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A Tribute to Frank Sinatra | The Legend Brought to Life Using The Parallax Effect

By Michael Henson on December 15th 2015

Old Blue Eyes

There are few names, voices, or faces that evoke the feeling of an era like Frank Sinatra. As a soloist and member of the legendary Rat Pack, Sinatra’s songs have inspired and wooed generations. In honor of his contributions to music and what would have been his 100th birthday, Universal Music had Basti Hansen, filmmaker and photographer, create a short movie using the Parallax photo effect to promote a release featuring some of Sinatra’s greatest hits.

Easy enough, right?

Well, if you planned to just throw some old photos into a video with a soundtrack, yes. If you are an established filmmaker always looking for an opportunity to grow? That wouldn’t do at all!

Basti was given creative freedom and a set of 30 high-res scans from medium format film. Rather than simply showing the photographs, he decided to immerse the viewer in the atmosphere and environment the old photographs contained through the use of the Parallax photo effect.


What is a Parallax Photo?

If you have never seen the Parallax photo effect before (you probably have, you just didn’t know what it was called), it is a process that helps to bring a still photograph to life. In short, a photo is separated into layers, composited in an application like Adobe After Effects to make the layers look three dimensional, and animated by subtly moving the camera through the scene.

This process is time consuming, but for archival footage or special projects, it certainly adds a level of interaction that the viewer doesn’t typically get from a photograph.



The result is well worth the effort and Basti’s video is a definite upgrade to the static photos that Sinatra fans have been viewing, or are at least familiar with, for years. To experience them fully, take a couple moments to enjoy this video:

For more insight into the Parallax photo process, check out this quick interview with Basti over on DIY Photography. To check out more of Basti’s work, visit his website and Instagram page.

Via DIY Photography and Basti Hansen.

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Michael Henson is a St. Louis based photographer obsessed with everything creative. His photography interests span genres from still life to sports. When he’s not running around with his face to the camera or behind a keyboard writing, you can typically find a guitar in his hands or catch him out enjoying life with his family and friends.

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Q&A Discussions

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  1. Dave Haynie

    Nice… one of the effects usually grouped as “The Ken Burns Effect”. Not that Burns invented this, or the simpler pans and zooms, but that’s where I first picked up these ideas.

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  2. Kenneth Hoegh

    Great effect when used right and subtle (don’t animate to much) But I don’t really like that the dust particles are on a seperate layer, it’s too distracting for my eyes to see the dust dancing around like that. I just think that’s too much :)

    Other than that really like it and of cource the pictures.

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    • Michael Henson

      Kenneth, I agree. I get what he was trying to accomplish, but the dust layer isn’t realistic enough to really pull it off. Still, very cool effect!

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  3. David Hall

    love the effect.

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  5. Jordan Buckway

    Cool effect, and you can never go wrong with the Chairman.

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