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How to Create a Carnival of Light Art

In the making-of for APigeon’s “Polyday” music video, co-directors Patrick Rochon and Pierre Tremblay talk about painting with light through time.
Images courtesy the artists

A vital ingredient of three-dimensionality is time. Light painters regularly play with time by shooting the movement of light through 3D space with cameras set to extremely slow shutter speeds. In the music video for Canadian musician APigeon’s track “Polyday,” light painter Patrick Rochon and his co-director Pierre Tremblay craft a hypnotic, psychedelic light show. But this isn’t your garden variety light art—shot in APigeon’s apartment, full of both her tchotchkes and set-dressed props, the video features the songstress moving through the gloomy space of her apartment, where she and various objects run through a warped sense of spacetime.


In conjunction with the music video, which you can now watch above, APigeon (a.k.a., Annie Sama) premieres the making-of video with The Creators Project, which shows the directors at work on the lighting, and art director Thomas Csano creating the set design. Rochon and Tremblay talk about the concept of the video, and the details that went into the effort.

Rochon, who has been light painting for 24 years, tells The Creators Project that his goal with “Polyday” was to translate light painting into video, leaving his photography mindset behind. “Time is a creative element and we play with various aspects of it by disordering the captured linearity,” Rochon says.

“Light is a powerful, fascinating, and very malleable element,” adds Tremblay. “With the proper tools and techniques you can shape it to your will; it can be diffused, reflected, focused through lenses, projected, or colored. It can be moving or static, extremely soft or surgically sharp. Light creates moods—it reveals, it hides, it shocks, or it soothes.”

Rochon says the idea behind “Polyday” was to do something intimate directly in APigeon’s world, using décor and surroundings as they were. “This way we took off a load on the production side by utilizing what was already there and had more energy to put into the creative aspect,” he explains. “Without a narrative story, we linked the mood and the feeling of the song with the visuals, which resulted in a creative and artistic experience.”


For “Polyday,” Rochon and Tremblay used light as if it were water. Tremblay likens the light effects to the effect produced when a rock is thrown into a lake and ripples radiate outward, marking the spot where the rock once was.

“The ripples also mark the passage of time, like a social media post being broadcast online, the waves spread the news of the event over the surface of the water,” Tremblay says. “The same principle applies in ’Polyday’: as Annie moves, she leaves traces of light of where she was, or where she will be, or both. The visual impact of her presence is reflected simultaneously in the past and the future, in symbiosis with the mood of her music.”

Rochon says that the team didn’t follow any established music video format. They created instinctively, without any control or leaders, and everyone’s input was integrated, and all of the lighting was handmade.

“We used powerful torches and the light painting tools Liteblades—no stands, no fixed lighting, all in motion by hand,” Rochon says. “Pierre and I edited together on two stations back to back for weeks, I did all light cumulations and effects and Pierre cut all the materials to the music.”

The results of this handmade, instinctive approach, combined with the dim space of APigeon’s home, results in something simultaneously familiar yet otherworldly. More than that, all of the collective work yields a far from typical style of light painting.


 Check out the making of "Polyday" below:

APigeon - Making Of Polyday from APigeon on Vimeo.

Click here to see more of Patrick Rochon's work, and here to see Pierre Tremblay’s work.


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