Visually Dazzling 'Imagination' Music Video Pushes the Boundaries of Time-lapse and Hyperlapse Techniques

With a concept of traveling back through your childhood and experiencing that care-free, fantasy world of "pure imagination," Permagrin Films has put together an incredible time-lapse music video. In the article below, there's a full behind-the-scenes video and the producers of the film answer a few of my questions in a brief interview.

One of the first things I noticed while watching the behind-the-scenes video was that they had a RED Epic being used in many of the shots, instead of a typical high-end DSLR like a Canon 5D or Nikon D4. I asked Marc Donahue, the Director of "Imagination," why he made that choice. “While the Canon 5D Mark III was a perfect camera for stop motion and time-lapse, the RED Epic helped us with anything where video was required. The Red Epic also worked fantastic on the Emotimo TB3 paired with Dynamic Perception's Stage One,” said Donahue.

It wasn't all REDs and DSLRs though Donahue revealed to me that they actually got away with using a GoPro Hero 4 on a few sequences. One notable scene in particular was on the rollercoaster. They rode several times to work out all of the kinks before doing the final recording. “We took a GoPro Hero 4 onto the rollercoaster and quickly mounted it to the handle bars as to not hold up the line,” Donahue said. “The trick to having it not get loose is to either use tape or a t-shirt and clamp the GoPro over the tape/shirt to give it more grip on the metal handle.”

I asked Donahue about his inspiration for creating this kind of work — using handcrafted props and creating surreal imagery on set rather than using post-processing trickery (outside of stabilizing and cropping) to achieve the desired effects. While I was reminded of work by Michel Gondy, Donahue told me one their (he and Producer Roth Rind) primary inspirations was the artist known as PES. “His work in stop-motion is mind blowing and we strive to create beautiful works of art like him,” said Donahue.

All of the stills needed to create these sequences (including all of the ones that didn't make the final cut) must have taken up a huge amount of data, so I inquired as to what that amounted to when it was all said and done. “We shot a total of 12 TBs of data, out of which only 80 percent was used to make the final video and BTS. ‘Imagination’ totals 13,457 frames. The BTS video had about 12,000 frames of time-lapse and stop motion,” said Donahue.

You can check out more of Permagrin Films' work on YouTube and follow them on Facebook.

Mike Wilkinson's picture

Mike Wilkinson is an award-winning video director with his company Wilkinson Visual, currently based out of Lexington, Kentucky. Mike has been working in production for over 10 years as a shooter, editor, and producer. His passion lies in outdoor adventures, documentary filmmaking, photography, and locally-sourced food and beer.

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I feel like I should have been high watching this.

Thanks Mike for the wonderful writeup!!! You have supported us from the beginning and it truly means the world to me!!! One of these days we have to meet up, shoot some stuff, and grab some beers:)

Always love Permagrin's work. Always inspiring creativity. Thanks for posting.

As cool as it is I couldn't finish watching it as my eyes started to hurt due to the constant flickering. It should contain an epilepsy warning... just saying.