Cesar Kuriyama – Videos Without Video Cameras

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Below is an incredible music video from director Cesar Kuriyama for the song “Long Gone” by Fat City Reprise.  Why don’t you take a few minutes to watch the video and I’ll join you on the other side.  (Note, it is embedded here, but you can also view it on the Long Gone” Home Page).


Fat City Reprise – Long Gone from Cesar Kuriyama on Vimeo.

In my opinion, the video itself isn’t anyting incredible.  But that’s just it, it’s not really a video.  This video is really made up of 45,000 (that’s forty-five thousand) still photographs that have been painstakingly strung together to get the final effect.  I don’t care if the video is boring or if the song sucks, that concept is just plain cool.  Lets think about all the challenges that Kuriyama and Director of Photography Tommy Agriodimas must have faced (and I’m sure I”m only scratching the surface):

  • Time – If it were possible for Agriodimas to take a picture every singe second of the day continuously, we’re still talking 12 hours worth of a photography session.  I will give you that the camera setup probably allowed for some pretty good successional rapid-fire shots, but there is still setup time required.  I imagine that this video required several weeks worth of shooting.
  • Light – Even on a sunny day, wind swayed trees and the occasional cloud can affect the lighting from one shot (frame) to the next.  Some of this is clearly visible in the video, but achieving the smooth quality exhibited here is an incredible challenge.
  • Patience – Nevermind the work of the photographer, the director and their team(s).  I feel for the actresses, Kasia Cylc and Erin Hubbell.  Nevermind moving slowly, many of these scenes may have required these models to stand in awkward positions for an uncomfortable length of time.  Or for scenes like the tire swing, I can only imagine Ms. Hubbell must have felt nautious after her time on that swing (I get ill after just a few minutes).
  • Planning & Procedures – Very often within the video, we see shifted views, procedural blurs and scenes where I can only imagine the camera had to be adjusted very slightly between frames.  The amount of thought that went into planning this video is astronomical considering the medium.  Of course, even a well planned project will require some re-shooting.  Keep in mind, many of these scenes may have been shot more than once (again, see patience above).

In reality, the procedures exhibited here are really not that different from traditional stop animation (claymation), but that doesn’t make it any less impressive.  Especially the use of real humans in a stop motion fashion is unique and, in some regards, cumbersome.  The product in this case yielded a somewhat jerkey footage that is warming, unique and inspirational.  But from the photographer’s perspective, its just absolutely phenominal.

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About Author

D. Travis North is a professional Landscape Architect, a Freelance Photographer and founder of Shutter Photo. Ever since he picked up his first SLR, his father's Nikon N2000, he's been hooked on photography. Travis likes to photograph urban environments, architectural details and has a new-found interest in close-up photography. His work can be found at D. Travis North Photography. Follow Travis on twitter: @dtnorth.

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