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Video: London Timelapse Montage

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London Timelapse Montage from Anatoleya on Vimeo.

I usually make stopmotion videos, but thought I would take a break and make a one-off timelapse video. Here it is.

All the footage was taken over a three week period in November 2011, except for the first two daytime scenes of St Paul’s Cathedral and the Millennium bridge at the beginning which were taken near the end of October 2011, and the rotation scene at Oxford Circus halfway through the video which was taken as part of another project earlier in the year for Minimood Records.

N.B. I used a lot of the same footage for a commercial project for Ki Records: http://youtu.be/016uZ1V5jIs
I uploaded that at 2896×1936 resolution.
EQUIPMENT: a Canon 5D Mark II [with a Canon f/1.4 50mm and a f/1.4 24mm lens], and an Olympus EPL3 [with a Panasonic Lumix 20mm f/1.7 pancake lens], and a basic tripod.

SOFTWARE: I turned the image sequences into videos and applied the transitions in After Effects [details below].

I’m not normally a fan of timelapse videos, but there are a lot of scenes in London I wanted to include in a stopmotion video but couldn’t find a way of connecting them together – the only way to do that was by a timelapse montage.

Initially I uploaded a simple version with all the clips joined together, but that seemed lazy and boring, so I redid it with transitions between most of the clips. I tried to zoom into areas in one clip that were similar to areas in another clip, so by zooming and panning in and then zooming out into another clip the transitions look more fluid. As the photos were taken at 4080×2720 on the 5D2 and 4032×2272 on the EPL3 this meant that for most scenes enough detail was there for me to zoom in a lot. Although in some scenes you’ll see a bit of noise as I zoomed in over 2,000% some times. I didn’t get the zoom/panning idea until after I had taken all the footage. If I had thought of it beforehand then I would’ve recorded it all at full 21MP [5616×3744 res] on the 5D2. Oh well. For other transitions I used the BCC [Boris Continuum Complete] swish transition and the BCC blur transition. Another method was by overlaying the ends of two clips and adjusting the opacity of each so they fade into each other.

One scene near the beginning of the video is stopmotion rather than timelapsing – across the Millennium Bridge. I did that with an EPL3. I attached the cam to a tripod and held it way above my head in continuous shot mode using a cable release and just walked incredibly slowly. I had to hold it high above my head because at normal level it looked too choppy with so many people bustling passed. I got a few strange looks doing that, but the effect was worth it I think.

Vimeo has a resolution limit, but I’ve uploaded the video at the original resolution on youtube, which is 4080×2720: http://youtu.be/gd4qPMORosI So those with a good internet connection can view it in 4k quality. That version has a different [and admittedly rather weird] piano piece I also made.

I also uploaded the same version [with the same piano piece] as this one on youtube at 2k [2048×1365 res]: http://youtu.be/gq9HkGzcdgA

N.B. The video has a 3:2 scale because the Canon 5D2 takes photos with a 3:2 scale and most of the footage was taken with a 5D2. I cropped the Olympus EPL3 footage to fit this.

All the daytime footage at the beginning was taken on an EPL3 in diorama mode for a mild tilt-shift effect [continuous shooting with a release cable]. The night scenes were mostly taken with a 5D2, mostly using a Canon f/1.4 50mm prime lens. I didn’t acquire the 24mm f/1.4 lens until near the end. I wanted longer exposures for traffic light trails, so the shutter mostly ranged between 1-2 secs.

A lot of photos that made this video are in my Flickr Canon 5D2 album: http://flic.kr/s/aHsjwKsL21 and my Olympus EPL3 album: http://flic.kr/s/aHsjwokphK , though comparing the video with the flickr photos I see a bit of quality’s been lost in the editing process.

I made several different piano pieces to go with the video [plugged my electric piano into my computer via MIDI cable and recorded myself playing]. The youtube version has a different piece I also made.

Author: jonathan

Jonathan is a consummate Anglophile who launched Anglotopia.net in 2007 to channel his passion for Britain. Londontopia is its sister publication dedicated to everything London.

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