Drawing on a MacBook with Stefan Kunz
A few months ago I got a message on Instagram from @stefankunz. He told me we had a few friends in common and reached out to have a chat over a coffee. I checked out his work and was blown away. I saw gorgeous lettering art – something I've always loved and admired – in hundreds of photos and videos. Not just sticking to one medium, Stefan had come up with creative ways to escape paper and I saw him draw on toilet seats, bottles, footballs and even laptops!
Safe to say, I was interested in chatting to this guy and finding out what he was all about! (turns out he's all about lettering, who would have guessed) One coffee and a chat led to another coffee and a chat which eventually led to setting up a collaboration. Stefan showed me a video on instagram of someone drawing something shot on a motion control rig. I told him I have a little bit of gear at my house that we could use to shoot something better than what we showed me so we set out to do just that!
About collaborating with artists
One of the best and most fun ways to grow your profiles on social media is through collaborating or working with a fellow creative that has a following. Aside of the three main pillars of social media (consistency, quality and engagement) collaborations are key for growth. I get asked a fair amount to collaborate on some form of project, however more often than not there is nothing in it for me. With only so many hours in a week and so many things to do as a freelance creator, collaborations should always strive to be beneficial for both parties. In this collab the win for me is I get to shoot something interesting and tap into part of Stefan's audience. The win for Stefan here is he gets really cool, high quality footage of him at work. I get a vlog/blog out of it, he gets content out of it for his social channels. On top of that, it's great to spend time and work with someone who inspires you and who is on the same ‘frequency'.
What is this collaboration you keep speaking of?
Stefan and I brainstormed a few ideas on how we could work on a project together. As I'm a timelapse photographer and he's a lettering artist it seemed to make a lot of sense that I would timelapse some of his lettering art. Now this has been done before, by Stefan and by others, however most of these shots are static timelapses or even just sped up video. It felt like that was too simple so we looked at the gear available and decided on a triple axis motion control repeatable timelapse shot. Fancy name, all it means is the camera moves during the shoot. The reason you go to this level of effort to capture a drawing is because the end result feels so different from a static timelapse shot. The multiple axises on which the camera moves add a level of production quality that you rarely see. Here's an image of part of the gear that we used. If you want a full list of all the motion control stuff I used click this B&H Photo affiliate link here: https://bhpho.to/2rDZj3Z
What camera gear did I use for this shoot?
- Cameras: A Canon 1DXMkII and a Canon 6DMkII‘s (plus batteries, chargers and memory cards)
- Lenses: A Canon 24 f1.4 II, Canon 16-35 f4, Canon 70-200 f2.8 IS II
- Accessories: Canon TC80-N3 remote, Rode Video Mic Pro Plus, Samsung 2TB T5 SSD
- Tripods: Manfrotto 190Go! Carbon Fibre
What are the challenges and solutions for a shoot like this?
Aside of finding the most interesting looking angle and motion track of the camera, the main challenge is timing. I've done work with a lot of muralists, spray paint/graffiti artists and I can't remember a single shoot where they finished close to the time frame they set out to paint in. On a shoot where you can't just leave the camera running for another hour this is quite risky. The reason you can't extend the time of the shoot is because you have to dial in the shoot and motion settings in the motion control device BEFORE the shoot starts. The camera will run along the track for (in this instance) one hour, when the hour is done, the camera stops shooting (you can extend that with no problem) however your move has finished, so the camera hits the end of the track but when the artist isn't done painting yet it just doesn't look good. So, it pays off to work with someone who knows what they're doing. Luckily Stefan had done the laptop quote another day and was almost spot on with his timing!
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