Timeslice GIF for IKEA #wonderfuleveryday Facebook and Instagram campaigns
Friend London, the production company, approached me to build a camera rig capable of shooting timeslice GIFs to capture frozen moments for IKEA’s #wonderfuleveryday social media campaign.
The idea was inspired by a modern interpretation of a Nimslo 3D, an unusual 1980s camera, that created 3D photographs by shooting four simultaneous images. These would then be developed into a lenticular print with a 3D effect. Nowadays you can scan the negatives and create animated GIFs which are engaging and mesmerising to watch.
Instead of using a film in a Nimslo 3D I scaled up the quality by using multiple DSLR cameras to capture the images. I commissioned bespoke software that automatically created GIFs live on set for the client to view. The job was ideal for me as I have shot timeslice before on Alastair Siddon’s ‘Turn It Loose’ film and I also love a technical challenge.
My first test was to attempt to digitise the original Nimslo camera, purchased off Ebay, by capturing the image off a ground glass screen mounted to the film plane in the camera. This created some interesting results, but the resolution wasn’t high enough and there were some complicated rigging and vignetting issues that I didn’t have the time to resolve in the timeframe. Another option was to create a digital back for the Nimslo but time, money and practicality were factors that made this a route I didn’t pursue.
The option I settled on was to place four DSLR cameras side by side and rig them so that the main unit camera, an Arri Alexa Mini, could be mounted on the same rig. Testing was very successful and even though I couldn’t place the cameras as close together as I would have liked, it was clear that using professional DSLRs was the right choice. Using smaller cameras would have allowed a closer lens spacing but issues with tethering, synchronising and lens choices were critical.
Bespoke software for instant client feedback
For the software I asked Will Gallia to write a script to tether and control the four rigged cameras. When a series of shots was captured, the software sorted and created the images into moving GIFs and embeded the file names into the GIF. This allowed post production to recreate the animation using the full quality Raw files during the edit.
The final rig was constructed by Daniel Essex using some discreet slimline ‘L’ brackets engineered by Justin Pentecost.