Choros: A Hypnotic Short Film Featuring Single Dancer with 32 “Visual Echoes”

“Choros” is a beautiful experimental film by Michael Langan and dancer Terah Maher. It features a single dancer layered 32 times, which each layer slightly offset in time from the previous one. The “visual echo” technique turns a single woman into a “chorus of women,” and transform the dance from single movements into waves of motion. The 13-minute video is set to the song Music for 18 Musicians by Steve Reich.

Langan is building on the work of famous pioneers in the history of photography, including Eadweard Muybridge and Etienne-Jules Mare. The technique is a variation of what’s known as chronophotography, which captures movement in numerous frames.




In the late nineteenth century, a photographic technique called “chronophotography” began to develop, whereby multiple photographs would be taken in rapid succession to study the movement of a given subject. Eadweard Muybridge famously filmed a horse in motion in 1878, providing the world with its first taste of motion pictures when the images were displayed on a spinning zoetrope.

Several years later, the French physicist Etienne-Jules Marey developed a stunning variation of this technique when he captured multiple poses of a subject over time onto a single frame of film, rendering a kind of visual echo. The nature of this process limited the subject matter to that which could be photographed in a black studio using stark lighting, to prevent overexposure of the background when multiple images are layered over one another.

[…] “Choros” revisits these technical innovations and attempts to contribute original innovations of its own. Using recent advancements in digital compositing, the technique developed for “Choros” introduces color, frees the film from the confines of a black studio, and allows the dancer to linger in one position without risk of overexposure, resulting in a variation of this historical technique that allows a degree of subtlety heretofore prohibited by technical limitations. [#]

You can learn more about this film on its dedicated webpage.

(via Colossal)

  • Richard Horsfield

    It is an interesting effect – I would have preferred it without the orange lights personally.
    I can’t help but feel that I have seen similar work before though…

  • Bart Noll

    yeah, without the orange light and work on the pacing

  • Mark Dub

    I agree with the orange lights as well (tho the fire effect was pretty cool on her feet).. But that has to be the coolest damn thing I have ever seen!

  • David Gagnon

    I like this movie so much! You could try OverCam for iPhone/iPad, it is doing similar effect, and you can take a picture of your subject!

  • Willy56

    The lights were quite distracting, I thought, and totaly unneeded. Yes, you’ve seen similar work before – going back a long way. Check YouTube for “Pas de deux” by Norman McLaren. For my money, his work is less technique and more art. The repetition isn’t endless (which got old quickly), but varied in pace and degree. Also, don’t forget that McLaren used not a single pixel – his was done on film! (WELL worth the time watching. This…good, but more craft than art. IMHO, of course.)

  • N V

    STUNNING! Sad so many criticise. Instead of pulling the work apart …put your balls on the line, make something and post it here.

  • Jim Macias

    Far out, man.

  • Jim Macias

    The video is to private.