Making Small Worlds
I’ve been a big fan of Keith Loutit’s work since seeing the Bathtub series on Youtube a few years ago. His work is so amazing as it really gives you a unique view of the world blended with skilfully composed shots and impressive actions sequences. Keith’s videos have captured the imagination of millions of people and he is in hot demand as a director for film/TV shoots around the world.
Telstra invited Keith to come back home to capture the sights, sounds and mayhem of the Sydney Telstra 500 V8 car race at Homebush Bay. The mix of the amazing toy-like location (Homebush looks like a toy city without this technique) and the V8’s was sure to be a hit with V8 fans and non-fans alike.
After a manic three day shoot and 5 day edit, I caught up with Keith for a short interview before he jetted off for another shoot in Singapore.
Sam: What gets you excited about working on a project?
Keith: I get excited about the potential to transform a subject. A convincing illusion of miniaturization is difficult to achieve so I look forward to shooting subjects like the Telstra 500 where the cars and pitcrews have the potential to be transformed so completely into a world of toys.
S: What were some of the challenges around shooting the Telstra 500? Did you have to alter your process to shoot the fast moving cars?
K: I use photography to simulate the movement of each subject’s miniature counterpart. i.e. the pit crew moves like stop motion toys, whereas I wanted the cars to race like slot cars. The biggest challenge was taming the speed of the cars via time lapse, yet still preserving the jerky stop motion feel of other subjects in the scene. To work around this I filmed most scenes at 3 speeds, shooting at up to 9 frames per second. This provided a level of insurance to ensure the fast action was captured, and allow for digital compositing of the various elements at the right speed when required.
S: How important is music and what’s the process for finding the perfect track?
K: Music is always important. In this case the short duration of the film, combined with the variety & pacing of the action led us to collaborate with a composer Tam Nightingale to produce a track that fits like a glove.
S: What is it about tilt-and-shift photography that attracts audiences?
K: I believe the technique appeals at two levels. The most obvious is the strong emotional response to the illusion – seeing the word in miniature. But I believe the technique also has a transformative element, helping people to see places and events they know well as if seeing the scene for the first time.
Watch the video and share with us what events you think deserve the Tilt-and-shift treatment.