Get your popcorn ready…
The long awaited premiere of the Pineapple Project is finally here!
Over two months of continuous Time-Lapse Digital Cinema Filming went in to this 4K edit. All timelapse image acquisition was done using a GoPro Hero 4 Camera with Vivitar close-up filters. Lighting was achieved using off the shelf 5000º and color (Green & Blue) LED lamps.
GoPro cameras will not focus on close objects under 24″ or so, but by using the Vivitar close-up filters, I was able to get in tight on the subject.
The editing was done on my newly built supercomputer in 4K resolution using Adobe Premiere Pro CC.
Some behind the scenes images & production notes.
The project was shot in the greenhouse right behind my studio. Filming began on August 15th 2020 when I first noticed that the pineapple was producing a flower. I had recently been experimenting with a Hydroponic system and used the General Hydroponics® nutrients to help all my other plants and the pineapple to grow.
The Pineapple plant had been growing for many years and was originally started by cutting the top off of a store bought pineapple and water rooting it until it got established enough to plant into a 5 gallon container with good draining mulch & soil.
The GoPro Hero 4 with C200 Aluminium case has a 37mm thread fitting over the lens and with a 37-58mm adapter, I was able to place the Vivitar 58mm Close-Up Filters on the camera to get the focus inside of the normal 24 inch range limitation. When stacking multiple filters, some vignetting occurred because of the super wide angle lens that is stock on the GoPro cameras. I was able to reduce this effect by resizing the raster in post production and zooming in just a bit with little degradation to image quality.
When I first began shooting, I realized that I would need lighting during the night to be able to maintain shooting 24 hour a day and keep a contiguous image stream for the edit. I quickly set up an LED light with a 5000º K color temperature to match my daylight exposures. Then to spice things up just a bit more, I introduced some color to the background by using two 15 Watt PAR38 LEDs of Blue & Green. This made the night portion of the shooting more visually interesting.
After the first week of filming while checking my dailies, I notice that I had a real insect issue going on in the greenhouse during the night scenes. At first I was very annoyed. I wanted to keep things organic in there and not use pesticides, so I just went with it. The bugs began to add an element to the edit as things progressed they became supporting characters in the production.
It was amazing to see what new critters would show up each night of filming and then figure out how to best use them in the edit.
The project began to take shape after the first month of filming. I had chosen the music by Stingray called “The Nude Party” because I thought it had a really good surfer vibe and would be fun to edit to the beat, with plenty of nice breaks for scene changes.
Also, in my mind surfing and pineapple somehow go together.
As the project progressed, I was able to plan out my next scene with the right cinematic dynamics trying desperately not to duplicate previous shots. Turns out there are only so many ways to shoot a pineapple. Plus I was limited to only the one camera for each sequence and only one focal length. I decided that in order to break out of that restriction, I’d have to sacrifice some resolution and crop into the image area to provided some variety in the edit. By enhancing the sharpness in these cropped images I think turned out pretty okay. Once I had broken free of maintaining full resolution, adding tracking, panning & zoom into most scenes gave it more motion along with the illusion of the pineapple growing larger by zooming in slightly on each shot.
So the only thing left was an ending. Not wanting to wait another two months for Pauline Pineapple to reach full maturity, I decided to finish up the project with a stunt double and purchased Paul Pineapple at the local Smart & Final.
Besides, if I screwed up the cut I could just get another one and try again. Honestly, I was tired of filming and needed my camera for other projects.
This whole thing started as a “Let’s see what happens” test of long duration time-lapse capabilities and something to do during the Covid-19 pandemic lockdown.
So, that’s about it. Hope everyone enjoys this little flick. I had some fun and learned a thing or two on the journey.
©2020 Eric James Swearingen