Still photography captures a single perspective, slowing it down, infinitely, allowing us a microscopic view of the moment. Film and video record entire events, and they heighten our perception when these events are sped up or slowed by timelapse. Imagine a sky with clouds flowing like ocean waves, a thunderstorm sweeping across a city like a dust broom, or the single stroke of a Hummingbirds’ wings. As Einstein pointed out, time is relative. Perhaps the Earth is perpetually dizzy and the hummingbird is relaxing as she drinks from a flower.
When I was shooting Super 8 film as a teenager, I experimented with time-lapse photography. At summer camp, I thought it would be a good idea to film a sunrise. That morning, while the rest of the camp slept in their bunks, I stood on a hillside, in the morning mist, shivering and clicking off frame after frame, and wishing the sun would hurry the #%^! up. Back home that winter, I set up my camera, aiming it through a window to our back yard and my parents’ garden. Faithfully I clicked off two frames every day until the next summer. Then, for some reason, I never developed the roll. I had become distracted. My parents were in the process of a divorce, and I was about to graduate high school and go off to college. Time was moving too fast.
Recently, I’ve been inspired me to give timelapse another try. Stock media services have become big business online, and are a great source of ideas and inspiration. In the stock media world, timelapse is king. HD video is common now, (with automatic cameras, yea!) and videographers are capturing amazing cityscapes and natural vistas like never before. I’ve begun building my own portfolio of stock footage and images to use in music videos. Here’s a recent clip. From my friends’ office overlooking downtown Oakland, the camera faces west toward San Francisco for a busy 24 hours.