Education Blog

Time Twister Experiment: Viewing & Doing

By Brandon Shenkman, Education Program Manager 03.18.20

Experiments are short activities designed with room for… well… experimentation! Get introduced to a new concept through a compelling short, then bend it to your will as you create a vision uniquely your own.

Experiment: Time Twister 

In this experiment we’ll watch an astounding short by Israeli artist Messe Kopp and create our own illusions by reversing video.

Viewing:

Forward [2.55 min. dir. Messe Kopp. 2013]

Film is truly flexible. Whether you slow down your cousin's super sweet cannonball, or speed up your sister so she sounds like a chipmunk, it can be twisted, turned, and even reversed to magical effect. Before we learn to control time, let's check out the short film Forward, by Isreali artist Messe Kopp.

  • What moments stood out to you? Why?
  • Go back and watch your favorite moment again. How do you think Messe did that?

The magic in this film is created by reversing video. By taking a normal boring action, like tossing a deck of cards on the ground, and reversing it, Messe causes those cards to be summoned mystically upward, forming a complete deck in his hand. He has created a moment that viewers immediately realize shouldn't exist. Forward doesn't have a central story, choosing instead to focus on creating these small moments that appear impossible.

There are two other techniques Messe uses to heighten his backward magic. First, he uses what is known as a long take. The entirety of Forward is only one shot, it never breaks or cuts. This is a technique many magicians use on television to convince the audience the magic is real and that there is no off-camera trickery taking place.

Second, Messe chooses to have many other people in Forward. By having other people moving "backward" (they were really moving forward normally when he shot it) Messe emphasizes that he alone is the one with this crazy power. Plus, it just looks really cool. Now it's your turn to control time.

Doing:

We will be creating our own magical long take in the style of the short film Forward.

Materials:

  • Camera enabled device (phone, tablet, computer)
  • Reverse Vid (iphone/ipad) or other app that lets you reverse video
  • Props (hats, scarfs, clothes, paper airplanes, pets, people, anything you want!)
  • Imagination

Directions:

  1. Download and install an app that lets you reverse video. We recommend Reverse Vid for iphones and ipads.
  2. Experiment with reversing video. Gather a number of props (hats, scarfs, clothes, paper airplanes, pets, people, anything you want!) and create short 5 second videos to get a sense of how they look and move when reversed.
  3. Choose the props you enjoyed the most, at least 3, and plan out a 20 - 60 second backward long take that utilizes all of them! There should be no cuts in your recording. Try and find a small moment in your video to showcase each prop, just like Messe did.
  4. Save your backward videos and share them with friends and family. Post it on social media and tag us at #JBFCkids Instagram: jbfc_pville Twitter: jbfc_ny