Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Creating my first Speed Drawing

Window to my Soul
5x7 inches
Coloured pencil & Markers on Watercolour Canvas

My set up for the speed drawing
I had several goals for 2014 - one was to be a more diligent blogger and the other was to create my first speed drawing and hopefully a course of them over the next year - here we are one week into the year, and we have a promising start. I posted my first speed drawing to YouTube this morning and what a wonderful feeling it was (you can view it here http://youtu.be/8zDfl8XIbbI). It isn't the best quality speed drawing but it was a wonderful learning experience.
For those of you who, like me, are keen to try your hand at speed drawing and time lapse photography, but who don't want to spend a fortune on expensive equipment or buy confusing video editing software, I thought I would share my setup and experiences. I first downloaded an app called Lapseit from iTunes for my iPhone - this app is also available for Android phones. You can get the free version, or for $1.99, buy the premium version, which has a few more features and this was the version I purchased. This wonderful little app is very simple to use and I thought did quite a good job at capturing the time lapse video. It also renders the video for you, once you have completed your drawing, without the need for complex editing. I did discover that it renders MUCH more quickly if you render your video without the added option of applying music. I also found that unless you add your own music, it is easier to allow for monetization (making money from adds on your video) if you don't have music added.
It wasn't all smooth sailing though. For some reason, unbeknownst to me, the app cut out a couple of times during filming, leaving me with some gaps in the footage. I'm not sure if this was the app or my iPhone playing up. I then temporarily changed the settings on the iPhone and put automatic lock to 'never' and 'automatic brightness' off and am hoping in the future that this helps to stop the app shutting down.
I initially set the time interval for each image at one image per 10 seconds and later discovered that this really is too long, making for a video that was much quicker than I really wanted, but I wanted to first see how much data creating the video would use up. I needn't have worried. I worked on the image for about 5 hours yesterday, and after all that time had only 50 seconds of footage with a file size of about 50Mb. About three quarters of the way through the artwork, I changed the interval to one image every 5 seconds which gave a much better result. They say the average attention span of a YouTube viewer is about 2-3 minutes which is what I will be aiming for in the future. The video was rendered at 25 frames per second.
Apart from purchasing the app for the iPhone, I needed to find a way of getting the iPhone in the correct position, so that it has a good view of the artwork, without being obtrusive as I worked (you can see it in the image above). I picked up this flexible mobile phone stand on Ebay for about $25, and it is perfect for the job.
I may look at some of the other time lapse apps available on iTunes, but overall, I would highly recommend this app and setup for anyone just starting out in timelapse photography who isn't needing an Academy Award winning video :)