A PIONEERING film clip shot on the streets of Edinburgh has had more than a million hits in three weeks.
Kinetic Edinburgh II, directed by university lecturer Walid Salhab, is made up of unique footage of some of the Capital’s most iconic streets over the festive period.
The film, which has attracted fan mail and plaudits from all over the world, captures Princes Street Gardens, Portobello promenade and the lights of the carousel at Winter Wonderland as they have never been seen before.
Producing the clip helped Mr Salhab develop a new technique – a mix of time-lapse photography and stop-motion film incorporating live action – for his forthcoming short film, Avaritia.
Mr Salhab, 53, from Dean Village, who has already had a film premiered at Cannes, said: “I only uploaded Kinetic II on to YouTube a few days before and I had already received a few hits, but on Hogmanay the viewing counter suddenly went mad. I couldn’t believe that so many people were watching my footage.”
Shot over six weeks, Kinetic Edinburgh is made up of a minimum of 10,000 individual photos all pieced together to create the illusion of movement.
The new process does not need to use any equipment other than the camera itself and requires only a skilled eye to create the images.
Mr Salhab said: “In a time-lapse film the camera is put on a tripod and left to take photographs, but for this I moved the camera along a predetermined route.
“Every night for six weeks I went out and took photographs for three or four hours.
“There’s a trick to doing it which has been developed over the past six months and is improving all the time.”
Avaritia, which is set to be released this summer, tells the story of a money- obsessed banker who has been corrupted by the institutions he works for.
He is alone and continually searching for a companion to join him, and when he sees a chance to possess a woman and make her his own, things start to go awry.
Mr Salhab said: “Although stop-motion has been done many times before, this adds a completely new dimension in that although we are using actors the camera does not remain static and I can move with the actors and pan across the set.”
Each shot takes at least half an hour to complete and the longest shot in the trailer – in which the banker walks along Princes Street as day becomes night – took two-and-a-half hours in sub-zero temperatures for the one shot.
Mr Salhab, who lectures in media practice at Queen Margaret University, uses the research he does for his films to feed back into his lectures and help his students.
Along with his partners, Robert Welsh and Ros Campbell, Mr Salhab has already had a very successful past year with their short film Bra-et Al Rouh, which was premiered in May at the Cannes Marche du Film.
The film, which starred six-year-old Edinburgh schoolgirl Katherine Abuaglain, went on to win six awards worldwide, including Best Short Film and Best Actress.
The trailer for Avaritia is available on vimeo.com.
• Kinetic Edinburgh II can be seen here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jh3kcIDG434