This amazing San Francisco 4K timelapse took three years to complete

Aug 10, 2016

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

This amazing San Francisco 4K timelapse took three years to complete

Aug 10, 2016

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

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paradise_ii

In November 2013, filmmaker Matthew Maniego presented us with a great timelapse of San Francisco called Paradise x SF. Since that time, he’s been working on a sequel. It’s finally here, and some of the scenes are just breathtaking.

Paradise x SF 2 has a very different feel to its predecessor. The music is calmer, the scenes more relaxed, and this time it’s been rendered in 4K for some stunning detail. Matthew spoke with DIYP and gave us some information on how it came together.

YouTube video

Three years is a long time to put into anything. Many timelapse photographers, though, are used to long term projects. When you’re speeding up time, sequences that play back in just a few seconds may take an entire day to record.

With remote locations that are miles apart, travel time must be taken into account. If you want consistency between shots, you’re also very dependent upon the weather. You can easily see how that time quickly adds up, especially when you have real life to contend with, too.

Matthew told DIYP that he used relatively little equipment for the project. He used two cameras, a Canon 5D Mark III and a Sony A7S-II. He kept his lens selection equally as trim with Canon 16-35mm f/2.8L ll50mm f/1.2 L and 70-200mm f/4 L lenses.

Where Matthew didn’t skimp was on camera movement. All else being equal, moving the camera while shooting is what makes the best stand out. Of course, being able to move the camera isn’t enough on its own. One must also be able to move it well.

For this, Matthew used the Dynamic Perception Stage One motorized slider, along with the Emotimo TB3 3-axis motion control camera robot. He certainly used them to great effect. Some of the footage was even licensed for use in the Super Bowl in February.

paradise_ii_clouds

Matthew tells us that the timelapse, which lasts a little over 2 minutes, involved shooting over 100,000 photographs, a little more than 1.5TB of storage space.

This is one of the problems shooting timelapse. Until you can actually get it back onto your computer it’s difficult to predict exactly how it will play back. So, while your video may only end up being a few thousand frames, you might have to shoot tens of thousands of images to have enough consistent variety to choose from.

It took around six weeks in total to work on the footage. In Lightroom, the files were processed with LRTimelapse. Colour and grade applied with the help of VSCO presets. Adobe Premiere Pro was Matthew’s editor of choice for the final video.

The transitions between shots are very interesting. They have sort of a hyperlapse type feel to move you from one location to another. I’ve admired this technique for a while. One of these days, I’ll even give it a try myself.

The transitions in the original were very different, a little more jarring, but it fit with the music. Well, I say music, it’s Coldplay. If you missed the original Paradise x SF, check it out below. As you can see, it has a very different feel to his latest one.

https://vimeo.com/79962786

Thank you, Matthew, for sharing some insight with us on how it was made. I look forward to seeing what else he produces in the future, and I hope we don’t have to wait another three years for the next one.

So, which do you guys prefer? The original or the new and improved Paradise x SF 2? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

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John Aldred

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

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6 responses to “This amazing San Francisco 4K timelapse took three years to complete”

  1. Sean Avatar
    Sean

    And you don’t like Coldplay?

  2. Jim Avatar
    Jim

    stupid and pathetic commentary about Coldplay -.- disliking the video because of primitivism

    1. mattmaniego Avatar
      mattmaniego

      It was posted 3 years ago, so I guess its relatively primitive LoL

  3. Jeremy Christopher Avatar
    Jeremy Christopher

    All I can say is next time… Redcam. It’ll be much easier. And although the images are amazing, it’s a farce to say this took 3 years to shoot, especially if you rectify the statement by saying it wasn’t actually 3 years.

    1. mattmaniego Avatar
      mattmaniego

      Hey, Matt Maniego here. It was an accumulation of time lapses over the past 3 years. But you’re right, in actual time, we can compress that time frame down.