This amazing 8K timelapse takes us on a journey through the Panama Canal on a shipping container

Mar 21, 2022

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 8K timelapse takes us on a journey through the Panama Canal on a shipping container

Mar 21, 2022

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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The timelapse journeys of Jeffrey Tsang have fascinated me for a while. If you recognise the name, it might be because you’re already subscribed to him on YouTube, but long time readers may remember that we’ve featured Jeffrey here on DIYP before.

After a bit of an extended 18-month break from posting content, he’s come back this week with an update video on his shipping career since getting his captain’s license and what it means for the future of his channel, but he’s also dropped a very interesting 8K timelapse showing the entire route through the Panama canal.

The video begins with the ship anchored at the Gulf of Panama on the Pacific Ocean side, ready to head northbound once daylight comes. $2billion in tolls are collected annually in the Panama Canal, which acts as a shortcut between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. The journey takes us to the entrance of the canal, where three locks raise the ship up above the level of the Pacific and into a manmade lake, guided by a number of tiny but mighty tugboats to ensure the huge shipping containers don’t slam into the sides of the canal.

You can see in the video that multiple angles are covered simultaneously, covering periods of several hours each at a time, which adds up to a lot of footage. Jeffrey writes that he shot around 108,000 raw files in total and at around 45MB each, that equates to just under 4.9TB. In order to save space, he rendered the raw image sequences into ProRes 422 video footage and then deleted the originals.

One thing I did find particularly interesting about the video and something that had never even occurred to me before, is that the Captain doesn’t guide the ship for its entire run. Instead, a Canal Pilot is brought on board to control the ship for a part of the journey with the Captain and Officer of the Watch providing assistance as required. Once the ship is safely through to the other side, the Canal Pilot disembarks and the Captain once again takes command.

So as to not interrupt the music for those that just want to watch and listen, the whole timelapse film is enhanced by the captions. They’re packed full of interesting facts about the canal, the boat, its journey and some of the logistics involved in navigating through the Panama Canal. So, be sure to turn them on!

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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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