Archives for September 2012

Time-Lapse on Steroids: Dream Music

It’s long, but it’s also mesmerizing: a time lapse tour-de-force. Most amazing is that these artists were able to reposition and take frames with the mouth synch so well timed and integrated. 6-8 hours of work for each 3-4 seconds of footage? 6 months to do? Yeah, I can see that.

Marc Donahue is a 31 years old from Los Gatos, CA, graduated college at UCSB, filming and editing for 12 years. He specializes in Film, Lyric-Lapsing, Stop Motion, Motion Control Timelapse, Music Videos, Commercials & Wedding Services.

Sean Michael Williams is 27 years old from San Jose, CA. Sean graduated from San Diego State University, and has been filming and editing for 6 years. He specializes in Film production, Lyric-Lapsing, Stop Motion, motion Control Time-lapse, Music Videos, Commercial campaigns & Wedding Services.

Q1. Where did the idea to push time lapse to this extreme come from?

Donahue/Williams: We’ve been working on a number of different timelapse techniques for years. We recently got sponsored by that makes motion controlled timelapse devices. After years of experimenting we combined all our production techniques together and came up with lyric-lapsing, a stop motion timelapse effect that creates a surrealistic feeling.

Q2. How are you doing this — especially synching up the lip movement with the songs so effectively? Can you describe your process (without giving away the secret sauce)?

Donahue/Williams: Like I said before we have been experimenting with different techniques. Combining tedious movements within intervals of time allow us to create such powerful cinematography. We have a number of videos that kind of show you the process on my vimeo account (

Q3. You say, “Our goal was to pioneer a new film genre by telling a story through art and music.” Can you tell me a little more about that?

Donahue/Williams: We wanted to push the progression of time-lapse and lyric-lapsing into the online short film world. We wanted to create an artistic story in a way that had never been done before. Our goal was to make Part II a unique experience that would be different than anything else on the internet. We aimed to seamlessly weave a visual narrative within the lyrics of 3 different songs and maintain a unified story.

Q4. Where would you like to take this time-lapse technique next?

Donahue/Williams: We really want to hook up with a big time artist and create a music video and get into some commercial gigs. We’d also like to take this technique and travel the world, showing all the fascinating places, and make travel documentaries.

Q5. Is this project linked in any way to the wedding videography that you’re doing? I think there are some pretty innovative things coming up out of the wedding videography business. Any interesting things you see developing there?

Donahue/Williams: Wedding videography is how we get paid. We do however use sliders and timelapses and actually the last wedding I filmed last Saturday I used this technique with the couple, after showing them the video on youtube. So yeah we are starting to apply it to other avenues.

StillMotion’s KNOW Workshop


I recently attended a multimedia/filmmaking workshop put on by Toronto-based StillMotion. The company is hosting 36 workshops in cities around North America in the Fall of 2012. I recommend attending one of the storytelling skills sessions (roughly 9:00 AM – 5:30 PM). (I didn’t find the evening editing session to be as good: if you’re new to editing I think it would flow too quickly and if you’re familiar with editing I think you’d be familiar with most of what they covered.)

Here’s what I liked:

  • StillMotion’s presenters were experienced and very competent. I was very, very impressed with their work product: both wedding films and commercial work. (And StillMotion’s commercial clients are pretty “premier”, like Showtime, Callaway, the NFL, etc.).
  • StillMotion emphasized connecting EMOTIONALLY to subjects/characters being filmed.
  • StillMotion provided a step-by-step walk-through of two projects (a wedding highlights film and a commercial project), plus they discussed a third feature-length film project in detail. This was really interesting, as they took us through how the projects originated, how they worked with clients to prepare for the shoots, specific decisions they made when shooting and editing the films — and the rationale behind these decisions.
  • The presenters were young and enthusiastic. Helpful over a long workshop (which started at 9:00 AM and finished at 9:30 PM).
  • The presentation format was relaxed and informal.
  • StillMotion stressed using tools and techniques for specific purposes, not just for cool effects. They repeated that message often to drive the point home.
  • StillMotion demo’ed the equipment they use, including a simple DSLR filmmaking kit they typically use “for 90% of a shoot”.

If you can attend the one-day workshop I think you’ll come away impressed.  Even if you’re familiar with a lot of the gear and techniques, these folks do outstanding work and you’ll learn from how a commercial shop approaches it’s clients and keeps production humming along.