BENGALURU: There’s no doubt about the popularity of Fort Kochi among tourists from around the world. For Kottayam-native Shebin Sebastian, capturing the true soul of the spot involved elaborate story telling, a seamless journey through its streets, culminating at the Cochin Carnival. An editor in Malayalam film industry, he managed to do this with 8,000 photos, creating India’s first flow motion video.
Flow motion is a technique in which many photos are composited together to present it like a video. Sebastian took around six days to shoot these photos and one month for the post-production. “Flow motion is a combination of timelapse, hyperlapse and stop motion,” says Sebastian. Though the flow motion technique is unfamiliar to Indians, Sebastian’s video got great appreciation from Hollywood technicians. His video was shared by Behind The Scenes, an Instagram page followed by renowned cinematographers. “Gabriel Beristain, cinematographer of upcoming Marvel movie Black Widow put the video as his Instagram story. Cinematographer Littil Swayamp messaged me too and his words were really encouraging,” says Sebastian.
He was inspired by BAFTA-winning filmmaker Rob Whitworth’s work, who he says, has made “the world’s first flow motion video on Dubai.” Adds Sebastian, “He is a Facebook friend, and I ended up discussing my idea with him. He gave me some valuable tips.” He adds that compositing is more important than shooting for a flow motion video. He captured Fort Kochi on a Sony Alpha A9 camera. Having tried mobile phone photography before, he tried hyperlapse on a friend’s camera once.
During a workshop of Sony company, he was then introduced to their marketing team by fashion photographer Biju of Picture Cafe. “I pitched them the flow motion idea. I also opened up about my experience in photography and showed Rob’s video to give them an idea of my project. Surprisingly, they gave me a green signal,” adds Sebastian.
He waited till 2019 Cochin Carnival to begin shooting. “Fort Kochi is very colourful and easy to shoot. It has a mix of various cultures. The buildings of Mattanchery differ from those in Fort Kochi. I spent a whole day travelling around and made a proper script before shooting.” Though the post-production took around a month, he says that the shooting and the compositing works were easy.
“I had to walk around the entire place and shoot continuously. It was smooth as people didn’t have any idea what I was doing. Also, I was confident of masking any flaws during compositing. Sound of the people and carnival was recorded on my mobile and sound effects were used while editing,” says Sebastian, who worked as an associate editor in movies like Kohinoor and Ente Ummante Peru.