JEFF DESOM’S AWESOME “REAR WINDOW” REMIX

Over the weekend, I stumbled across Luxembourg-based filmmaker Jeff Desom’s incredible Rear Window timelapse remix, which is shortlisted for the upcoming Vimeo Awards (although it just got pulled from Vimeo, presumably because of rights issues.) However, for the time being, it’s still on YouTube, and I’ve embedded it below for your enjoyment.

Desom’s remix is not only technically brilliant, but also winningly playful; part of its genius is that Desom shows you how he’s constructing the world seen from James Stewart’s window in Rear Window before he begins the action.

Here’s an extract from an interview with Desom on One Small Window in which he discusses his process:

How did the Rear Window project come into being?
The project was commissioned by a Luxembourg venue which has this extremely wide screen above their bar. They let me do whatever I wanted as long as it would loop seamlessly and cover the entire width. I immediately thought about doing some sort of panorama. When looking for a scene my mind kept floating around the buildings in Rear Window. I always loved the art direction in that film. You just wish you could have hung around the studio lot at the time. Eventually I was overwhelmed by the urge to see what the set must have looked like as a whole.

How many times did you have to watch the movie before you began building this version of it?
I watched the film probably one more time before I did a quick mashup to see if that way of assembling would work at all. And thanks to Hitchcock’s uncompromising vision, it did.

From what I understand, you worked primarily with Photoshop and After Effects on this film, was there no 3D set building at all?
There is some very basic 3D in After Effects. The camera isn’t moving much so I was able to mask out the different depth planes. A very crude way of doing it.

How long did this project take, and how many people worked on the project?
There was just me and six weeks.

When I try and make something new, I am sometimes daunted by the amount of work required. Did those thoughts ever cross your mind as you were developing this project? Were there any false starts or did you just barrel on through?
The idea seemed simple enough to fool myself into believing I’d be finished by the end of two weeks. The basic structure was done in a day.

Once I had that, only an archeologist who had just unearthed the skeleton of a long extinct species could have understood my excitement. But I was dissecting and reassembling a feature film here. A tyrannosaurus rex! I ended up with about an hour worth of clips. Played simultaneously and in the chronology of the film, the whole thing still lasts for about 20 minutes. By then I was way too deep into it.