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Create Dynamic Storytelling by Manipulating Time

Create Dynamic Storytelling by Manipulating Time

In the world of video storytelling, less is always more. How do we engage our viewers and communicate everything we need to in as few seconds as possible? By manipulating time we can create drama by speeding it up or slowing it down. Using time lapse photography we can compress an entire day into 3 minutes or less. Think, “A Day In The Life,” or in this case, a day, a sunset and a night compressed into 2 minutes, 26 seconds.

The High Roller Las Vegas is the world’s tallest observation wheel. Our story is about how the High Roller dominates the Las Vegas skyline and the breathtaking views of that skyline from the High Roller. The High Roller takes about 30 minutes to go all the way around. When you are actually riding inside the High Roller the experience is amazing. The challenge was to make a video about that amazing daytime, sunset and nighttime experiences without putting the viewer to sleep. The answer was time lapse photography.

It was the July 4th weekend and Las Vegas was starting to fill up. The High Roller Las Vegas is owned by Caesars Entertainment. Caesars granted us access to all their properties and a private cabin on the High Roller for as long as needed. During the daytime the air conditioned cabins of the High Roller were a welcome relief to the 112 degree oven known as Las Vegas in July. It was so hot I had to stand over my camera gear to create shade and keep the camera from melting. Even at 10:00 pm it was still 100 degrees, but there was a nice breeze that cooled things down to a comfortable 99 degrees.

It took 11 times around on the High Roller and the entire shoot was completed in 2 days with a 1 person crew. The time lapse gear blocks the view for paying guests so I was required to ride in a private cabin. As it turns out this was a good thing because of reflections. I learned a few things about shooting inside a glass bubble and reflections.

All in all I shot 28 time lapse sequences with a total of just over 11,000 individual images. Since the individual images are shot in the RAW format they offer all the editing capabilities that come with high resolution RAW images. This also means the source images are 4K. The RAW format combined with the 4K resolution provide additional creativity when edited in a 1920 x 1080 HD video.

Using time lapse photography for video storytelling offers many creative opportunities. The nature of time lapse photography allows us to compress time and see the world in a fascinating way. The ability to compress time lines (a day in the life) allows us to tell stories in a visually engaging way and editing in 4K RAW offers extensive flexibility.

Slow motion adds even more drama to time lapse storytelling. In my next blog, I will speed up life with fast motion time lapse and combine slow motion to focus attention on our subject.


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