Filmmaker DuBois uses unique frame processing technique on 'Fashionably Late'

Shot with Panasonic AG-HVX200 camcorders, ‘Fashionably Late for the Relationship’ will squeeze a 72-hour performance into a 72-minute movie.

Last month Manhattan played host to “Fashionably Late for the Relationship,” staged by performance artist Lián Amaris Sifuentes. On a bedroom set in the middle of a busy traffic island at the southeast corner of Union Square, Sifuentes spent 72 hours getting ready for a date surrounded by four Panasonic AG-HVX200 DVCPRO HD P2 camcorders continuously recording midnight to midnight July 6–9.

Filmmaker R. Luke DuBois, who teaches interactive sound and video performance at Columbia and New York University, initiated the unique performance project and plans to use his own customized frame-blending software to compress the material into a 72-minute film slated for festival submissions.

DuBois used a similar technique with “Academy,” a 76-minute piece in which each movie that has won the Academy Award for Best Picture is squeezed down to a minute; it was screened at Sundance this year. DuBois will also create a three-channel video installation of “Fashionably Late” that will exhibit at bitforms gallery in New York City later this year.

Both the project’s producers, Gabriel Winer and Dana Karwas, partners at Manhattan-based production and design firm WIKA, and its director of photography, Toshiaki Ozawa, are veterans of HVX200 production.

Each of the three HVX200s was hardwired via FireWire to a MacBook Pro running Final Cut Pro recording at 720p onto Glyph 500GB drives. For safety, a clip was made every 30 minutes. Glyph drives were traded out during a two-minute window. A fourth HVX200 recorded to P2 media for pickups and inserts.

DuBois will use his “sui generis” post process for “Fashionably Late.” The technique requires DuBois to create his own video processing system using Cycling’74’s Jitter. According to DuBois, he is applying an algorithm that renders the HVX footage at a high-resolution “frame blending using a floating-point resolution much higher than possible with off-the-shelf NLE systems.”

“Bottom line, 60 frames go into one frame,” DuBois said. “I play a clip, add up to 60 frames, divide by 60 frames and use the average. Because I’m working at such a high resolution, there are negligible artifacts and no posterization. Lián will look like she’s moving quite slowly, in soft focus, but everything else will go flying by,” he explained.

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