"Paris is one of the most romantic cities in all the world. Seventh Movement takes us on a time-lapse journey throughout the city and shows us beautiful views of the Eiffel Tower during the day and night." -MyModernMet
Entry from July 27, 2009 "We are jet-lagged and exhausted. The alarm blared at 4:30 am. Without opening my eyes I hit the snooze. "Just five more minutes" I told myself… "Lets go dude" a groggy voice commanded from the background. I didn't move. Out of nowhere, a pillow slammed down on my head, the mattress is lifted out from under me, and I hit the hardwood floor just missing my camera bag. "Ugh not again" I thought, but I knew he was right, we needed to hustle across the city and get our cameras rolling before sunrise. "
We were in Paris with only a week to shoot. Armed with top of the line cameras, fresh batteries, memory card wallets, and our favorite glass. The game-plan was to shoot as much as possible and to motivate each other when we were exhausted from staring down the viewfinder. Time-lapses were just an afterthought. Seen a couple. Heard a bit on what it takes to get one done. But when we stepped off the plane in Paris, we had never seen the sky as beautiful as it was. Some twenty two hours later, we slept...at least tried to...
We had never shot a time-lapse before, we had never put one together. We were just two guys who came to Paris to photograph. To make beautiful images. And we did. And we didn't stop. It became a battle against our batteries. " Why take one when you can take one-thousand" we'd laugh. Sometimes staying at a spot all day. Biking or walking from place to place. Mispronouncing words we didn't know. Two more packs of Camel's gone. We shot and shot and uploaded wherever we were. Even ran through the terabyte we brought with us and had to buy another one at Rue Montgalet ( nightmare ). Fell asleep on the Alexander III bridge while the clicks of our camera shutters became an urban lullaby.
Wandering around the streets of Paris armed with $20,000 in gear, we took Paris head on.
Its a scary feeling when you burn through a 32 gigabyte card before the day is done. You don't see what you're shooting. You compose the first frame and let your subject do the rest. We would wait for that perfect set of clouds or that perfect flare or trail from a plane. And all the while we didn't know what the final product would look like. We were shooting blind. But we wouldn't have had it any other way. The unknown kept us moving. Kept us thinking about what could happen when we return. Kept us thinking about what all these different pieces might say in the end.
Changing glass as much as we did, we didn't factor in the amount of sensor dust that would build up. We could never just shoot something once, from one angle, without doing brackets and panoramic builds. It became an obsession. And our shutters paid the price. Back home, it took weeks to get organized. Then it took months working between all these side projects, our main gig at BorrowLenses.com, and the Paris project. Just beginning to think about what we would do with all the clips became overwhelming. There wasn't an obvious flow. There didn't seem to be a complete overall puzzle that could even be constructed with the pieces we had. And the pieces were in pieces.
We started building each clip in After Effects. Render. Smoke. Chill. Re-Render. Smoke. Chill. We built around 150 clips out of the time-lapses we shot in Paris. They were flickery, noisy, grainy, bandy but they were ours. And we spent more time trying to fix them than we ever imagined. They were the first of the series. And from a single Clint Mansell song from "The Wrestler" sparked a vision for the Volumes. And once we put the first ones on Vimeo, we knew we had something going. We built the second one with a Tycho song. The third from Flying Lotus. The fourth from Pelican City. And after the fourth volume was built, we saw all these comments about the sensor dust. And THAT ate away at us.
So we started from scratch; as if we had just hoped off the plane from Paris. Reorganize, re-edit, recolor, re-render. Days and days of work. Going through entire albums trying to find that one song that would go perfectly with all the clips strung together. But we didn't know how they would all hold together. There was no obvious order again. And we didn't think we could fill the twenty volume quota that we had promised to our fans. So we settled on doing a Director's Cut. A montage of all of the clips: Paris Volume 5.
Enter Pigeon Point. We had been shooting a new series called the California Coastline. And we went to Pigeon Point down in Santa Cruz with our friend Matt. At first it didn't seem like a prime spot for time-lapses. But Matt didn't tell us the most amazing thing about Pigeon Point. They installed a new temporary 6-beam setup while the main lighthouse wasn't operational. We shot through the night, edited the next day, and posted on Monday. While we were editing, Mogwai popped into the playlist. To be honest we never sat down and listened to Mogwai with our work but it turned out that Friend of the Night fit that piece like a glove. And so we chose 2 Rights Make 1 Wrong for the first part of Volume 5. And we chose Explosions in the Sky, First Breath After Coma for the last part of the volume. It was perfect.
We knew what we did best….Own a spot. Literally shoot the shit out of it. We learned a lot since Paris and shot a ton of other projects since we returned. The constant was a pattern. A style, a flow, a complete piece each in its own right. And we laid down the tracks, and then each clip, piece by piece. We cut and recut and re-rendered and fill gaps and cut tighter and sharper. We began to complete the puzzle. And it became what you see before you.
Enjoy it. Its been a long time coming but we think the wait is well worth it.
Thom & Vin
Mogwai - 2 Rights Make 1 Wrong
Explosions in the Sky - First Breath After Coma
The images used in this time lapse were taken in 2011 over the course of three summer months in Europe. My wife's mother lives in Lithuania, just outside of the capital city Vilnius, so we decided to make it our homebase from the end of May through August while we traveled to various countries. Some of the places we had been to were new to us, others we had visited before. But all in all, it was an amazing summer and definitely an unforgettable part of our lives.
We split our summer up into four trips. Between each of these trips, we'd fly back to Vilnius and relax for a week or so before packing up and heading off again. Our first trip took us to London. We spent three nights there before catching a quick flight over to Amsterdam. We spent another three nights (which became our default) in Amsterdam and then took a train down to Paris. We originally planned on three nights in Paris, but after day two, we realized how much more we wanted to do and that we didn't have enough time. So we extended our stay and ended up being there for six nights. I can't recall why, but for some reason, we had to cut the trip short and head back to Vilnius after Paris.
Next on our list was Scandinavia (or at least part of it). Neither of us had been there before, so we were super pumped. We started with three nights in Stockholm, followed by three nights in Copenhagen, another three in Helsinki, and capped it off with a final three nights in Riga. We really wanted to go to Norway, but felt that it would require an entirely separate trip of its own, just to explore the fjords and all of the beautiful natural scenery. Stockholm was an amazing city and we both agreed that we could easily settle down there. Riga also blew us away and I feel like it's one of the most underrated cities in all of Europe.
After another week or two back in Vilnius, we headed to the island of Crete for a week at an all-inclusive resort. We took a day trip to Santorini, which consisted of the most hellish eight-hour round trip boat ride ever, but that's another story. Definitely want to get back to Santorini, but we'd have to go for at least a few nights to make it worth it. Such a beautiful island.
Back to Vilnius again for another week or so, and then we headed out to Italy. Our summer in Europe was ending soon, so we only had enough time to visit Cinque Terre for three nights, with one night in Milan on each end of that trip.
The summer of 2011 was surreal. We visited so many places, saw so much, ate so much, and it all happened so quickly. Thank you to my amazing wife for being my little assistant and for having the patience to stand around waiting for all of these time lapses to finish!