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Behind The Playground

On 20, Apr 2012 | One Comment | In Projects | By Daniel Kao

My Recent short film, “The Playground”, was created using a combination of camera hacks and heavy post processing.

Taking the Pictures:

With this video, I tried my best to document a wide variety of locations and subjects in my life, including family vacations and school events. The following is a complete list of all the shooting locations in order of appearance.

  1. My Room
  2. Jasper, Alberta
  3. Duckwater, Nevada
  4. Jasper, Alberta
  5. Vasona Park
  6. Angel Island
  7. Waterton Lake, Alberta
  8. My Home
  9. Lynbrook High School Construction
  10. My Home
  11. Saratoga Ave (CCIC-SJ)
  12. Miller Ave
  13. Valco Mall
  14. Rainbow Dr (Calabazes Park)
  15. Saratoga Sunnyvale Rd
  16. Cupertino Library
  17. Mt Rose Ski Resort
  18. Lynbrook High School Wednesday Morning
  19. Rainbow Park
  20. Lynbrook High School Powderpuff
  21. Lynbrook High School Graduation
  22. Miller Middle School Basketball Courts
  23. Rainbow Park
  24. Lake Louise, Alberta
  25. My Home
  26. Waterton Lakes, Alberta
  27. Blue Hills
  28. Overpass between Kevin Moran and Azule Park
  29. Saratoga Ave (CCIC-SJ)
  30. My home

The entire video was made up of small, individual photographs resulting in a folders of pictures totaling over 25GB. Natively, my Canon Powershot S5 IS is unable to take pictures quickly and indefinitely, so I got a little help from a custom firmware known as  CHDK.

CHDK is a simple firmware you can install on top of your current Canon firmware that allows you to go beyond the built in features. Specifically, for “The Playground”, I used a script called fast intervalometer that took a picture approximately every half second.

Besides CHDK, this video would not be possible without the help of my full size tripod and gorillapod.

Processing the Pictures:

Every single frame that you see in this video was processed in Photoshop. That’s right. All 7,600 frames.

To generate the tilt-shift effect, I batched processed all the frames in Photoshop using a gradient on a quick mask layer and then using the lens blur effect. Each frame that was processed was then moved into a separate folder.

Check this out if you want more specific instructions.

Creating a Video

After I had created a folder with all of the frames processed, each scene was imported as a sequence into After Effects and rendered into a 30 frame per second video clip. Each of the scenes were then imported into Adobe Premiere, where I did my final touch-ups, ordering, and time manipulation.

Feel free to contact me if you have any more questions!

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