Every now and then I stumble across a time lapse video. Today’s favourite is a video of a lot of starry skies over a number of fascinating landscapes. Last week’s favourite was one of a McDonald’s Happy Meal not decaying for six months. Reduced into a forty-eight second video.
I love time lapse videos. Moving clouds, rising suns, swelling rivers, eroding coasts, decaying foods. Whoever invented them deserves a statue if you ask me. Why? They’re simply wonderful to watch, but also they visualise processes that have long time scales and that we wouldn’t be able to “see” otherwise.
There’s a Wikipedia page which gives a nice little definition (“a cinematography technique whereby the frequency at which film frames are captured (the frame rate) is much lower than that which will be used to play the sequence back.”) and even has an equation or two describing perceived speed and exposure time and stuff. And yes, the authors of the Wikipedia page also tell us who first used time lapse: Georges Méliès apparently, in 1897. Bless him.
Here are some time lapse videos worth watching:
- “A Timelapse Journey With Nature“
- 2011 Fargo Flood Time Lapse
- “Finger of death“
- Condit Dam removal
- A history of skies over San Francisco
- Deposition and erosion
And here’s my absolute favourite. Not yet in video mode, but if you press quickly enough, you should be able to condense the 17 months or so into a few minutes.
What’s *your* favourite?