A Stunning time-lapse film of The Kelpies
Film is a stunning stop-motion film of Scotland's major new
cultural landmark:The KelpiesinThe
Helix, a new
park in the Falkirk area.
Created by the award-winning Edinburgh filmmaker, Walid Salhab,
this striking time-lapse/stop-motion film captures the four-month
construction phase of Andy Scott's Kelpies structures - the
centrepiece of the £43 million Helix land transformation project
between Falkirk and Grangemouth.
The 30 metre (100ft) high sculptures of two horses' heads, which
were completed in November last year, are the world's largest
equine sculptures and are expected to play a key role in The Helix
attracting an additional 350,000 visitors and adding around £1.5
million in additional annual tourism spend in the area.
Often dubbed 'Mr Kinetic', Walid Salhab, a media practice
lecturer at Queen Margaret University, captivated international
audiences with his spectacular portrayal of Edinburgh in winter
when he released Kinetic Edinburgh II. His suite of dynamic kinetic
films have been seen by millions of people via social media.
Contracted by the Helix to produce the film, Walid is the only
filmmaker to have had access to the complete build phase of the
momentous Kelpies structures - thereby visually documenting a
period in Scotland's history.
"The film is like a Persian carpet - stitched together by hand,
piece by piece, frame-by-frame."
Walid and his technical support partner, Bill Annau, spent
months on the construction site using a unique combination of
hand-held, slides, tracks and static cameras to capture the build.
1000 hours of filming and editing went into creating the final
seven minute film. Over 120,000 photos were taken with 12,000
making it into the final cut. The result is a fascinating
mechanical portrayal of the build phase followed by a mesmerising
and emotional portrayal of The Kelpies as complete artworks.
Walid explained: Shooting stop-motion/time-lapse photography
involves taking actual photos to create the illusion of movement,
rather than using film or video. It's a painstaking, complicated
process with a very low success rate, in that much of the footage
is discarded. The Kelpies are built in a very unique way. There are
no text books to refer to for shooting in this environment and we
therefore had to develop and apply a totally new filming
"One tiny clip - for example - the adding of the horse's jaw -
could take up to eight hours to film."
"What makes the film different from most time-lapses of new
buildings is the significant movement of the camera within the
construction site while the build was taking place. The building
team also had to accommodate the camera movements within their
assembly plans and we had a lot of health and safety issues to deal
with on a daily basis. One tiny clip - for example - the
adding of the horse's jaw - could take up to eight hours to
Walid continued: "The construction phase was the most
challenging to capture as there are no second chances. We
therefore had to double the amount of filming to cover any camera
failures. It was almost a 24- hour process with editing
necessary every night following filming to ensure that there were
no technical issues. If you didn't get it right, you couldn't go
back and film it again!"
One of the key elements of The Kelpies is their capacity to
reflect light. Walid explained: "Andy Scott has crafted beautiful
structures which reflect their environment. The second part of the
film celebrates the majestic nature of the completed Kelpies.
Kelpies are supposed to be 'shape-shifters'. These sculptures
do indeed have a mystical quality about them as well as a
tremendous capacity to reflect the sunset, clouds and moon. Their
position between Falkirk and Grangemouth often results in a very
distinctive backdrop of changing skies - enhancing their unique
Audiences will be surprised to learn that no special effects
have been used in the film. Walid said: "Absolute minimum colouring
is used. We wanted the final result to be as genuine as
possible to demonstrate the true reflective nature of the mental
structures. Ninety-five percent of the camera movement was
achieved by re-positioning the camera on a tripod manually - inch
by inch and foot by foot. The film is like a Persian carpet -
stitched together by hand, frame-by-frame."
Walid concluded: "I was privileged to have unlimited access to
these magnificent monuments. I've spent many amazing hours
during the daytime and in the dead of night trying to capture their
changing qualities. Filming The Kelpies has been the most difficult but
most rewarding experience of my life. I hope that the film
will now encourage other photographers, filmmakers and visitors
from all over the world to visit Falkirk and experience the
brilliance of Andy Scott's Kelpies."
Construction work on The Kelpies structures began in June, 2013
and has been undertaken by Yorkshire-based SH Structures. Each Kelpie
weighs 300 tonnes and contains 3,000 metres of steel tubing and
17,000 component parts. The steel was fabricated in
Yorkshire and transported to Falkirk where the seven-man SH Structures team painstakingly
pieced the structures together. Their accuracy on site was made
possible through painstakingly detailed planning off-site, using
sophisticated 3D modelling software.
Find out more about The Kelpies here: The
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