Tyler Ramsey “Robot Battle” Stop Motion Music Video

A while back I got a call from my good friend Walter May who is one of the more inherently creative individuals I may have ever met. He has produced, edited, concepted, and directed a huge assortment of music video and commercial projects for everyone from Katy Perry to Microsoft. If you haven't seen his work, I highly recommend stopping by his site and checking out the portfolio.

Walter had started working with a painter named Tyler Ramsey who eschews brushes and normal technique instead opting to basically sling brightly colored paint onto any canvas he can find... including floors, walls, ceilings, himself, you name it. Think Jackson Pollack but with happy colors and a little more velocity to the paint spatter. His pieces are owned by everyone from Bill Clinton and U.N. world leaders to Clint Eastwood, Samuel L. Jackson, and the Armand Hammer museums. He also works closely with TOMS shoes on a custom "Tyler Ramsey" line of artist-inspired products.

They were brainstorming some ideas to meld various art mediums and asked me to help them shoot a stop motion music video of one of Tyler's pieces during the actual process of painting it. I'm excited to finally be able to share the finished product below:

 

 

Since Tyler paints with the canvas on the ground and doesn't really move it at all once he begins, I lit the canvas with strobes evenly from the side. We needed to shoot everything from directly overhead and without any motion in the camera placement.

Thankfully Walter was able to get hold of an industrial scissor lift which I weighted with sand bags and gaff taped (LOTS of gaff tape) the camera to using a tripod laid horizontally across the top railing of the lift. Focusing was a bit of a challenge initially, but once dialed in, I triggered the camera remotely from the laptop and we were off to the races.

One of my favorite things about a project like this is the thought of how many layers are contained in the final painting (which took two full days to dry). It's almost like having multiple pieces of art hidden in one piece. You'd never see them without something like the video to have it captured. I know, I know... getting all arty farty, deep and existential again.

Here are some less than ideal BTS shots from my old iPhone. Hopefully it will at least give a rough glimpse of the set. Definitely looking forward to doing more art projects like these.

 

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Tyler and I have worked on a few projects since this one including a trip to Oral Roberts University last week for the unveiling of his big installation at the new Hammer Building. I'm in the early phases of cutting a video of the experience and hope to share soon!