots of funky editing you can play around with. Our preliminary playing around tends to suggest that the final footage feels more like a movie than a Matrix style trick. It is a very cinematic aesthetic, combined with a strong live component.

What worked better / worse than expected?
e: The block the car drove around was too big. For each minute of footage, you have 10 seconds of useable stuff and the rest is shots of people’s feet and / or sky, so we didn’t end up with 15 simultaneous views of the same thing. At any one time there was only a maximum of maybe 5 views….. So if you go to view No 12, there’s a high chance it’ll be somebody shooting their feet.
k: Unfortunately sometimes what people decided to film whilst waiting for the action to spin past, meant the car was no longer the subject.
e: People were into it though – there was lots of enthusiasm from volunteer video makers. That was really cool. Getting together with a bunch of people and making a movie where EVERYONE was the cinematographer.
k: It was excellent to get everyone’s different camera skills coming out in their footage, there are some really contrasting shots that never would have happened with one or two people filming.

Are u planning any Sydney performances of this or future multicam shoots?
k: A Sydney performance should happen before the end of the year definitely. A future multicam project would be a little more controlled, using the same number of cameras but have a larger number filming the subject at the same time, rather than completely interspersed views which limits potential for chopping between angles in the performance.
e: It’d be nice to get 15 people with cameras and shoot a couple of drunks doing some fisticuffs in the street or something. Maybe we’ll start the Lalila Multicam Club…….. get a bunch of people in a van, and drive around looking for stuff to shoot.

Do u plan a port to pd of your objects ? (Q from iko@prac.net )
e: nah. Christian (Klippel) was talking about it, but there is way too much work yet to do on the jMAX end … and I am not really interested in developing a piece of software… I just write the code so that the creative stuff is not limited by a software package.
k: /too much else to do/

And the rumours of a Lalila linux-evangelism road movie?
e: With linux, you can get 144 frames per second! need I say more? Seriously though, linux is neither for the faint hearted nor the weak-necked. It’s a rough ride, but if you are serious about using a computer as a creative tool, and you are serious about mastering your tools, then there is no other option…. there is simply no limit to tweaking and manipulating the system.
k: h/mmmm….that would be next year, we’re still deciding on the vehicle./

jp: This week’s column dedicated to the Ladiez of the Jump Rope 4 Art Skipping League & the Sage Francis Broccoli experience.

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