“Asylum” Gets Crazy Numbers

The theme this week on the blog is personal work and the impact it can have on your craft and your career. Whether you’re a photographer or a filmmaker, you should be engaging in work that is not paid by anyone, but is done just for your love of the art. And there’s one form of art that sits right in the middle of filmmaking and photography: timelapses.

Yesterday was a big day for the timelapse world as perhaps one the foremost timelapse filmmakers of our day, Tome Lowe, premiered his epic timelapse opus “Timescapes” at NAB yesterday. (Man, I wish I could’ve been there to see that on a big screen). But today I’m not going to write about “Timescapes.” Today I want to highlight a timelapse film that in just over a week has garnered over 275,000 views on Vimeo already. It is “Asylum” by Drew Geraci and Drew Breese.

I’ve seen lots of atmospheric and eerie timelapses before. But there was something about this one that goes to another level. As the name suggests, it’s a timelapse of an abandoned mental asylum. As you watch it though, it’s as if the asylum is actually speaking to you. Telling you about its sordid past. Revealing the horrors of its halls. Rarely can a film with no characters or dialog “say” so much. The original score by David Charleston lends tremendously to the look and feel.

What’s even more fascinating is that according to the Vimeo description, that are no video shots in this film. All imagery is composed of still photographs (which, blows me away considering I thought for sure that hallway shot at 0:40 was a steadicam/glidecam shot. Freaking amazing!) Here’s an excerpt from the description.

This project is a combination of traditional HDR, tone-mapping, and standard time-lapse techniques. With the use of the Dynamic Perception Stage Zero and a Merlin head, we were able to capture the grit and the grime of this wondrous place, like it had never been captured before. Every single frame in this production is a still photograph, no video was shot. It took nearly 35,000 individual frames over 7 months to complete this project.

A Perfect Example of a “Sally Albright”

If you recall from my post last friday about “Maximizing Your Creative Output,” I pointed out four categories in which you could fall in order to maximize both the quality and personal satisfaction you get from your craft. One of those categories was “The Sally Albright,” wherein like the iconic romantic comedy character heroine, you do your art “on the side.” That is Drew Gereaci. His full-time gig is a photographer for the Washington Times.

All goes to show the kind of amazing work you can do when there’s no client telling you what to do. One of the Geraci and Breese mention in the BTS Q&A is that they did this purely for themselves. They were not contracted by anyone. They go on to say that this is what they do for fun. They go out and shoot every day. “That’s the defining point between a photographer and someone who just takes pictures.” The beautiful irony is that when you can do work of this caliber, it attracts the attention of companies who do want to hire you. Yet another reason you fulltime self-employed creatives need to be doing personal work.

So…how often are you shooting?

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