Electronic musician Drew Lustman, a.k.a. FaltyDL, recently dropped his latest record The Crystal Cowboy (Planet Mu), an exploration of the spacier, jazzier, and more emotive sides of jungle and techno. For the track “Wolves,” which takes its time hypnotically tumbling over and over in its shoegaze-meets-techno beauty, Lustman enlisted the Ontario-based digital media artist and director Lee Skinner to deliver an equally hypnotic video.
What looks like a mere fisheye lens effect in the opening frames turns into a camera tumbling effect, the rhythm of which matches Lustman's flickering synth sounds. Skinner slows the tumbling here and there, creating a mirror effect in the process, before accelerating the tumbling until it almost looks like the psychedelic slit scan effects Douglas Trumbull created for the "Star Gate" sequence in 2001: A Space Odyssey.
Skinner, who also works in projection mapping, told The Creators Project that the video exploits a glitch in most modern digital video cameras—the distortion caused by rolling shutter:
“Rolling shutter describes how modern CMOS sensor chips scan each frame progressively, from top to bottom. It's the same technology that causes wobbly Jell-O like artifacting of your shaky cell phone videos,” Skinner said. “For this music video, a motorized rig was built to spin a camera on its x-axis, so that it tumbles backward. Using a voltage dimmer, the motor is brought up to just the right speed so that each frame is scanned in the time that it takes to do a full revolution around.”
“This causes a 360-degree view to be compressed vertically into the frame and stabilized there,” he added. “The effect is completely in-camera with no post-production necessary. It presents a critique of the medium itself, accomplished by pushing contemporary video to its limits.”