I’m fascinated by timelapse, and I’ve wanted to shoot someone sleeping for ages. Not in a creepy way, you understand. It’s just that slow-motion and timelapse videos reveal stuff we don’t usually get to see as humans shackled to linear time. As a VJ I do a lot of thinking about different ways of using projection. I’ve used projection mapping in the past on buildings and inanimate objects. So sleeping dudes seemed like a completely obvious next step.
It was surprising how little convincing was required to get Little Odessa on board with the concept. My pitch was “All four of you, asleep in a bed together, with a projector blaring in your eyes. It’s likely to be the worst night’s sleep of your entire life.” They were instantly, unanimously in favour of the idea.
People suggested filming the guys and projection separately and combining them in post, or filming for a shorter time, but I did some tests on myself and the only way to get a convincing effect was to do it for real, with actual dudes sleeping in actual beds together, actually over night.
- I filmed the boys’ performance separately in my home studio, mostly on green screen. Everyone was edited separately and then combined, so it was like producing four music videos at once. I really should have thought about that when figuring out the budget. Turns out that chromakeying and rendering 4 separate performances is quite time consuming.
- Luckily the song is short, at 2:37.
- At 25 frames/second, the edited performance video is 3968 frames long.
- Projecting at 1 frame every 6 seconds, that gave us 6 hours and 37 minutes of sleepy time
- (At 1 frame every 8 seconds it would have been 8 hours 40, which seemed like way too much sleep. Danny the drummer had to leave to work on power lines at 5:40am too, which would have made for an 8pm bedtime, which is just silly. The budget wouldn’t have covered sleeping pills to knock everyone out at 8pm.
- To make a 2:37 video run for over 6 hours at exactly 1 frame every 6 seconds, I used VJ software called Resolume. This let me set the number of beats in the clip to the number of frames (3968), and then set the software’s internal clock to 10 beats per minute, which gave us a beat/frame every 6 seconds. SCIENCE!
- To allow the projector to cover two double beds without having to rig it 4m in the air, I bounced it off a giant mirror rigged on scaffolding. The image was warped in Resolume to line up with the guys, then I filmed the reflected image of that whole mess of beds/projection/dudes.
- Once everything was set, we pressed go at 11:15pm and nature took over! The boys were worried that, well, all kinds of things might happen during the night. Fortunately they are all g-rated sleepers.