Filmmaker shot two DSLRs side-by-side for two years to make this amazing panoramic timelapse of LA

Oct 25, 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.

Filmmaker shot two DSLRs side-by-side for two years to make this amazing panoramic timelapse of LA

Oct 25, 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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There comes a point in a timelapse photographer’s journey that one wants to do something different. They want to try to push the techniques and their own abilities. To try to create something new and interesting. Many such experiments don’t work quite as we’d intended, but oftentimes, they can work extremely well.

The latter is the case for photographer and filmmaker Joe Capra. Joe’s constantly trying to take his work beyond the previous limits. You might remember some of his past work that we’ve featured, such as the 12K Timelapse shot on the Phase One IQ3. Now Joe’s back with a new timelapse of Los Angeles which was shot using a pair of Canon 5D Mark III bodies side-by-side on a custom rig.

Typically, one would shoot panoramic timelapses like these with a single camera using an ultrawide lens. Then you’d do some lens correction and chop off most of the top and bottom of your sequence. This can have issues, though. You lose a lot of resolution, and fixing the ultrawide distortion isn’t always perfect.

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Joe’s dual camera side-by-side rig allows him to mount the two cameras in such a way that he can get the wider view without the wide angle distortion. He gets around the wide angle distortion problem by using a pair of longer lenses. Having the cameras next to each other meant he could essentially offset them and extend the overall view.

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The camera on the left would shoot the right half of each image, and the camera on the right would shoot the left. These were then stitched together in post to create each panoramic frame.

While the equipment Joe used to make this film does total up to be quite a hefty price tag, it’s nothing out of the ordinary. In fact many of the photographers I know who shoot a 5D Mark III also have these same lenses. Admittedly, most of them only own one of each lens, though.

To synchronise the two cameras so that they would shoot simultaneously, Joe used a custom dual camera intervalometer.  Joe also used RamperPro to help smooth out some of the day to night transitions and flicker.

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The 5D Mark III shoots 22MP images with a resolution of 5760×3840. A pair of these side-by-side shooting as one essentially gives you timelapse footage that’s 10K wide and 4K high. This is a ridiculously high resolution, although Joe says that’s not the reason he shot this way. He simply wanted panoramic sequences with a look that only long lenses can provide.

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I think what’s most impressive for me in this setup is the motion control. Even with just a single camera it can be tricky. So, to do it with a rig containing two cameras must’ve been very challenging. To accomplish the camera movement, Joe used the Kessler Crane TLS with Second Shooter.

All the amazing timelapse films that have come out this year have really made me wish I’d gotten out to shoot more myself. Next year, it’s definitely going to be high on my list of photographic priorities.

What have you done with your own timelapse to help push yourself and your work? Have you created custom rigs or devices to assist you? Did they work? How were the results? Let us know what you think and show us your gadgets and work in the comments.

Behind the scenes & setup images Copyright Joe Capra and used with permission.

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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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One response to “Filmmaker shot two DSLRs side-by-side for two years to make this amazing panoramic timelapse of LA”

  1. Kai Dean Avatar
    Kai Dean

    Outstanding, bravo!