Dezeen Music Project: director Randy Scott Slavin used long-exposure photography and a Kickstarter-funded tool called Pixelstick to create the floating visuals in this music video for New York band Cobra Starship.
Pixelstick, which raised over half a million dollars on crowdfunding website Kickstarter last year, enables an advanced form of light painting, a photographic technique in which a hand-held light source is moved during a long-exposure photograph so that the paths of light create patterns or words in the air.
As explained in the video below, Pixelstick consists of a column of LEDs, which display an image one vertical line of pixels at a time. By moving it through the air at the correct speed during a long-exposure photograph, the full image is revealed.
"I was one of the original funders of the Kickststarter campaign for the Pixelstick," Slavin told Dezeen. "I’m always on the hunt for new and interesting photographic devices and when I saw Pixelstick's video, I knew it was going to be epic."
"When I got the chance to pitch for the Cobra Starship lyric video I knew that this would be the most new and interesting way to get words on the screen."
"Pixelstick is like a printer," Slavin explained. "You load images via an SD card, the Pixelstick operator walks across the frame as the Pixelstick fires the image away one line at a time and the image is 'printed' across the frame. Having made a few stop-motion and time-lapse pieces, I knew it would be an amazing tool to use for this video."
Slavin used Pixelstick to "print" every lyric in Cobra Starship's song Never Been In Love over a series night time scenes shot around New York.
"A 3:45 minute song equals 5400 frames," said Slavin. "In order for the Pixelstick operator to be able to walk across the frame the exposures last at least four seconds. That's six hours worth of exposures, not including the time it takes to move from frame to frame, reshoots, mishaps or anything else."
"We wound up shooting this video over six nights at various New York locations. We had countless encounters with rats, drunk people telling us that we should take their picture, people asking us if we were playing 'lightsabers'. Any semi-intelligent person would throw in the towel, but we decided to go for it."