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Interview with Ross Ching – Time Lapse Photographer

Mr. Ross Ching is at it again, this time working is time-lapse magic with a stop-motion twist. It’s an unofficial video clip for a song called ‘Little Bribes by a band by the name of ‘Death Cab for Cutie’.

Death Cab for Cutie – Little Bribes from Ross Ching on Vimeo.

You can see the video at full resolution here.

If you haven’t seen the previous work that Ross has done, check out this article on time-lapse from last month. Ross has agreed to answer a few questions for curious DPS readers on this new project. If his question isn’t answered here, post it in the comments below and well see if we can get to it.

What are your primary tools (camera, software, accessories….)?

Went to an arts and crafts shop and found a lot of useful props to make words out of for about 20 bucks

Was the video shot completely with an SLR or did you also incorporate standard video as well?

The entire video was shot using a SLR. I’ve realized that there are waaaaay too many videos on the internet that were shot with standard video cameras. It’s just impossible to stand out and be noticed in that saturated field. People seem to be more awe-stricken when they find out it was all shot using an SLR. Not to mention it’s a style that is not nearly as crowded.

For those of us how have attempted time-lapse and photography we know how long it can take for just one short clip. Can you give us an estimate on the time it took to complete this?

I spent about 2 weeks on this project. It’s actually takes considerably less shooting time to create this piece because I don’t need to spend an hour waiting for a time lapse to finish. Some shots were as little as 3 frames. The difficult part was putting together the words. At times I was sitting on the side of a road trying to find pebbles that will spell something out. I’d get very strange looks from people passing by.

Of all the words you created for the video, which one was your favorite? The M&M’s?

My favorite words were the ones I created at night time. Specifically the glowing words. I think that’s because it takes a bit of my background work (time lapse) and my current, new ideas and blends them together. There’s something about night time photography that I absolutely love despite having to sit out in the middle of nowhere in the cold. Photos at night don’t look the same as what we see with our eyes.

We’ve had a few articles here on light painting, which you used for some of the words. Can you illuminate the technique you used?

The hardest thing about time lapse and light painting is that the background moves. So if I begin painting something out I don’t have too much lee way to make mistakes. (Keep in mind I have to paint these words mirrored to look correct for the camera) If I make a mistake there will be a jump in the background and have to start over. After writing about 20 words over and over mirrored I’m now a pro at writing things mirrored. A lot of it is trial and error. I studied the technique a lot, but nothing much came of it until I got out there and started testing it.

Have you heard from Death Cab and got their opinion on the video?

I didn’t want to show it to Death Cab when I first released it because I was afraid they might not see it as a cross promotional deal and more as a copyright infringement. I’m a huge fan of their music and I wanted to at least show it to the world first. If I went to them first and they said “No don’t post it” those two weeks of work would have gone down the drain. I’ll send it to them soon though. Through twitter 🙂

Any protected trade secrets you’d like to share with DPS readers?

New ideas don’t come easily. Time lapse (and tilt shift) photography is beginning to become an every day occurrence on the internet, and I’ve had to think of new ways to stand out. I spent a whole month and a half thinking of how I could change my style and move forward and yet still make impacting movies that keep the viewers on the edge of their seats. When this idea came to me, I scoured the internet so see if it has ever been done before, and surprisingly I wasn’t able to find very much work to the degree that I went to. Almost everything I’ve learned about photography has come from sitting hours in front of my computer on the internet. If you love photography, you should also love the internet and technology.

Further Reading: How I Made a Time Lapse Movie with my DSLR (an article Ross guest posted here at DPS last year). See more of Ross’s work at his website rossching.com.

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Chas Elliott
Chas Elliott

is a freelance photographer in the Northern Virginia and DC area. See more of his work at www.chaselliott.com.

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