One thing you can do with a compact, ultra-versatile and highly-capable camera is you can bend and spin reality into something utterly mesmerizing. That’s what filmmaker Dan Marker Moore (@danorst) did using 12 Sony RX0 cameras, a rig he actually built from part of his office chair and the pumping heart of Los Angeles—freeway traffic.
“I've been a filmmaker as long as I can remember and I’ve always been into motion graphics,” Marker Moore explains. “I decided that was something I wanted to do, so after college, I started working in Chicago at advertising agencies doing commercials and motion graphics design for them. Then pretty soon I realized I wanted to come out to LA where there are more opportunities and more work. Somewhere along the way, I got kind of bored with sitting in front of a computer all day, and I decided to start taking photos. That really changed my life and my career. Then I started bringing back the motion graphics work into my photography, and doing more videography and bringing a lot of different tools into what I was doing.”
When he saw the RX0, Marker-Moore got an idea of a particular project he wanted to create. “One of the cool things about the RX0 is how small it is,” he explains. “So I started thinking of something I could do with multiple cameras. It took some experimenting with the camera to kind of nail down a technique that I pursued further. Making a 360 rig that held multiple cameras let me spin around these scenes and there's no end. It's seamless. And it let me do a some really cool moves.”
Getting the 360 rig set up seemed like it was going to be problematic, but then a simple solution presented itself, literally, right under Marker-Moore’s butt. His office chair has a circular footrest that's attached around the chair’s column. By taking it apart, Marker-Moore had his spinning rig. He explains how he proceeded, “I was shooting locked-down video from 12 RX0 cameras mounted on the chair’s rail, and they were each about 30 degrees apart. Then in post I would average the frames and, because it's locked down, only the movement of light is being averaged and that actually creates the long trails that you see.”
He continues, “What I really liked about using the RX0 for this project was just the amount of detail and resolution I was able to get with the RX0 sensor. I was able to stitch the 12 HD streams together to get that gigantic super-wide scene. I really love the size of the RX0 and the HD files were manageable in post.
One other technical challenge remained; getting everything synced up in the computer. In a conventional, straight-forward multi-cam shoot, you could use a slate or even a hand clap to sync the footage from all of the cameras, but you can’t do that with a 360-degree rig. Marker-Moore, came up with another simple, but ingenious solution. “I played music between all the cameras. They recorded the audio and I was able to use the waveform to sync the footage. It worked perfectly.”
With the first day’s footage captured, Marker-Moore purchased his music track. The idea was that the music would inspire the edit and the wild visual effects he was creating in post. “I used music to drive the edit, so I searched for the stock track that I was going to purchase. I did that before I started doing the post-production. The pacing and the timing was set by the song. I actually edited it together just with shots from the first day, and then replaced shots over the next several days with new footage. I basically carved out a rough edit real quick and then refined it as I went out and captured newer shots to elevate the project.”
Elevated is one way to put it. Mind-bending might be better.