Spotlight 1 - a street photography video / by Ed Walker

For a very long time I’ve had an idea for a video based on my street photography. When I shoot I always listen to music, often electronic, so the streets have their own soundtrack.  

When you watch street photography videos online they are usually made by two people, a street photographer and someone following them shooting the action. I didn’t want to do this because I shoot alone and also I wanted the video from my point of view.

I started experimenting late last year but found it technically difficult because of the shaky movement you get when you walk. I tried to clip a Go Pro to my bag and hold it tight with my left hand while I shoot with my right but it got in the way, it was simply too much to think about. What I needed was a system I could completely forget about. I went looking for something that would keep the camera steady but I could strap to myself and film without getting in the way of my stills camera.

Eventually I discovered the Feiyu Tech FY-WG 3-Axis Wearable Gimbal which I bought and promptly bricked trying to update the firmware. After returning it to China and getting it fixed I bought a chest strap and started walking the streets with it.

The difference between filming with it and without it is night and day. While it certainly isn’t perfect it lets me shoot without worrying about the footage I’m going to get. It’s a pretty fragile piece of kit and is easily sent into a tail spin but for the price it does the job beautifully.

Editing was very much trial and error. In early trails my edits were far too long. I wanted to evoke the busy sprawling chaos of Midtown. Fast cuts set to music allowed me to cherry pick the moments when something interesting happened and unusual people came into view. Initially when I cut to the photograph I held it for much longer. Cyndi suggested that they should be shorter and also cut back to the person walking past me. This not only gave the image context but it allowed you to see their reaction as they left the frame.

I’m very happy with the result. It’s exactly as I imagined when I came up with the idea over two years ago in London. It’s a great addition to my Spotlight series and I hope it gives people an insight into what I’m doing and how I capture my images.

You can see Spotlight here