Time-lapse light painting with projectors

At Bright Signals we were recently asked to help with The Media Shop’s Christmas message. We wanted to take it in a different direction from their previous Christmas videos, and I had an idea to combine some of my favourite photo-geekery techniques: light painting, time-lapse and projectors. Here’s the result:

I’m a big fan of light painting, but I wanted to try something a bit more structured than freehand light painting. I’m also a big fan of time-lapse video and long-exposure photography, for example with star trails. I wanted to see if we could combine all of those techniques into a new way to shoot video.

To get the effect, we illustrated each of the scenes digitally. But rather than capture the pen strokes, we only captured the movement of the pen tip. We then projected this pen tip ‘dot’ video onto famous landmarks around Glasgow.

We then recorded the projected animations as a sequence of thousands of long-exposure photographs which builds up into the final sequence you see. The images you see in this video don’t actually exist — nobody saw them with the naked eye, they’re all simply the result of light painting.