For “Strobe” director Adam Berg, wanted to recreate movement without gravity, hindrances or boundaries. Inspired by the work of 19th-century photographer Edward Muybridge he set out to do this with stuntmen wearing LED suits, suspended from tall buildings across the skyline of Kuala Lumpur, lighting them up in sequence as the camera rolled to give the impression of a single shimmering figure traversing the nightscape of the Malaysian capital.
In fact, dozens of stuntmen and acrobats took part in creating the illusion. Using complex rigging and in-camera effects the “illuminated man” appears to vault from rooftop to rooftop, dance across billboards, cartwheel through an empty office and even dive into a high-rise swimming pool.
The ‘Lightmen’ were positioned on the rooftops of some of the tallest buildings in the Malaysian capital, dressed in custom-made LED suits. These were linked to a purpose-built computer system controlling each LED’s strobe pattern, one by one, creating a breathtaking display of illuminated figures seemingly flying above the city.
James working on the LED electronics in LK.
The LED suits were designed by costume designer Vin Burnham and consisted of 7 layers: a base layer, a layer of LEDs, 4 layers for light diffusion, and an outer black silk layer. Each suit contained 1680 LED lights. The LED boards were flooded with epoxy, making them waterproof, a key consideration because some of the LED men are submerged in a swimming pool at one point.
Adam Wright commissioned James O’Connor from Amati.com to developed a custom wireless computer system using DMX software to control the light on the suits, allowing the crew to remotely control and monitor each suit individually and light them up sequentially even when the stuntmen were suspended in mid-air.
Behind the scenes shorts:
And the resulting TV spot: