new filmmaker Gavin Heffernan: Sunchaser Star Trails


the new filmmaker: What’s the story of your film?

Gavin Heffernan: Long exposure (25 second) timelapse photography of Star Trails across the night skies of Joshua Tree National Park and Big Bear Lake in California. Creates an ethereal painterly effect that shows off the wonder of our planet and the stars in the sky galaxy above us.

the new filmmaker: What inspired you?

Gavin Heffernan: There’s a lot of inspiring work from the community at Vimeo that inspires me to push farther and try new techniques. I saw the “Starstax” technique used on a timelapse of the ISS (Space Station) and that really got my curious about the technique. As for the shooting, my team and I look for areas with the least amount of light pollution — in order to get the clearest possible trails. We’re blessed to live in California, where a number of these locations aren’t too far away.

the new filmmaker: What equipment do you shoot with?

Gavin Heffernan: Used Canon 5D & 7D, with a 24mm/1.4 lens and a 28mm/1.8. Two Intervalometers. Final Cut. Quicktime and StarStax.

the new filmmaker: Film school or learning by doing?

Gavin Heffernan: Both. I’m a graduate of The American Film Institute, but also self-taught through short films, features, and timelapse work.

the new filmmaker: Which filmmaker had the greatest influence your style?

Gavin Heffernan: For these timelapse/experimental projects specifically, I’d say Godfrey Reggio for KOYAANISQATSI etc. I was amazed and inspired by his ability to evoke a narrative out of traditionally non-narrative footage. I always try to strive for that with my timelapse stuff — no matter how abstract the shots may seem. It’s a great exercise to sharpen narrative skills, and I think it leads to a more engaging viewing experience.

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