BTS – Chinatown Hyperlapse

19 Jun

This week I’m going to give you a behind the scenes look at one of my favorite types of timelapse, a hyperlapse. If you’ve never seen a hyperlapse before (or even if you have), check out this awesome video below:

A hyperlapse is basically a timelapse where the camera moves large distances. Usually the camera is placed on a tripod, which is then moved a set distance between each photograph. This allows you to create long sweeping moves, which are impossible with regular camera dollies.

As part of my Manchester timelapse video, I wanted to include a few hyperlapses. As many of the roads are quite narrow, it was difficult finding suitable locations. However I settled upon the arch in China-town. There is a road leading straight up to the arch, that keeps it in full view at all times. Perfect.

I started at one end of the road and selected a point on the archway. I was able to then line this same point up in the viewfinder on my camera before taking each photo.

I then walked up the road, taking photos every 15 meters. This gave me about 5 pictures, which allowed me to preview how the move would plan out. When shooting hyperlapse, this step is essential! Not only can you count the distance (so you know how far to move between photos), but you can also have a little preview on your LCD of what the move will look like. Sometimes you will be surprised by objects that appear and disappear out the frame.

2e 300x40 BTS   Chinatown Hyperlapse

Between shots I moved about 20cm, and by the end of the sequence I had amassed 120 photos. The interval between photos was set at 5 seconds. I actually shot the whole sequence hand-held, with a little device I built (tutorial to come soon). It would have been nice to drag the shutter slightly (maybe around 1/30), to blur the people slightly, but unfortunately there was not enough space for a tripod.

I brought all of the photos into photoshop, and batch processed them with the following settings:

2a 300x186 BTS   Chinatown Hyperlapse

The image looks quite flat now (meaning there is not much contrast). This is fine for my needs as I can colour correct it later. It’s best to hold on to as much detail as possible in this stage.

Next step was to import the photos into after effects, and apply the warp stabiliser. This basically removes the camera shake between shots. No matter how hard you try, it’s virtually impossible to prevent some movement between photos.

This was a very quick workflow to give you a rundown of the process. The stabilisation isn’t perfect, and I have yet to grade the final footage. However, here is the current work in progress!


Are hyperlapses also your favourite type of timelapse shots, do you prefer dollies, cranes.. maybe something else? Let me know in the comments below!