LED Painting: Hat Trick

Hey all - here's the latest: [youtube]SPRHYtw_cNA[/youtube]

I think I first came into contact with the idea of light painting from this Digg article - although apparently Picasso was doing it in the 20s. The idea is that you set your camera for a long exposure and draw an image w/ an LED (or light source significantly brighter than the environment). The result is that the image burns into the film over the duration of the exposure.

Coming from a performance and movement background, I've always been captivated by imagining what the drawing process must have been like. How many long-exposure shots do these people have to go through? How much practice does it take? Do these people come from a background in liquid, graffiti, photography, any combination of these?

I ask this because precise miming is tough. Try this: in the empty space in front of you, draw a rectangle. Then, put your hand down, bring it back up, and draw the exact same rectangle. It might 'feel' right to you, but try it w/ a camera and you'll likely be off. Now write the word "imagine" in cursive and try to dot your I's.

It's hard! At least for me it is. To assist me, I picked words that has no I's or T's. I also used a hat as an anchor - this gave me a sense of absolute position instead of relative position. I was able to do this whole thing in my first shot.

The video was made using the echo effect in After Effects, basically burning the brightness of the previous frames into the current one. After this, I cranked the brightness and contrast, added a color pass, and plopped it on top of the vanilla regular footage of me moving around.

I'm real happy w/ the result and expect to do more of it soon. Also, I still got the source files on my philty new computer - an upgrade from my 40 gig laptop, where I had to scrap the source for every project I worked on to free up extra space. So, lemme know if you want a peek.