I’ve always really loved high-resolution time lapses: there’s something really cool about seeing cities or the night sky fly across my computer screen in gorgeous detail. There’s a new time lapse by photographer Joe Capra of Scientifantastic that puts every one that I’ve seen to shame.
Using a 100 megapixel Phase One XF IQ3 camera, Capra shot the time lapse footage of Los Angeles in 12k resolution. The resulting film was beautiful in and of itself, but because he was working with high resolution images, he used some post effects to do some really interesting things with the footage: extreme zooms that capture the nightlife of Los Angeles from afar.
Coupled with a blissful soundtrack ("Journey", by Tony Anderson), the end result is a really gorgeous film that captures the motion of a city awake far into the night. Capra spent a long time scouting for the right location to shoot, and faced some unexpected challenges: heat. "When shooting from so far away and trying to zoom in, the heat waves coming off the city caused a dramatic loss in detail and sharpness," he told The Verge. "This normally isn't an issue with a regular DLSR or when shooting stills, but when shooting with such high resolution and zooming into the frames it caused problems."
In addition to finding the right locations, the weather had to line up perfectly: Capra needed clear and free of haze or smog. Once the right conditions hit, he set up his camera and began shooting. By the end of the project, he had collected 50,000 frames of footage.
In all, the raw video was 32 terabytes in size
Capra noted that each frame of the video is 100 megapixels, with each frame about "160-180mb depending on the scene." By comparison, a normal DSLR image will take up only 20-22 of space. In all, the raw video was 32 terabytes.
The sheer size of the files led to some complications for Capra while editing the movie. "Dealing with 50,000+, 100 megapixel photos was not an easy undertaking," he said. "It also requires a powerful computer to handle all the processing and post production. I was able to edit this video on my 4-year-old custom built PC." Each shot took about 6-8 hours to render, often crashing his computer and forcing him to start the process over again. "It was a very time consuming process."
Now that this project is complete, he’s moving onto his next film project, PANO|LA, a dual camera 10k panoramic time lapse video.