Picture of Animate with light
Learn how to make your own snazzy light-animations on the cheap. We made an animated music video with light-painting, stop motion, long exposure photography and lots of patience,

View the full video at Vimeo: http://vimeo.com/1007693


"Ohh so your new song is called City Lights?! I have a great idea for that!"

When I got a call from the band asking me to do a video for their upcoming single I had just recently checked out the many inspirational works of people posting at instructables.com and found my way to the amazing movies made by the japanese light-painting crew PIKAPIKA. I did a few tests on my own and was able to get the band and a crew on board. We did a few more tests together until we felt confident we could pull it all off. In total we worked two full days indoors, two long nights outdoors and about three days with editing and post production.


Produced by: Benjamin Taft, Johannes Petterson, Jonatan Westman
Main photography by: Benjamin Taft
Additional photography by: Daniel Palmer
Editing & Post: Jonatan Westman, Benjamin Taft
Light-painters: Johannes Petterson, Jonatan Westman, additional work by the rest of the crew and the band, a special shout out to Bjorn Janson (drummer in the band) who did the many of the detailed light paintings.

Music and performance by: Sleeping Beauty- www.sleepingbeautyrocks.se
Showcase of Benjamin Taft: www.taft.se

Step 1: Preparations - what you will need

Picture of Preparations - what you will need
- Darkness (a dark room or from sunset to sunrise)
- A lot of patience and patient friends/collegues
- A camera (any camera will work but I recommend a digital SLR, we used a Nikon D40 and a Canon 350D/Rebel)
- LEDs/Flashlighs of all kinds, the brighter the better
- A video editing application to put it all together into a video sequence (We used a combination of Adobe After Effects and Apple Final Cut Pro)
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Phoenix Flare11 months ago
reymd5 years ago
Where can I see a preview of your end product? I'm sure it's a good one.
buenoben (author)  reymd5 years ago
buenoben (author)  reymd5 years ago
You can watch it here: http://vimeo.com/1007693 cheers!
astrong05 years ago
other than the fact that adobe after works and the apple program together are around 1500 dollars.... that's pretty cool
buenoben (author) 5 years ago
Wohoo, 2600+ views today and counting, it's great to be popular :D
DesChamos6 years ago
I'm going to feel really silly for asking this, but how did you make it so the person painting isn't in the shot? I've seen some attempts by other people at still images, and they don't look half as good since there is a blur of a person there.
A simple way is to flash a light on the person in the shot, quickly, and then get the painter in with dark clothes in once the flash has gone.
This is one of my attempts at a similar concept. My hand was waved around in front of the camera within the 8 seconds and as mentioned by buenoben as long as you keep moving it does not get seen by the camera especially when in dark clothes (black preferably)

buenoben (author)  DesChamos5 years ago
I guess it's all about making sure the people paining don't reflect much ambient light by wearing light absorbing dark clothing for instance. Another thing would be to use as long exposure times as possible and have the lightpainters try to stay mobile (never stay in one place for long) and hidden behind the subjects when possible.
u heart walls (subliminal message???)
leerose6 years ago
What an amazing video! (I liked the song a lot too!) Maybe I'll try something with this myself...? I haven't used my camera in a while. Although I suppose first I should find my charger... XD Thank you for sharing; you did a great job! :D
wouldnt you see the blur of the person who is "drawing" in the pictures
lilweis336 years ago
I have a Nikon Coolpix S2... does anyone know how to set the Coolpix cameras up because I'm having trouble.
MjPadfoot6 years ago
wow. u made this? wow. gotta appreciate the work put in to it. this is so beyond professional! and a still camera was used? i cant even do that with my high def video camera! i MUST get a dslr! but im guessing this is more the talent of the creator, and i aint got a lot of that. kudos to u!
it is relatively easy to do, you just need a good camera
buenoben (author)  ajleece6 years ago
A low end dsl will work fine, I used a Nikon d40 with the kit lens. A point and shoot will work too if you can set long exposures in manual mode, but I found the ones I tried to be really slow at processing the long exposure shots (10 seconds as opposed to half a second for the d40)
Wonderful work! Much Style! Congratulations!
buenoben (author)  Carlos Marmo6 years ago
urbosssez6 years ago
GIVE ME THE MP3 TO THIS SONG.... NOW! lol but seriously its a good song
buenoben (author)  urbosssez6 years ago
tudgeanator7 years ago
Awesome! I love it! I don't know if I can do this with my camera as it is a terrible camera (some Olypus one that I can't remember the name of-it is really old) although I must try it. I'm off to get my camera!
hernanai7 years ago
Favorited! My brother and I did something like this for his school... but it was much shorter and the end result was a .gif file. (Sound wasn't necessary)
buenoben (author)  hernanai7 years ago
Cool, I'd love to see the work you did!
I'd love to see it again also... but the jump drive has since been deleted and well, I think I might be able to scrap one up from random pics that are left...
mangenoll7 years ago
Great photos! Like the one with the mic. Got to try this some day! Just got one question, is it gothenburg in the background in some of the pictures?
buenoben (author)  mangenoll7 years ago
Yes, thats Gothenburg alright, my hometown. Are you familiar with the place? The close-up shot with the microphone actually has a whole separate story to it, since it was an audio sync captured with still frames / stop motion we had to come up with a novel approach to it.
Quite familiar, it's my hometown too! Oh, it sounds fun! Great song and great video! Gothenburg is best by night!
very cool! though I would have liked the beginning to start much like the ending ended.
buenoben (author)  laminterious7 years ago
Good point, thanks!
Brennn107 years ago
Thanks for reminding us to use tripods. The first time I drew with light, I had my dad hold the camera and the picture came out pretty blurry.
buenoben (author)  Brennn107 years ago
Yup, stabilizing the camera will do wonders for this kind of work, let me know when you've tried it again!
Cool! Great Instructable! I love After Effects! Its great! Amazing Work and looks like a great video! 5***** Thanks Joe
buenoben (author)  joejoerowley7 years ago
Much appreciated!
Matt_B7 years ago
Wow, that was an amazing video. And the song's pretty good, too. The video quality you achieve with the still-camera is astounding.
buenoben (author)  Matt_B7 years ago
No kidding, I can't wait for affordable video cameras with the same quality, some digital slrs are getting pretty good continuous burst modes, I suspect using them for video would not be good for the mechanics. I if the ones that feature "live view" modes could be made to output it as a video stream, at least you would be making use of the superior optics of a dslr. Maybe they already exist? Still, for now, stop motion is the the way to go :) Appreciate the kudos!
mailkd77 years ago
Heh, I had a real simple idea on how to do it with a camera.... I guess I'll have to write an Instructable.. Still, good technique!
buenoben (author)  mailkd77 years ago
Thanks, but I'm not sure what you are saying, most everything in the video was made "in camera" other than a few composites.
wow absolutely love it! Great video and instructable 5/5 stars!
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