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Matinee: 'Christmas Lights in Gyor' Share This on LinkedIn   Share This on Google   Tweet This   Forward This

22 December 2018

Saturday matinees long ago let us escape from the ordinary world to the island of the Swiss Family Robinson or the mutinous decks of the Bounty. Why not, we thought, escape the usual fare here with Saturday matinees of our favorite photography films?

So we're pleased to present the 181st in our series of Saturday matinees today: Christmas Lights in .

This two-and-a-half minute nighttime tour of the Christmas decorations in Győr in northwest Hungary by Ádám Boros would be just the thing with a warm cup of egg nog corrected with brandy and finished with a dash of cinnamon on top after. You know, after all the shopping and decorating have been done for the day.

But that's not the only reason we like it.

The first reason is that it's shot with a Panasonic GX85 (using a Panasonic 25mm f1.7 lens and Feiyu Tech A1000 gimbal, according to Boros' notes). That 16-Mp Micro Four Thirds camera can be had for under $500 these days.

The GX85 supports recording UHD 4K video at 30p or 24p frames rates and can record HD 1080p/60 as well.

Years ago when digicams and pocket-sized video recorders were fighting it out, we recall talking to a Kodak product manager who promised "convergence was coming" between the two.

It not only arrived a few years ago but, especially in Micro Four Thirds, seems to have hit just the right balance.

By the old standards of digicam video, this clip is remarkable for its rendering of these night scenes. Yes, the highlights are blown but, you know, the idea isn't to take photos of bulbs. It's to capture the scene.

And in that regard we are graciously not distracted by any noise in the shadows as scan the building walls as they recede in darkness down a block and the shiny pavement stones follow them.

The other reason we like this clip is that it illustrates an approach we've been seeing for a while now we'd refer to as the video slide show.

These aren't stills. They are video clips where both the camera and the people in the scene may move. The audio is never live but sets a mood. The important thing is capturing the scene with the barest hint of movement.

They aren't stills but they might be. They show just a minimum of motion. A pan or zoom. Perhaps someone getting into a sleigh.

Compare Boros' clip to Raphael Vangelis' Last Day before Christmas from three years ago:

"It's the last day before Christmas Eve in a very small town," Vangelis introduces the 30-second clip. But unlike Győr, it's an imaginary town where the people are all small figurines set in holiday scenes.

There's only camera movement, of course, with a very shallow depth of field (and some snow effects probably added in post production).

These aren't stills either but again, they might be.

And taken together they say something about the holiday season that is partly a world we imagine like Vagnelis has and partly one we create in the real world like Boros has captured. Something about the fun of it, the challenge, the reason it remains so dear to so many of any age.

Which calls for another warm mug of that egg nog, we think.

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