A Walk Through Des Moines
This is my first extended time-lapse project, as it took almost four months to complete. I’ve always been envious of the professionally done time-lapses of major cities and I wanted to create something specific for Des Moines. Not only did I learn and practice time lapsing with this project, I also found that my children, my nephews, and my niece got a chance to learn more about where they live. Although my family has lived in Des Moines for thirteen years, we take it for granted that our kids have visited all the local sites. Many of the segments were created on last minute trips when we ventured out to find a place just to watch the sunset. In the video, you’ll see many of the scenes where my the kids are either playing in the sculpture park, taking pictures in front of the hub spot or playing on the public pianos. Think about it – when was the last time you sat with your kids on the hill next to the Nomad sculpture, just to watch the sunset? We not only did it, we captured it and included it in this video… and it will always be one of my favorite moments from this summer. Special thanks to Wil Abeling, Carrie Abeling, Nick Songer, Grant Songer, Kate Songer, and Drew Songer for taking the time to join with on my Des Moines adventures, as well as assistance with editing.
How was this created?
Of course, this video isn’t the professional quality of others that you’ve seen online, as they typically use motion control systems, which can run thousands of dollars. This project used a Canon digital camera, and a point and shoot camera, and a tripod. Yes, that’s correct – a point and shoot camera was used for several segments of this project. (Additional note from Brian: Some are reporting that all of the video was created with a point and shoot camera only, which wasn't correct, but I see that I created this confusion by how it was worded in this post). However, it's true that the point and shoot camera can be used and was used for many sequences of this video. In fact, several of my favorite scenes were taken using just a point and shoot camera: the opening scene with the city as a silhouette and the gorgeous shot of the Moon and Venus rising up over the state capitol were taken with just a point/shoot camera. Some of the other clips were taken with a Canon DSLR. I find it funny that you can't really tell which scenes were taken with what camera. End of additional note added on 8/6/2014). Of course, there’s no doubt that the overall quality would be dramatically improved with motion control equipment, but I simply don’t have access to this type of equipment and I’m happy with the end product based on it being my first large project.
The segments where you feel like you’re moving through the scene or around a building or object are known as hyper-lapsing. Basically, I walked with the camera while taking pictures. One step, one photo, another step, another photo, then stitch them together to animate the sequence.
How much time does it take to make each segment of video?
Here’s an example: the segment that winds through the Pappajohn Sculpture Park, weaving left then right between the sculptures. It took about 45 minutes to shoot the 200 or so photos (taking a photo, then taking a step, then another photo.) Then it takes about 90 additional minutes to edit and compile the photos into a video clip. This means it’s over two hours of work to produce five seconds of video. In total, the video utilizes over 9,000 still photos that have been compressed into a 5 minute video.