Samsara

Below a new trailer for Samsara. Shot on 70mm over five years this truly epic looking film reunites filmmakers Ron Fricke and Mark Magidson the makers of Baraka – probably my most played VHS of the 90’s [via] [Read more…]

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Floating Point – an interview with time-lapse photographer Samuel Cockedey.

UPDATE NOV 2011 – Since this interview Samuel Cockedey and Woob have collaborated for a second time with a short film – “Return to the City” – Time-lapse Re-imagined. Details and preview can be found HERE  Continue on for the full interview.

Ever since I saw Koyaanisqatsi (years after it came out) I have had a love for all types of time-lapse photography. Recently I discovered the work of Samuel Cockedey. A Frenchman based in Tokyo Samuel only relatively recently got involved with the art form but has already amassed a body of work that contains some of the most spectacular time-lapse shots of the city. Last week he kindly took time out to answer some questions about his work.

S9: Explain the process behind a typical shot.

SC: You need the right combination of location, timing, and weather. I do a lot of walking during the weekends to find interesting places to shoot from. I usually have a list of spots in mind and try to go whenever I have time and the weather seems interesting. It’s a fantastic excuse to keep exploring the city. One great thing about shooting time lapses is that it forces you to slow down and do something you normally don’t: stop, watch and enjoy. It’s a time for contemplation. Most people have a quick look at a view and then move on to something else. But when you shoot a place for several hours, you can really let the view sink in, get a real sense of the surroundings, the noises, the smells, the small details. I guess you could call that a form of slow tourism.

S9: How did you first get involved with time-lapse photography?

SC: About three years ago I came across a few time lapse videos that I found really interesting. I was especially fascinated by the works of Anthony Powell (www.frozensouth.com), who has been shooting for several years in Antarctica. The combination of time lapse imagery and frozen landscapes seemed surreal. It was one of the first times I saw time lapse footage, produced by an individual with no studio-sized resources, with a clear aesthetic and cinematic intent – quite different from the one-off documentary-type shots of plants blooming, fruits decaying etc. I had seen before. At the time I was also a bit frustrated with still pictures, as I felt they didn’t do justice to the amazing vistas and skies I could witness in Tokyo. Time lapse seemed the perfect medium. So I did some research, ordered an intervalometer, and was blown away by the first results I got. I immediately loved how they revealed patterns and details that had been there the whole time, but that I had never really paid attention to. Window cleaners, traffic, construction, buildings being shut down at specific times, moon, planets and stars movements in the sky… It was an exciting new outlook on daily life. After that I kept shooting and refining the process.

S9: What is the longest you have shot for and do you get through a lot of shutters?

SC: I just made my longest shoot recently, 24 hours straight. This time I was not standing by the camera the whole time though! It seems that there is a lot of concern about damaging the shutter but I’ve never had any issue. In any case I would rather go through a shutter creating content that I love than leave the camera home, being afraid of damaging it! From what I understand they can be also replaced at a reasonable price if needed.

S9: What’s it like being a Frenchman living in Tokyo?

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