Step 2: The basic principle

The basic principle when it comes to light painting is that you capture the light as it moves from one point in space and time to another. To do this you need to set your camera to full manual mode. Then you set the exposure time to at least a few seconds, we ended up using between 5 and 20 seconds depending how much we had going on in each frame.

To get a sharp image you will want to fix the camera to something, a decent tripod will get the job done. To avoid differences in focus set the focus manually and keep it set for each animation sequence (you can still adjust it manually as your subject moves / do a focus pull). another thing to try is to move the camera a tiny bit in one direction for each frame, in a straight line or rotationg around your subject, creating the illusion of camera motion.

An added bonus of using a still camera is the amazing image quality you can get even out of the most basic digital camera compared to a consumer video-camera, you could make your end video in full HD resolution.
Where can I see a preview of your end product? I'm sure it's a good one.
<a href="http://vimeo.com/1007693" rel="nofollow">http://vimeo.com/1007693</a>
You can watch it here: http://vimeo.com/1007693 cheers!
other than the fact that adobe after works and the apple program together are around 1500 dollars.... that's pretty cool
Wohoo, 2600+ views today and counting, it's great to be popular :D
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.<br />
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)<br /> <br /> <object height="344" width="425"> <param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/QuhAyMHMw3g&amp;hl=en&amp;fs=1&amp;" /> <param name="allowFullScreen" value="true" /> <param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always" /><embed allowfullscreen="true" allowscriptaccess="always" height="344" src="http://www.youtube.com/v/QuhAyMHMw3g&amp;hl=en&amp;fs=1&amp;" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" width="425" /></object>&nbsp;
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???)
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
I have a Nikon Coolpix S2... does anyone know how to set the Coolpix cameras up because I'm having trouble.
wow. u made this? wow. gotta appreciate the work put in to it. this is so beyond professional! and a <em>still camera</em> 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!<br/>
it is relatively easy to do, you just need a good camera
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!
GIVE ME THE MP3 TO THIS SONG.... NOW! lol but seriously its a good song
You can get the mp3 here: <a rel="nofollow" href="http://sleepingbeautyrocks.se/City%20Lights%20(SB%202008)%20MP3.mp3">http://sleepingbeautyrocks.se/City%20Lights%20(SB%202008)%20MP3.mp3</a><br/>
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!
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)
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...
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?
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.
Good point, thanks!
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.
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
Much appreciated!
Wow, that was an amazing video. And the song's pretty good, too. The video quality you achieve with the still-camera is astounding.
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!
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!
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!
pretty sweet vid, like the idea! 5/5 stars!
Thanks, appreciate it!
the music video is awesome, great job guys
Cheers! I'm glad you like it :)

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