Light Emitting Dudes – LED Freerunning

27 Nov

Light Emitting Dudes takes a team of freerunners, geared up from head to toe with LED lights, and sets them loose on the streets of Bangkok at night. With acrobatic grace we carved up the already buzzing night life spots while adding our own flair and colour to the mix.

 

Jason Paul, Shaun Wood, and Anan Anwar are a team of freerunners who’s homes are already quite far apart, coming from Frankfurt, Sydney, and Bangkok respectively.

With director Frank Sauer and Costume Designer Christina Zahra also having to fly in from Germany, getting everyone together to shoot this video was a challenge in itself. With no definite locations, pre-planned stunts, or even a working LED suit prototype, making the decision to fly to Thailand was a real leap of faith.

All we had was an idea in mind of what we wanted to create.

Frank had worked with Jason before in 2011 to create Dream World, which documented Jason’s journey to London to compete in the Art of Motion Freerunning competition. Since then they have been looking for another project to collaborate on together and get the rest Jason’s team involved.

Frank wanted to cover freerunning in a way that hadn’t been done before. Realizing that freerunning at night was something that hadn’t really been touch upon in any ground breaking way, he came up with the idea of incorporating LED’s into the concept.

One of the big challenges was putting together a suit that both looked cool, and was functional. Able to with stand the stresses of the high impact acrobatic stunts, while adequately lighting up the surroundings as we passed through them.

Luckily Christina, with a wealth of experience as a fashion designer, was there to help put it all together. Armed with a few morphsuits, some batteries, and a plethora of LED strips and duck tape, Christina really did a great job of fashioning together a Tron style LED suit on a shoe string budget.


Once the suits were ready, and we were tired of playing dress up in the apartment and scaring the cat, it was time for the team to hit the streets. This turned out to be a whole new bag of worms.

Apparently walking around the streets looking like creepy Neo S and M Power Rangers attracts some unwanted attention, making gorilla style shooting particularly difficult to say the least. And the traffic police didn’t take our presence at busy intersections light heartedly either.

Go figure.

The mix of dangerous stunts and extreme drowsiness from all night shooting really tested our resolve to finish the video. The mechanical maintenance was also a constant hindrance. The suits needed to be disassembled from time to time so batteries could be recharged and damaged LED strips could be unthreaded and replaced.

The schedule being what it was meant that the suits never really had time to air, so we had the mild stench of mens-locker-room on us all the time. The low light conditions presented its own challenges for shooting, but did provide an opportunity to experiment with long exposure to create beautiful light stroke shots.

Having so many obstacles to overcome made getting a shot right even more rewarding. For two weeks we were out every night collecting shots and enjoying the confused look on peoples face when we walked by. Oddly enough the cool factor of looking like a general bad ass never wore off.

I think a lot big kids dream of dressing up like superheroes and leaping about the city. That’s one thing I can cross off my bucket list. We had a great time and came away with something we could be proud of. In the end, it’s always worth it to try and create something new and unique the way only YOU can.

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