Posts tagged special olympics

Art Brightens Our World

The first thing that happens when we arrive at Yang Cheng Wei’s home is he presents us with cookies, little plastic wrapped ones. He is courteous to a fault, in spite, perhaps, of his shyness. His mother smiles with pride. Their living room is decorated with art books, pens and photos. A vast Gongbi style scroll leans half complete against the window.

“When he was little, he was so sweet, everyone loved him,” she tells us. But when, by the age of three, he still couldn’t speak, she began to realise something might be wrong. He was taken to the Shanghai Mental Health Center, where he was diagnosed with autism. “We were devastated,” she continues.

Autism is a neurodevelopmental intellectual disability which, along with other Autism Spectrum Disorders, affects roughly 2% of the global population. Whilst symptoms can vary from individual to individual, it typically manifests as inhibited communication skills (both verbal and non-verbal), leading to difficulty in perceived normative social interactions. This can lead to difficulties in education and employment, with many autistics unable to live completely independently in adulthood. However, our understanding of ASDs is constantly expanding. Today, some argue that these conditions should be seen as differences, rather than disorders, and that society should adapt to better accommodate autism.

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This is the thinking behind the Special Olympics, our reason for visiting Weiwei. The organisation was founded in 1968 by Eunice Shriver, sister of President John F. Kennedy, who noticed a lack of sporting opportunities for children with intellectual disabilities. Today, it operates in 170 countries, providing a constructive program to build skills, confidence and opportunity for 4.5 million children and young people. The organisation has brought together global policymakers and influencers in it’s campaign to end the ‘cycle of poverty and exclusion’ on people with intellectual disabilities.

We’ve been working with the Special Olympics since 2007, when the games came to Shanghai for the first time, but didn’t see Weiwei out on the track. In fact, he has forged his own path with support from his mum. The artbooks and paintings around the room? All his work.

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“When they found out he couldn’t talk, no kindergarten would take him.” Then, his mum explains, one headmaster noticed he could draw, ‘…extremely well for his age.’ Weiwei has been painting ever since. He is particularly fond of Gongbi, a realist style based on intricate lines or ‘boundaries’ and dating to the Han dynasty. His work has caught national attention. A profile in Youth Daily was followed by exhibitions at Shanghai Contemporary Art Theater, Liu Haisu Museum and the prestigious Rockbund. He has donated a piece to Special Olympics for a fundraising auction.

Weiwei’s mum shows us the family photo album where she keeps his newspaper clippings and show programs alongside pictures he painted as a young child. “If he hadn’t studied painting, his quality of life would be very different now. He is proud to be himself,” she says.

“Art brightens our world.”

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You can watch our video profile on Weiwei by visiting LP Film’s official Vimeo channel.

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A Lapsed History of Time

A quiet few weeks at LP Films? Far from it…just nothing we can talk about right now (keep your eyes on our blog, wechat and Facebook though). There’s plenty of running around, with multiple crews running on some days. We’ve seen the team on shoots down in Guangdong and more recently Macau, where we soaked up some good fortune under the warm glow of the casinos. Meanwhile, back at the office our pre-production team has been working tirelessly on new creative content for clients, whilst the post-production team has been polishing off some stellar commercial shoots. And all this to the sound of pop sensation Selina Gomez, who is a recent favorite of at least one British staff member…

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…but which Brit?

Today we’re getting ready to rig one of our infamous Black Boxes…which just happen to be yellow. This is one of the many systems we’ve developed over the years to help us shoot timelapse footage. We’re getting it ready today for a 4 day shoot, but we’ve previously used it for one which lasted several months.

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Black Box modeled by Nate Wang

Timelapse is the familiar process speeding up time on film. Traditionally, film is shot at 24 frames per second, which mimics human vision. Time lapse film runs much slower – maybe one frame per second, one per minute or one per hour. When played back at 24 frames per second, it can condense days, weeks or even years into a matter of minutes. The process is believed to have first appeared in cinema in 1987 in Georges Méliès Carrefour de l’Opéra (one of his many ‘lost films’) Since then, it has become common in everything from film (like Godfrey Reggio’s Qatsi trilogy) to nature documentary (like BBC’s Planet Earth) to commercials.

Head of Post-Production Nate Wang loves the timelapsed opening sequence of Lost In Hong Kong 港囧 (Xu Zheng, 2015), which he describes as, “a beautifully ambitious collision of day and night told through great editing.” Creative Planner Matthew Baren loves the motion timelapse in Requiem For A Dream (Darren Aronofsky, 2000) which captures its drug-addicted lead character frantically cleaning her apartment and utterly lost, whilst cinematographer Andrej Iliev prefers the simplicity of a flower blooming at the end of Adaptation. (Spike Jonze, 2002)

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end scene from Adaptation. (2002)

How do we use it here at LP Films? We’ve built a reputation for delivering high-quality timelapse sequences. We are able to handle a variety of technical requirements, through capture, processing and delivery. But we also believe in finding the best solution creatively. For some shoots, this means rigging fixed systems like the Black Box, which is designed to endure all kinds of weather for long periods without compromising the shot. We’ve also worked with shorter motion timelapses, with a crew moving the camera slowly over a short distance.

Screen Shot 2016-05-26 at 17.43.48Special Olympics hyperlapse (2007)

We are also fans of hyperlapse. Similar to motion timelapse, this involves moving the camera whilst the timelapse is taking place, but over a much longer distance. We first used this technique back in 2007 as part of our legacy documentary for Special Olympics. The shot traveled around Shanghai Stadium and took four hours to complete. Whilst stabilisation was initially an issue, the final result was spectacular. We’ve since used hyperlapse on a number of projects, including our Shanghai Expo 2010 film.

Check out our portfolio, or take a look at our hyperlapse trailer for a taste of what we’ve shot.

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