Since the inception of this project, I have been wanting to make a film using the scanner as a camera. I mean, technically, it is a camera. But, more specifically, using the large piece of glass as a lens and not just placing flat objects onto it and closing the lid.
Leaving the lid open on a scanner lets in other ambient light which creates a strange texture because scanners are extremely near-sighted. Anything beyond an inch or two away from the glass creates a blur and some weird texturing:
Most flatbed scanners (like my cheap one from Staples) operate by shining a light onto the object as it passes along the underside of the glass, capturing the image and it rolls along. But what if the light was shining onto another light? Would would happen?
So I took this idea and used a household flashlight. I ran it across the scanner glass in different patterns and speeds, following the bar as it passed along the glass. It resulted in some interesting images:
Generally, I don't like abstract films. I think by rule, abstract filmmaking requires a good balanced sound companion. I think if this film was silent it would be shit. The violin, and the way in which the animation seemingly reacts to the violin, makes for a nice harmony. It almost feels like the scans are audio waves that are being created by the violin.
I enlisted the help of a gifted violin player named Alicia Enstrom. She sent me a bunch of original music in a broad spectrum of styles and I thought this piece was not only a good Area 52 fit, but also displayed some serious violin skills.
After listening to the track a dozen times, I scanned several sets of movements and patterns that are meant to roughly match certain intensities in the song. All the while, running the flashlight along the scanner glass, or shaking the flashlight around, playing with different distances, etc.
With a little layering in After Effects (and some color grading), the results were pretty nice. I think this technique has some legs and am interested to try out flashlights of all sizes in the future.
Here is some finished art from the film:
Thanks for reading!