Laser Challenge #12: Bokeh Shape Filters- 05.08.13
This post is part of the NOTlabs Laser Challenge: Shawn and I are alternating days with executing and sharing a Laser Cutter involved experiment! And most importantly - we’re supposed to have fun, explore ideas, and it’s less about a fully formed product/concept at the end of the day, but more about seeing where the experiment takes us!
Laser Challenge #12 was inspired by Bokeh Shape Filter Kits which you can buy (but never fit my primary lens which has larger wide angle) and DIY versions. Bokeh means blurred in Japanese, and it’s used to describe the out of focused lights in your dark/night shots. By placing one of these filters on your lens (essentially a black disk with a shape cut out in the center) you can change the shape of those light blurs! There’s something fun about playing with a process so analog and instantaneous in a world where its so easy to photoshop everything… it’s almost magical to see what light shapes appear through the viewfinder.
And since i was chatting with Rich of Diesel Sweeties while testing out shape ideas… we were inspired to try one of his red robots! … as well as jumping sheep and a gear/burst! Ultimately, the robots were our favorite as we tested it out taking pictures in santa monica of the pier, pch traffic, the intersections and more! They also work fantastically for video… the mesmerizing robots that emerge from every light we drove by as they danced to the music makes it tempting to choreograph a music video light show or sorts, or a light driven stop motion animation… but perhaps that’s a project for another night? Check out our driving video experiments as well as some fun photo effects we discovered while playing with the Bokeh shapes on the next page!
p.s. If you have ideas, or want some laser cutting done, or want to play with us… feel free to use the contact form or leave a comment! And if you’re curious about the laser cutter we’re using, here’s the unboxing.
First ~ the video of the robots around Santa Monica…
(random coincidence that the song on the radio said “fear the robots” at about 30 seconds!)
Here are the three shapes we tried - jumping sheep, a sun burst gear, and robot!
Basically you just slip the disc in the front of the lens (ours fits inside the lip of the UV filter perfectly), and even through the viewfinder you can manually focus the blurry lights to turn into the shape!
I love the idea of turning stars and streetlights into sheep you count as you head into this dreamworld of a light show…
The gear/bursts look like little suns popping up allover… this is looking down on PCH traffic… you can see the headlights in pairs…
… a busy intersection
… car waiting at the stop light
… robots at random lights!
… Santa Monica Pier! From afar the lights and even the ferris wheel turn into a stream of robots!
… another fun look at the traffic on PCH