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Vimeo of the Week: Small World Energy

Small World Energy from Niles Heckman on Vimeo.

Niles Heckman‘s Small World Energy is a wonderful little film telling the story of energy. Starting with the worst types of energy and finishing with the cleanest types of energy, his film shows what appears to be aerial views of these things. In actuality, it is a combo “of hand painting, photo collage, morphing, and texture projections.” He wrote of the film:

Being extremely passionate about clean energy and a sustainable future for the planet, I felt obligated to do my version of a public service announcement. The concept was to start dirty and end clean. Beginning by showing the most destructive forms of energy (deforestation, coal, oil, shale) in addition to some of their side effects and then transition to systems that are cleaner but still have major downsides associated (nuclear, bio fuels, hydro) and conclude with renewables (geothermal, tidal, solar, and wind) which have very minimal negative side effects and impact on our ecosystem.

Virtually all forms of generating energy share the commonality of being large-scale operations that take up a great deal of space and can most easily be shown from an aerial point of view.TILT SHIFT PHOTOGRAPHY works fantastic from a high angle POV and the miniature feel it generates through its depth of field is also a perfect story telling tool for saying how small our planet is. While being far from the first person to use tilt shift, Australian photographer KEITH LOUTIT‘s tilt shift combined with time laps photography work is spectacular and was a definite influence for doing this project in that style. Growing up I used to build tones with Lego’s and to this day love models & model train sets so I had been wanting to do a project using the tilt-shift + time laps technique and this idea was the perfect excuse. The actual execution was not done using aerial cinematography but instead employs a combination of hand painting, photo collage, morphing, and texture projections along with the very old but extremely usefulKEN BURNS EFFECT to essentially create as series of moving matte paintings. Andrew Kramer has done a great TUTORIAL that shows a very similar technique for how each shot in this piece was done.