Information on the making of Tran Scan widescreen DVD 2003


Tail credits: 

A film composed and performed by Stephen Arthur. 

Sound by Xenos. 

TRAN SCAN is a handmade film constructed frame by frame. 

No motion-picture camera of any kind was used in the making of this film.

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Each shot covers about 10 kilometers (6 miles).

Time-lapse speed is about 5,700 km/h (3,550 mph).

Interval between snapshots is about 5 seconds.

Playback rate is 10 snapshots per second.

There are 5,000 snapshots.

Driving distance was 7,200 km (4,480 miles).

The drive took 14 days (no retakes).

Total creation time was 4,450 person-hours.

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Created in Adobe After Effects 5.  Made in Vancouver.

Shot with a Minolta Dimage 7i at 2560 x 1920 pixels.

Reanimation of cropped traveling-telephoto still photographs is beyond the capacity of automated tracking/stabilization software and was performed entirely by hand in order to make Tran Scan.

Because of the extreme labor required to make a film like this, Tran Scan is likely to remain the only one of its kind -- a unique style of animated documentary available only for Canada. [picture]

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Director Stephen Arthur has a Master of Fine Arts degree in Film Production from the University of Southern California.  He directed the National Film Board of Canada production Transfigured.  

Stephen Arthur --  interview Feb. 27, 2004:     "I made Tran Scan in such a laborious way because there seemed to be no better way for me to make a film like this.  It had to be shot in very high resolution and then cropped down to DVD size, in order to create the telescopic, super-telephoto, squashed perspective and the apparent slowing down of the 6,000 km/h time-lapse speed.  In order to then track a background point from frame to frame through the extremely unstable framing, it made little difference whether I shot it with a still camera or a 35mm movie camera.  My budget could handle a high-resolution digital still camera, especially since it went straight to digital, where the whole film was created as a handmade effect in Adobe After Effects. The film is made from 5000 sequential photos (10 fps) from a two week trip with no retakes, and took over 4,000 person-hours to make the film, about 18 months full time altogether, at a true cost of over $105,000 for eight minutes of screen time. I'm generally known as an experimental animator, but that term seems to be the kiss of death for reaching a market, so I try to emphasize that it is in fact an animated documentary."

For further information see:

PDF document: The original proposal for the production grant
(what was supposed to happen)

PDF document: Final report to the Canada Council
(what actually happened)

BONUS "SECRET": The distant foghorn heard in the opening and closing is playing the first four notes of "O Canada" (the national anthem).  The continuous synchronized sound track is also playing these same intervals.

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