A few months ago, I introduced a little hobby project I dubbed CaleidioClouds. It’s not a particularly advanced technique, but the result belies the simplicity of the technique. Essentially, it involves flipping images upside down and back-to-front to create a symmetrical timelapse video. The symmetry is one thing, what I hadn’t realised when I started playing with this was that the resulting videos are completely mesmerising.
And with this tutorial, you’ll learn how to make your own!
What excites me most about photography is that you are able to explore parts of the world things you couldn’t see before. With high-speed photography, for example, you can freeze motion and explore what happens in a fraction of a second. With long exposures, you can turn motion into flowing, smooth movements. And with timelapse, by shooting a frame every few seconds, you are essentially shooting with the lowest frames-per-second cinematic camera ever.
Exploring the boundaries of what happens when you start looking for patterns resulted in some interesting effects when I was playing with some cloud timelapses in Final Cut Pro. I was moving and flipping some of the images around. And hey presto, CaleidioClouds was born…
How is it done?
Step 1 – Shoot a ton of interesting timelapses :-)
Step 2 – Resize your video clip in your favourite video editor to 50%, and align it to the top right corner of the frame. That becomes your ‘normal’ video.
Step 3 – Copy your clip, and this time, change the scale of your clip to negative 50% across the Y axis. This flips the image upside down, and you can move it down to the bottom right.
Step 4 – Copy the clip you just made, this time with both the Y and X axes scaled to negative 50% (upside down and leftside right). Move it to the bottom left.
Step 5 – The final step is to create the top left image. Copy the first clip, and scale the X axis to negative 50%.
… And you’re done! But, as I’m realising reading the above, it sounds terribly complicated. It isn’t, promise, and here’s a video tutorial to prove it:
What else can you use this technique for?
Well, if you’re feeling particularly ambitious, take a look at Michael Shainblum’s Mirror Cities video. Absolutely astonishing effect created by using techniques much like the one described above, and some seriously awesome timelapse skills…