Nightlife: Wriggles & Robins capture nocturnal ‘animals’ by flash

We’ve followed the work of Tom Wrigglesworth and Matt Robinson (aka Wriggles & Robins) since their student days. Their films are always highly inventive and playful – qualities that exist in abundance in their latest work, Nightlife.

The film follows a series of morphing nocturnal animals roaming from the wilderness into the city at night. Wrigglesworth and Robinson pitched the idea to Nikon who supplied two of their D810 cameras to shoot it on.

“To create the film, we cut 84 life-size looping flying/running animals out of foam board which we then attached with a camera on a dolly to a 20 meter track,” the directors explain. “The final stop motion sequences were created by stopping the rig every 10cm along the track, replacing with the next cut out frame of the animal and taking a photo. In total we took 7,434 photos, using 4 flashes mounted in different positions. By firing different combinations of flashes we could create completely different visual effects.”

“We left the back of each cut-out white, which allowed us to reflect the flash off the back – illuminating the environment whilst also highlighting the cutout edge of each animal,” they explain. “The data in the bottom corner shows the exact camera settings used for each shot.”

This timelapse film reveals more about the techniques used:

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