Monday, June 7, 2010

[Halifax's] Back Streets are Back, Alright!

So we're back after a long hiatus, and we're back to the alleyway in which Lev and Derby met. OR ARE WE? You'll note that Lev is running. If we had been shooting in bright midday sun, this would probably have gone without a hitch. Given the tone of LW and the nature of Halifax, of course, we were most decidedly not. Some of our prospective solutions were to take screencaps from video (taken on Peter's new digital camera which is not an SLR but about the same size), use the burst shutter on my Canon and hope for the best, and use flash photography (which sort of mucks up the lighting in the rest of the picture). But I am getting ahead of myself; why did Lev need to be moving? Could he not have been standing still in a running pose?

Picture of Dani/Lev posed as though runningPicture of Dani/Lev actually running, caught in place with flash photography

Thing is, even though Dani (being in theatre and at least one dance show) is probably the most kinesthetically aware of the LW crew, this isn't that easy. It's actually pretty hard to strike a pose that authentically resembles running. Think about it: so much of how humans move is instinct; it's automatic. If we want the real body language of panic and flight, then the easiest way to get it is with a really running person. When you put conscious thought into the mix, it loses immediacy. Look at you, for example: it is likely that you're kind of awesome at walking*. But unless you're an actor, try walking* in a stage production. Maybe you've done this at school. Somehow between the lights and the audience and the script even walking* becomes kinda stilted and unnatural. It's crazy. Hence, Lev runs for real.

*replace this with your preferred mode of locomotion if walking does not apply to you.

As an approach, this had some mixed results, as you can see below:

In this image, you can see that Lev is just a faint blur

Now, in part this was my fault; I had my camera set at 100 ISO, which is another one of those things that's really good for sunny days. Absent-minded as I am, I didn't realize this until much, much later. The trade off of a higher ISO value is that the camera becomes more light sensitive, you can take shorter exposures which can mean a more stable image in low light...but the pictures are grainier, which I wanted to avoid because I want a set of "master" images that are as high-quality as possible in case we need print-resolution material. Admittedly, "blurry or grainy" isn't a good choice, which is why it's pretty sweet to have Peter's tripod around - which we did for the first time on this shoot. If everything goes well, you'll see a generally higher quality of night photography in future Little Worlds strips (uh-oh, pressure's on!)

I'll post some more about this shoot as the comic continues. In addition to more posts, I have some secret plans. Stay Tuned.

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