Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Making of Painting Rainbows

A couple of you asked about the making of the book trailer video “Painting Rainbows” which aired yesterday.

Lighting and Effects
My wife Jeanette pulled the color cards and operated the smoke machine. There’s a shimmering light effect to the left of the camera path between :22 and :27. It’s a caustic pattern that I got by reflecting sunlight off an undulating surface of water on a cookie sheet, which bounced the light up onto a movie screen.

I filmed that caustic reflection in HD and then projected it from a digital projector (visible on the C-stand to the left of the studio photo below). The smoke effect was a blast from a Memorex fog machine (Thanks, Frank).

The HD film was shot on a Canon Vixia HV40 and edited in iMovie. I shot the tabletop flyover using a homemade suspended camera rig. The rig was mounted to the end of an extension arm that reached out from a C-stand strapped to a bicycle. By steering the bike I could fly the camera an inch or two above the tabletop, giving a dolly shot with some steerability (and some wobble due to the knobby tires).

The dissolve to the Chandara artwork masked the switch to a reset camera rig at the end of an extension arm on a circular pivot from a floor-mounted C-stand to the left of the table, rotated with my right hand as I reached for the box.


There are a number of “whoosh” effects added, along with some audio enhancement during the assembly of the toolkit, using gun cocks, lock clicks, and squeaks. All are copyright free sounds, as was the musical piece “Sanskrit,” which came with the iMovie suite (Thanks, Apple!)

 Brushes and Paint
The brush is a Winsor and Newton Series 995 3/4 inch held onto the Helix compass with a Tridon hose clamp. The rainbow block has six slots cut with a radial saw with a plywood blade set to a maximum depth of 1/4 inch and spaced apart to a full spread of 7/8 inch.

The paints are cheap acrylic paints, most of them $1.00 or $1.50 each at Michaels. They’re fairly close to YURMBY colors: American Bright Yellow, Michaels True Red, Folk Art Magenta, Craftsman Bright Blue, Aqua, and Holiday Green.

Total budget for the book trailer, about $9.87.
Link to Painting Rainbows


Laura said...

You are just so much fun. Thanks for sharing!

JP said...

Very cool. Do you plan to release a digital version for us outlanders? (I notice you don't ship outside US).

Unknown said...

Amazing what can be done with a bit of imagination and ingenuity! I look at that photo and smile every time I see those ceramic mugs used to raise the table. :-)

I'm really enjoying the "Color and Light" book. Thanks.

Steve said...

Inspirational, as always.

Sure, it's disappointing to learn a bicycle was used, rather than a unicycle, but we all cut corners now and again.

Barbara said...


Roberto said...

Hey James, I thought you might be interested in a couple of books I just rediscovered unpacking my library.

1.) 'The Rainbow Book -being a collection of essays & illustrations devoted to Rainbows in particular & Spectral Sequences in general focusing on the meaning of color (physically & metaphysically) from Ancient to Modern Times.' Edited by P. L. Graham (The Rainbow Show), and published by ‘The Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco’ with ‘Shambala, Berkeley & London’ (1972).
[It’s a little naïve and dated, but a lot of fun.]

2.) 'Seeing the Light -Optics in Nature, Photography, Color, Vision, and Holography.' By David Falk/ Dieter Brill/ David Stork. Published by John Wiley & Sons, N.Y. (1986).
[A comprehensive overview, well written and thoroughly diagramed]

3.) 'Color Theory made easy –a new approach to color theory and how to apply it to mixing paints.' By Jim Ames. Published by Watson-Guptill (1996)
[YRMBY compatible!]

Coincidentally, my mother just gave me her copy of 'The Robe' by Lloyd Douglas.
[Dean Cornwell did eight illustrations for the book!!]
Thanx for the Journey… -RQ

James Gurney said...

Roberto, thanks for those great leads. I've got the Falk book on order.