Windy City Nights is the result of a two year journey through Chicago at night. I started this timelapse project back in April of 2011 after getting inspired by a video I saw posted on Vimeo titled “We are Chicago” by Ross Gerbasi. The video contained several night timelapse sequences that were captured in Chicago. Just prior to this, I had been shooting timelapses and started practicing the art on a regular basis. I had been shooting a lot of sports photography since 2005 and just really started to enjoy the art of timelapse. I have always enjoyed the challenge of night time photography and long exposures. There is something about the lights at night and the passage of time that is really captivating and what better place to capture this than the City of Chicago. Chicago is a really unique city, it has great architecture, the Chicago River and is surrounded by Lake Michigan. There is so much happening all the time and the lights at night here are truly amazing.
During this project, I have shot over 200,000 exposures, of raw digital files. With the raw files, exports and renders this accumulated to about 8 Terabytes of storage data. So the process of managing the files and backing up the data was a project in itself. I also had to choose which rendered sequences were going to be in the final movie. I had so many shots which did not make it in due to trying to keep the time of the movie around 6 minutes.
There were a lot of challenges with this project. The first is that I had a full time job and family. So finding the time to get down to the city and shoot was hard. About two years ago, I had scouted all the locations for my shots and wrote them down on a list. I set goals and went off my list. Navigating around Chicago can be a process when working primarily by myself and transporting a lot of gear around. When not transporting the motion control gear, it was pretty easy to get around on foot or my mountain bike I custom fit with heavy duty bags attached. When I transported my slider, I used pelican cases and a hand truck to move everything around.
The gear I used in making this movie were three Canon Cameras. One 5D Mark III, one 5D Mark II and one 1DX. I used a variety of Canon lens’ including the 24mm f/1.4, 24-105mm f/4, 14mm, f/2.8 and 70-200mm f/2.8. I used motion controlled equipment from DitoGear including the OmniSlider, both of 1 and 2 meter versions as well as the OmniHead. I also used the eMotimo TB3 which can be purchased here: emotimo.com/ .
I would like to thank Cite Restaurant, Lake Point Tower, Wyndham Grand (Hotel 71), Willis Tower Skydeck, John Hancock Observatory, Melvin Dumanlang, Ross Gerbasi and Raj Tank for their location support and assistance as well as my family for putting up with me during my time away from home.
A special thanks for Vic Garcia for providing the title work for this project. A very talented guy! huemanelement.com/
For licensing inquires, over the next two weeks, I will be uploading the majority of these sequences to my Nimia profile here: app.nimia.com/profile/apapics/p/1
For a more in depth reading and details of this project, check out my blog here:
The music in the video has been licensed from the Music Bed and the links to the audio tracks are below.
themusicbed.com/#!/Perpetual-3976/# vimeo.com/76293321 Uploaded
This timelapse is about a year in the making. I started sometime in June of 2010 and finished it on August 19, 2011. It wasn't constant work of course, just working on it every now and then. I'd estimate I have invested anywhere between 250 and 300 hours on it. Most of this was time I spent walking, biking, or riding the bus to locations I was shooting. There are very few locations I used a car to get to. Total frame count is about 28,000 frames and 85 different shots. All the frames weren't used in the final product as I edited down the clips. You will notice that some of the shots were shaky. San Francisco is a very windy city and even my heavy tripod couldn't remain still. In hindsight I should have bought a different head. All photos were shot in JPEG and then some light editing in Lightroom. Compiled into .mov clips in Quicktime Pro and then all brought together in Final Cut Pro.
I started this project because there are so many people photographing the city that I wanted to capture it in a different way that most were not. Between the time I started and the time I finished, timelapses have become huge. It's amazing to see what fellow artists can make with even the most basic equipment.
Canon 5D and 5D Mark II
Canon 16-35mm L
Canon 70-200mm L IS
Canon 15mm Fisheye
Satechi TR-A Timer Remote Control
Slik Pro 700DX Tripod
Manfrotto 322RC2 Tripod Head
Music is "Dayvan Cowboy" by Boards of Canada# vimeo.com/29298709 Uploaded 556K Plays 2,553 Likes 71 Comments
To learn more about this video and see more images from the collection, click here: shainblumphoto.com/project/mirror-city-timelapse-film/
When I first started Mirror City, I wanted to create a video that was completely out of the norm. I wanted to showcase something unique and artistic, which takes Timelapse photography into a more abstract direction. Mirror City is a visual story through some of the great American cities: Chicago, San Francisco, San Diego, Las Vegas and Los Angeles. These clips were all processed from their original form, into the kaleidoscopic visuals that you see in this video. Many people visit these large cities every day, and all of these places have been shot and filmed, but I wanted to emulate these urban landscapes in a way that nobody has even seen before. I wanted to put man-made geometric shapes, mixed with elements of color and movement to create less of a structured video, and more of a plethora of visual stimulation.
The video starts off with simple mirrors and recognizable architecture, as the video progresses, so does the visual stimulation, showing the real abstraction of the piece.
I have worked on this piece for an extremely long amount of time. I have spent time mirroring images and videos for the past five years, and I have been working on this specific piece for about four months. I felt it was time to combine Timelapse photography and the simplicity of a kaleidoscope, and create Mirror City.
(All clips are available in the original and mirrored format) For licensing & inquires please contact at
Shainblumphoto@gmail.com# vimeo.com/70573323 Uploaded 870K Plays 12.7K Likes 421 Comments
( Sittin' On ) The Dock of the Bay - Otis Redding
Lights - Journey
Frisco Blues - John Lee Hooker
San Francisco ( Be Sure to Wear Flowers in Your Hair ) - Scott McKenzie
I Left My Heart in San Francisco - Tony Bennett
If you didn't understand what was happening, you should probably watch it again.
This has been a Seventh Movement effort.# vimeo.com/43004940 Uploaded 242K Plays 1,943 Likes 104 Comments
License royalty free stock footage at motionplaces.com
I brought my new Blackmagic Cinema Camera with me on a recent trip with my wife to the Bahia de Banderas area of Mexico. We stayed in Mismaloya, about 20km south of Puerto Vallarta. If I had it my way, the camera would have been glued to my hands for the entire trip, but considering it's not water-proof, I had to leave it at the hotel quite a bit.
We did a day trip north of Puerto Vallarta and explored towns, beaches, and did a small jungle hike. In Valle De Banderas, they were celebrating their town's anniversary, or at least I think that's what a banner said. At any rate there were many people out celebrating.
I love shooting with the BMCC! Little issues aside, it is an amazing camera! I love how it makes me slow down while shooting. Considering I'm getting about 25 minutes of raw footage on each 240gb SSD, and the fact that you can't delete clips or format the drive from the camera, makes me feel as if I'm shooting film. On this trip I had no way of downloading footage or formatting the drives. It felt like having an old slr film camera with me and just a couple rolls of film.
I shot all raw and processed the images in Lightroom. I had thought to take Resolve for a spin, but my main workstation stopped working and Resolve won't run on my laptop. I used a calibrated HP monitor.
I experimented with different color grades and you will see different styles in this film. There's even a single random BW shot in there. Uncompressed raw and 13 stops of dynamic range is a powerful mix. Being able to process the raw images in a variety of programs is freeing, and re-processing old footage with new color correction tools is something I look forward to.
Download the original if you want to see the full quality. Not much else to say really. It's good this camera will be shipping in larger quantities soon. Sorry to use an already over used phrase, but this camera is a game changer and needs to be in more people's hands! I can't wait to see what people shoot with it, and what the other camera manufacturers come up with to compete.
P.S. The reality of owning a camera called the Blackmagic Cinema Camera is at times a bit awkward. I'm finding myself saying things like, "No, I'll use the Black Magic." which tends to make strangers in the vicinity raise an eyebrow. Oh well. It's a small price to pay.
Music: I Wanna Go by Summer Heart
Canon 24-70mm (no iris control yet, so all wide open at f2.8)
Canon 70-200mm 2.8 IS Mark II
B+W ND Filters# vimeo.com/55887965 Uploaded 261K Plays 4,626 Likes 239 Comments
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