Creating a Time Lapse Moving Image

When it comes to creating a time lapse piece there are many factors that need careful consideration. It is not as simple as putting the camera on a tripod and taking a few shots. If you think of when it is played back for it to being smooth and not jerking then (depending on what country you are in) you need to have 24 or 25 frames per second, anything else will appear too bumpy. So if you consider a 12 second play back time then this will require around 300 shots.

Taking night shots of the stars can also give its own set of problems. Taking into consideration of exposure time at say 25—30 seconds per shot, then the camera would have to be taking shots for around 3 hours (including processing time in-between each shot) for a 10—12 seconds of play back. Now at the time of starting your time-lapse shoot you would have had a beautiful clear night with plenty of starts to see, but this could quite easily change after an hour with cloud moving in and totally ruining your plans. So to get a clear night you may have to do this on several visits, so be prepared and be patient. Try and avoid light pollution. If you live in a large city with lots of buildings and street lights etc., then it is going to be difficult to get a clear shot.

In the case of “Celestial—Time-lapse over New Zealand” it was shot over 4 days with several sunsets with plenty of clouds to reflect the setting sun. I always shoot in RAW so I am able to manipulate the images in post, but as you can image this will need plenty of disk space both on your camera and computer. Also when setting up your camera remember to have everything set on manual (ISO, WB, Focus, Aperture, Speed) otherwise if left on auto there will be too much flickering when it is played back as the camera has taking individual exposures at different rates.

After taking the shots several hours are spent in post production on image manipulation, editing, sound and fancy title graphics. As a typographer and designer I tend to ponder on these things and get them just the way I want, which means I spend more hours than I really should. In the case of Celestial this meant creating my own typeface and editing it in Illustrator and then After Effects and applying transitions to give it the effect of a neon light flickering when it is turn on (there is no plug in or easy fix for this, just hard work). This few seconds of opening sequence was getting on for about 6—8 hours of production time.

Software used
Adobe Illustrator
After Effects
LT Timelapse
Launchpad (iPad sound ap)


App designing for designers #mosomelt



One of the easiest App building software I have come across is called Beacondo and can be found at and the good news its free, well to a certain level. I have started using this for experimenting with ibeacons for activating content at various locations, and although the majority of Apps building software is centred round retail (this is especially evident when viewing the tutorials) it is easily adaptable for other content, as I have found.

So what you will need.

You will need Xcode, which is free to download from the Apple App store. The newer version of Xcode (7.3.1) is about 11GB in size and also requires and update install of OS El Captain (10.11.3), so be prepared to wait for these installs, as they are quite large.

When you visit the beacondo website there are two files that need downloading ( The ‘Designer v2.0’ file and the ‘SDK v2.0’ file. Once you have done all this you can start to have some fun designing your own App. There is also some very good tutorial content on their site and can been found at (

What I have found especially good with this software is that you can instantly see what your App will look like using a pre selected iPhone model. You may need to do some image manipulation in photoshop to find the right size for your image, depending on the phone model you are using.

Have we really moved on since OHP? #mosomelt

Have we really moved on since OHP?How we teach in class and use side presentation software.

Many educators use slide presentation software such as PowerPoint and Keynote to deliver material for their lectures. These presentations maybe fine as short presentations lasting about 15 minutes for conferences and sales pitches, but when it comes to teaching a class full of students for anything up to 2 hours they are far from effective. (Have you ever wondered why students stop coming to your lectures?) There needs to be more interaction inside the lecture theatre otherwise what is the student gaining from being there, they might as well watch the recorded lecture on-line from their bedroom.

The use of charts, diagrams and fancy zoom transitions isn’t enough to keep the attention of the student. And while I’m on the subject, the use of transitions such as type flying coming in like a swam of bees is just not doing it, and should be well left alone.

Remember KISS (keep it simple stupid). So if you do feel the need to present in this way just keep it simple and have more interaction with your students.

Cracks of Time: #mosomelt

An exploration of typography in signage and its relationship to rememberence and experience.

Chicago |  David Lewis Sinfield



Eroding signage has proven to be a powerful metaphor in storytelling. F. Scott Fitzgerald used it evocatively in The Great Gatsby (1925). In his novel, destiny (or God) metaphorically watched the world’s moral erosion through the bespectacled eyes of Doctor T. J. Eckleburg. These stared out from a fading advertising billboard situated in the valley of ashes. The eroding sign is an evocative image. It may be seen as a marker of an original purpose (advertising), but also a marker of time. It not only signifies place (Clark & Bell, 1994), memorial and social class (Sinfield, 2013), but it also becomes woven with our personal narratives of place.


These narratives Olney suggests, provide “contexts and patterns through which we can read, understand, re-realize, and transmit our experience” (1998, p.315). Billings (2009, p.2) argues that objects like billboards “do not simply exist in a crude material sense but rather live out complex self-perceived narratives”.

Recently as the 1980s storefronts, murals, banners, barn signs, billboards, and even street signs were all hand-lettered with brush and paint (Levine & Macon, 2012). But, like many skilled trades, the sign industry has been quicker and cheaper technological ‘solutions’. The skill and artistic brushstrokes of the sign writer carried not only unique approaches to design but also expressed richly evocative reflections on time. Many of these hand written commercial signs have not been retouched in years. They now constitute a now anachronistic voice of the sign writer whose brushes, rulers and gilding equipment have faded from the industry (Sinfield, 2013).

The irregularities of once fashionable typefaces do not have the impeccable currency of a modern digital font, with its perfect tolerance and genericised application. Painted advertising often seen on the side of buildings sometimes more than four stories high has now become pieces of flaking fragments. They allude to an erosion of time and craft. In cities like London and New York there has been a growing trend to document these fast disappearing works (Cox, 2014; Jump, 2011). This is because these signs tell stories of a city’s past that weave together unique histories, cultures, environments, commerce, places and people from a complex composite social narrative. Paintings incorporating words and phrases were popularized by artists such as Ed Rucher (1970). His representations of Hollywood logos, stylized gas stations, and archetypal landscapes distilled the imagery of popular culture into a language of cinematic and typographical codes that became as accessible as they were profound. His sentences and phrases evoked an American vernacular, and drew attention to a particular experience, or recalled the excesses of Hollywood culture. More recently, artists like Jay Shells (2013) have engaged in textual poaching of current street signs. He transforms these into Hip Hop quotes from songs that mention specific places. He then re-posts the signs in their mentioned locations as a means of engaging in a form of vernacular discourse.


Heavily eroded street signs from what is now called the most toxic town in America (Picher Oklahoma) have been documented by photographer Chris Brewer (2013). These signs provide an evocative commentary on the damaging toxicity of industrial environments. Brewer’s work builds upon a growing corpus of photographic material that examines surfaces in decaying built environments (RomanyWG, 2012; Van Loo, 2011). Investigations have also been made into the impact of meteorological damage on public signage. Significant among these is Tom Varisco’s (2008) Signs of New Orleans. This photographic portfolio documents signage and its context following the devastation wrought by hurricane Katrina in 2005.

Yamaha XV750 café/bobber/tracker #mosomelt


New Zealand 2016 |  David Lewis Sinfield
Yamaha XV750 café/bobber/tracker
It all started with buying motorcycle fuel tanks and airbrushing them just as a hobby. In the commercial world of digital graphic design, we seem to be drawn back to the tactile way of making and producing things; it’s a kind of ying and yang from mind to hand. That has led to this, my first build – and most certainly not my last.
I wanted to keep this relatively simple and clean. It’s pretty much stock, with a few new twists such as the single seat, stainless steel exhaust and rear to front wheel conversion. This was a total strip down and rebuild with every nut, bolt and screw replaced as I wanted it to be like a new bike.
I wanted to stay in control and to do all the work myself from welding, fabricating, electrics, painting the tank and upholstering the seat. It’s the Kiwi way. Everything you see on this bike has been designed and made by me, although the rear to front wheel conversion was bought online. In a commercial world I know this makes no sense, but for a project builder like me it challenges and pushes you to the limits, and at the end of the day you can look back and be proud of what you have produced.

A palimpsest narrative of Camden

IMG_4902ISlip streetPeckwater council flats, Islip Street, Kentish Town North London. This is the playing area outside of the flats where I was born.

The photographic records shown in this chapter were taken in July 2014 during a ten-day period when I returned to the United Kingdom. They document the world in which I grew up, played and worked. Although some of these areas have been gentrified over the years, there are locations that remain the same. Old hand painted street signs can still be seen if you know where to look. The landscape of memory I retrace here maybe seen as a kind of palimpsest and the decaying typographic signs (be it commercial, civic or graffiti) are the substrate of a British working class childhood. They operate not only as signifiers of social space, but also as catalysis’s for memory.

I grew up in London during the late 1960s and early 1970s. I lived in streets that still bore the scars of the Second World War. After more than two decades since the bombing that decimated parts of the city there had been little government investment in working class areas like those in which my childhood unfurled. In more prosperous middle class areas I passed on weekend excursions I saw the effects of re-generation. Damaged structures were razed, buildings repaired and systems put in place that turned the anguish of loss into leafy roads and comfortable reminders of urban regeneration. Class was marked by the postcode where you lived and by the buildings that surrounded you.

IMG_4895Many of the street signs dating back to the mid to late fifties were hand painted and have not stood the eroded forces of weather and environment. Today, they function almost as typographical ghosts, bearing the semblance of a remembered state, now grown pale and incomplete with the passing of time. Peckwater Street is the street where I was born in 1961.


In my world there were derelict places unsuitable for living, where we played. They were bombsites. The buildings eroded as time and adverse weather bore down on them. We were oblivious of the dangers of unexploded bombs and walls that could collapse on us, although stories of such events punctuated our childhoods. We knew we were not supposed to play in these places, but the walls and enclosures were haunted by a thousand possibilities. In the decay and rubble our imaginations ran wild. We played hide and seek and war games in empty corridors and vacant rooms. These buildings were not fenced off or controlled by roaming security guards. There were too many and the costs of repair were low on the government’s priorities. Small, official signs warning “Danger! Keep Out” became our invitations to adventure. We broke the law by entering, but there was adventure here that played out in the presence of neglect, imagination and loss.


IMG_4847The walk way next to the Grand Union Canal Camden road.

Gradually, in some working class neighbourhoods London was being regenerated. These were the first signs of the high-rise tenement blocks developed under the Wilson government. They were towering concrete boxes and a new, state solution for ‘modern living’. Devoid of mystery they held only the present, they had no histories, no hauntings of the past and they were destined to become a failed social experiment. When I think back, I realise that we were lucky that the part of London where we lived bordered the wealthy area of Highgate. Because of this, where I lived was not submitted to the high-rise concrete towers that infected the views of other suburbs.

These decades were tough on working class families. My father was abusive and my elder siblings left home. My brother lived on the streets and my sister fled into marriage. When I was seven, my mother could take no more, so she grabbed what she could carry and she and I went to live at my aunt’s. We had nowhere else to go. My aunt’s house was small so we all slept in one room on the floor. We lived like this for eighteen months until my mother finally managed to secure a council flat of her own. We lived on the ground floor of a five-story block with a shared, central playing area in Prince of Wales Road.

The Nature of Labour
When I left school, my first job was as a labourer working on a building site in Camden Road, North London. Here I renovated Georgian and Victorian houses that had either been partly damaged by the war or invaded by nature after years of vacancy. These were not the concrete monoliths of British modernism. They held the residue of past lives. The peeling wallpaper, discarded artefacts and fragments of personality were reminders of something ephemeral. Their decaying delicacy was pitched against the brutality of work.

IMG_4932(kentish town rd)The abandoned shops of Kentish Town. Examples of palimpsteic typography can been seen on the eroded facias of buildings. These combined with more recent political typographic commentary operate as a kind of contested social dialogue.

On the building sites in the UK at this time, there was a hierarchy and labourers were at the lowest level. As a bricklayer’s labourer I mixed sand and cement with a hopper but more often this was done by hand with a shovel. I carried the bricks in a hod  up four flights of stairs (there were no lifts, hard hats or health and safety procedures at this time). Lugging buckets of muck seemed endless. When it showered I kept working, despite the lime in the cement working its way to the surface and burning my hands. There was nothing that you could do, plasters or gloves didn’t protect you. You just hoped for a strong downpour that might stop the bricklayers working so you would have a small break to wash the lime from the open wounds. In winter you mixed sand and cement in the snow, sleet, and freezing winds. This was not the glorious image of a rebuild profiled on the media. There was nothing heroic about labour. I had left school with few qualifications so for a working class kid there were few alternative careers opportunities. I thought this was my lot. Growing up and playing in vacated buildings and later working in them, has resulted in me being drawn back to unoccupied sites of damage and labour. Such places haunt me because they fuse my narratives of experience with a sense of enigma, respect and mystery. When I enter such structures today, I sense lives that were once there. I walk in silence through emptied spaces not wishing to disturb them. The poetics of loss and labour are almost tangible. These are embodied sites. As a designer I try to talk about such connections.

IMG_4970 Alma streetA distinctive example of a hand painted street sign from North London. The sign has been re painted at some point as the original wording can be seen beneath a layer of undercoat that has peeled away. Such signs are palimpsestic, because they carry references to periods of time, including in this case two separate interventions in red; one indicating the borough, and an earlier one showing the district code. This lettering reveals the effects of photo fugitive colour. I would suggest that the original sign contained the Borough of St Pancras as a blank. To this the street and district code would have been added in hand, by a sign writer. Over time the lettering of the street name faded and was reapplied. However the district code (NW5) has not been re painted. This accounts for the differing levels of typographic decay on the sign. It is likely that the lettering on the Borough of St Pancras has not decayed because the original red pigment was of a higher quality and less prone to photo fugitively.


When I was nineteen I had a chance meeting with my art teacher from high school and I told her what I was doing as a job. She was disappointed to hear that I hadn’t pursued a career in the arts and told me that I should apply to university and study graphic design. This was a totally alien concept, as working classes of the time did not enter into careers such as these, and they certainly didn’t pursue higher education. Boys like me were destined to have manual careers and trades. She helped me to assemble a portfolio and apply for a place at the London College of Printing. I was accepted onto the graphic and typographic design course. I was the first person in my family to go to university. I was ecstatic, and my mother was very proud.

When I entered the course I encountered the world of typography.  I learned the conventions of leading,  kerning  and letterform construction. I was taught that type should be about arrangement in order to make the language it forms appealing yet transparent.  But I also began to wonder about the visceral and poetic potentials of type. Perhaps this is because my induction into graphic design occurred in the early eighties when everything was hand produced.

This afforded a slower way of working. Calculating and casting-off  type and hand producing the lettering onto finished designs made me appreciate type structure and arrangement. I learned about the physical ‘feel’ of type. I manipulated it by hand. I felt its weight and its behaviour when printed onto paper from pieces of metal type arranged in a chase.  This physicality unfolded in a studio space of labour where men and women worked together. This dynamic has been formative in how I understand typography. Its physical nature reminds me of it temporality but also of its lived social and physical contexts. The surfaces it appears on, and disappears from, the people it speaks to, and for, and its potential for clarity and enigma are as much part of its meaning as its conventions of construction.