The Ghostly Woodworker
Just the other day, a Shop Talk Live listener by the name of “Tuck” wrote me, suggesting that I have a look at a woodworking video by furniture maker Frank Howarth. The stop motion animation, shot with a conventional digital SLR camera, shows the entire construction process for an outdoor chair of Howarth’s design. What makes this short film unique however, is the fact that not once in the entire piece, is a woodworker, or even a hand, seen in a shot. A pencil line magically appears on a board, a circular saw makes its way down a board for a smooth rip cut, heck, even the finish is applied by a phantom.
Howarth uses a Canon 5D slr set atop a tripod. A wireless shutter release is used to capture each frame. As he explains it in his subsequent behind-the-scenes video, the key here is never to touch the camera. The mere tapping of an index finger on the camera’s shutter release is enough to throw off an entire shot–thus the wireless, electronic release.
I cannot imagine how much time this 10-minute video took to produce but I’m certainly glad it was made. Here’s to ingenuity, artistic talent, and good old-fashioned woodworking chutzpah!
Building a Lawn Chair
The Making of the Lawn Chair Stop-Motion Animation
Frank Howarth shares his technique for producing what I’ve dubbed the “phantom woodworker.”