How to Shoot a Moving 360 Degree Time-Lapse Around a Tall Building
Time-lapse videos are a recent phenomenon to the mainstream audience—in movies, on television shows, and even in commercial ads. These sped-up and blurred images are a microcosm of many of our lives in which we're constantly in a hurry to get somewhere. We like everything fast: our work, our coffee, and our news.
These unique points of view are also self reflective in a way, and allow us to learn something meaningful and unique in an accelerated time span that could take hours to take in, in real-time.
I remember watching the video above and seeing the beauty in what a time lapse can show. It allowed me to view six whole years of a man's life, a man's emotions, and a man's existence in just under six minutes. This time lapse showed me just how short life can seem.
This video is now six years old, and since then, the way time lapses are shot has changed. They're very calculated and precise and are used for many different purposes. One of the more interesting types of time lapse is a space-lapse, which is different from traditional time lapses in that the camera is moved rather than kept stationary.
Kevin Parry and Andrea Nesbitt released a video last month that teaches how anyone with an SLR can shoot their own.
The preparation is that hardest part. The first step is to choose a central object, preferably a tall building or structure. Kevin and Andrea looked to Google Maps for help on the planning phase. After choosing the CN Tower in Toronto, they looked it up on the map and took a screenshot of it.
They took the screenshot to Photoshop and drew a perfect circle around it. This circle is the path they will take around the building to snap the photos (36 total). Next, they used Street View to see where they would have clear views to get the best shots, then marked those locations with red dots all over the map.
Once they picked enough spots, they went out and started taking photos. They made sure to take two in each location, in case one is off or just doesn't fit in the scheme. In each spot, they took one shot, then moved 20 feet to the side and took another.
Once they finished taking all the photos, they uploaded them to Photoshop and made sure to align the building in the exact same spot in the frame for every single picture. Once this was done, they added blur to the other buildings to create a fast-forward effect, then turned the shots into a time-lapse video.
Click here to see an animated GIF of the above shot, or you can see it (along with some really cool super zooms) in the music video below, which Kevin and Andrea previously made for Kalle Mattson.
For more details on this technique, check out the writeup on PetaPixel. Be sure to share your results with us over in the Inspiration section if you muster up the time to make your own moving 360 degree space-lapse.