Capturing Hyper-Timelapses, Graffiti Art and Music Videos with Selina Miles

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Ever since aerosol cans made spray paint a household name in the early 1970s, the debate over graffiti art has been heated. Some people consider the alternative art form vandalism; a disgrace unworthy of a mention in the same context as “true” modern art forms. Others call it the single most important movement of our time. I can tell you one thing is for certain – no matter how you feel about graffiti, Selina Miles‘  way of capturing it on film is stunning, beautiful and flat-out entertaining to watch.

The 26 year-old director from Australia is making an international name for herself using unique hyper-lapses to capture the work of some of the best graffiti artists in the world at work. If you haven’t seen her newest video, “Limitless” featuring Sofles, please check it out and don’t miss our exclusive interview with the up-and-coming artist below!

Selina Miles

First of all, for our readers who haven’t heard your name just yet, who are you, what do you do and where are you from?

I’m a 26 year old director from Brisbane, Australia. I shoot music video and document graffiti, I work for Australian spray paint brand Ironlak.

You’ve been in the news several times over the last year for your amazing time-lapses, specifically hyper-lapses. What is it that draws you to those super labor intensive, longer projects?

I am interested in exploring techniques that manipulate time, space and light, and show that which can’t be seen with the eye. Shooting hyperlapse really is very laborious and painful, but the result is fun to watch so it’s definitely worth it.

Take us through your latest video “Limitless” – how long did it take you?  Did you shoot with a crew? And it didn’t look like there were a lot of windows in that warehouse, what did you do for lighting?

“Limitless” is a 5 minute film featuring a combination of stop-motion and hyperlapse techniques, documenting the process of 4 artists as they take over a huge abandoned warehouse space.

This film is actually a sequel to another video entitled “Infinite” that I shot during a holiday in Portugal earlier this year. Sofles and I had seen some success with “Infinite,” it was really well received within the graffiti community but didn’t go much further. We knew we wanted to make another video, with bigger and better artwork and production.

We brought some more artists on board, Fintan Magee who is making quite a name for himself both as a gallery artist and a street artist, and Treas and Quench from a more traditional graffiti background.

I didn’t have a crew, there’s really not much that a crew could do, it’s really a one-person production. I think many people are baffled as to how I achieved the smooth camera motion. It wasn’t a motion track of any kind. I shot the whole project on my Canon 6D using a cheap tripod and a 3-wheel dolly. The intro was shot on a Sony FS700. There were large skylight-type windows throughout the roof of the building, the weather was quite bad when we were shooting so I just had to adjust my exposure accordingly and then smooth everything out in post.

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Tell us about Sofles. How did you meet and what’s it like to work with him?

Sofles is the moniker of the artist who features in both videos. He is my dear friend and collaborator of the past 6 years, and could be described as one of the best graffiti writers in the world right now. He’s a rare combination of unbelievable, prodigious technical ability and relentless work ethic. He has worked as a tattoo artist, a gallery artist, he designs for brands of all sorts, but all he really cares about is graffiti. I think that shows in the video.

You work with musicians, graffiti artist, etc – For someone who is just starting out, what are the keys to working well with different artists and making a shoot fun?

It’s all about communication. Be aware of how you approach people- Don’t say “Do you have any work for me?,” instead of asking for things try to offer things “Would you mind if I come shoot you?” “Is there any way I can help with your project?” And remember that people are just people at the end of the day, however nervous or uncomfortable you feel, they will feel worse when the camera is pointed at them. And be organized, so you’re not stressed, because if you’re stressed your whole crew will vibe on that.

Where do you go for inspiration?

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I think the most effective way to stay inspired is to keep moving always, either through travel or through always pushing ideas forward and not getting stuck on one thing for too long. I vibe off other people, if I am surrounded by people who work hard and are creative, I feel more energized and more inspired. They say you are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with, and I really believe this.

What would you have liked to do if you weren’t a videographer?

Rise Invite A5I studied Dietetics for a few years, I wanted to work with Doctors without Borders. Maybe I can revisit that one day!

What projects do you have on the horizon/what should keep an eye out for?

I’m currently in the US covering Art Basel in Miami for Ironlak, and then heading to Christchurch, NZ for Rise Festival, which is a really exciting project. (on the right)

How about your work in general? Where can we find out more?

The best place to keep up with me is on Instagram (selinamiles)


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Topher Kelly is a San Francisco-based freelance writer and editor at CreativeLive. Follow Topher on Twitter@Topher_LIVE.