Have you ever wanted to see what L.B. Jefferies (played by Jimmy Stewart) saw happening outside the courtyard all at once instead of through various shots in Alfred Hitchcock’s “Rear Window”? Well, short film director Jeff Desom created an interesting take on the 1954 Oscar-nominated film by cleverly piecing together a time-lapse video of what he envisions the entire Greenwhich Village courtyard looks like from the view of Jefferies’ apartment.
What made “Rear Window” such a classic Hitchcock film was its cinema prowess and its take on the act of watching others. Hitchcock chose to shoot the film by using one angle through Jefferies’ rear window. Desom dissected individual shots and connected them into one panorama shot of the entire courtyard.
“I dissected all of Hitchcock’s ‘Rear Window’ and stitched it back together in After Effects. I stabilized all the shots with camera movement in them. Since everything was filmed from pretty much the same angle I was able to match them into a single panoramic view of the entire backyard without any greater distortions. The order of events stays true to the movie’s plot,” Desom said on his website.
Desom also revealed that he used just basic editing software such as After Effects and Photoshop to condense a two-hour feature film into a short film.
This time-lapse video is actually a “making of”/preview and there’s an full installation entitled “Rear Window loop” that runs 20-minutes long (on a loop) that shows all the events that happen in “Rear Window” into one single shot and at the same speed seen in the film. However, as of now, the 20-minute video is not online.
This “making of” video looks phenomenal and makes you think how far technology has gone by transforming a masterpiece into today’s film world. Desom provides a never-before-seen perspective of this classic film and I am still amazed after watching this video at how Desom details all of the events that happen during those couple of days and nights in each building in chronological order into one shot.
The only problem that some (including myself) have noticed is that with the footage of Grace Kelly’s Lisa Fremont entering Raymond Burr’s Lars Thorwald apartment, we don’t feel the suspense of watching Jefferies’ painful reaction when Lisa is caught by Thorwald that we get in Hitchcock’s film. However, the video does make me want to watch “Rear Window” again to get that reaction and compare Desom’s short film to Hitchcock’s masterpiece.