All right Mr. De Mille, I'm ready for my close-up

Last Saturday, Melissa, who was featured in a previous blog, kindly returned to help me create a stop-action video. The short, which I will post here on a future blog post, as well as on YouTube, will allow the viewer to observe a photo shoot of Melissa at my studio. Interspersed with the action will be the actual photos that I took as the "video" camera captured the action. This is not a video in the sense that you might think, but is shot with a still camera. That camera is on a tripod with a programmable shutter release causing it to fire every three seconds. It is also equipped with a PocketWizard transceiver that fires the strobes that I was also firing with the camera with which I was shooting. As you might imagine, this caused a few random failures due to shutters going off without adequate recycle time for the strobes, but that didn't happen as much as I had anticipated, and it was something that I was willing to live with.

Obviously, this technique is not my invention. It has been used quite a bit recently, most notably in the video called "Her Morning Elegance", by Oren Lavie (, and is really just a technical variation on a normal video camera. But high-resolution still images captured with a photographer's existing equipment, as well as lighting by strobe makes it far more accessible to still photographers. On the other hand, like many things, it's a gimmick and as technology waits for no one, it's expiration date is probably not far off.

But Melissa is a great subject and was really patient as I attempted to keep all of the plates spinning in my studio to make this work. (For those who don't remember shows like Ed Sullivan, you might want to Google plate spinner. It was a simpler time...)  In fact, I went into this shoot not really anticipating that the shots that I was taking of Melissa would themselves be keepers because I was so consumed by the "film-making" part of the endeavor, but I was pleasantly surprised.