Unorthodox stop-motion music video uses Canon 1D and 16,000 flashes

Normally stop motion is a laborious process of setting up the scene, adjusting the lighting and focus, taking the shot, and then starting all over again. But this method, where they’re essentially subtracting frames from a motion video, while not properly stop-motion, certainly creates that effect. Instead of lighting the guys and asking them to move into each next position before they take a shot, they’ve got an array of fast-recycle flashes synced to a 1D mk III shooting at 10FPS, which produces the frames used in the video.

Check it out:

It’s made possible by the ProFoto flash, which has an excellent 0.9-second refresh rate. Lash a few of these together (as well as a complicated sync setup, RedRock mount, and a grip of batteries) and it’s possible to essentially strobe all the lighting you need, which in this case they’ve set at 10 frames per second. Fill in the gaps with black frames or secondary video and you’ve got yourself a pretty neat stop-motion effect.

In case you’re wondering, they couldn’t have done this with a 5D or other DSLR video mode, because the rolling shutter would have caused a really ugly effect with the flash — it would only cover part of the screen; you can see this in the behind the scenes video.

The band is an Iranian one called Hypernova; the song is “Sinners” and the director is Richard Patterson.