Time-Lapse Trends: winter sports

“Time-Lapse Trends” is a video blog series which draws attention to some of the many exciting trends in time-lapse production. We feature a new trend in each instalment, to demonstrate the scope of the medium and the various ways in which it is applied, ranging from the popular to the more obscure.

The 23rd Winter Olympics gets underway today in Pyeongchang county, South Korea. Time-lapse video is an exciting way of recording sporting events, whether as part of an international multi-sport competition such as the Olympics or those that take place on a smaller, more casual scale.

Back in 2010, the Winter Olympic Games took place in Vancouver, Canada. As this impressive time-lapse shows, so much rigorous work is required in order to prepare pre-existing venues, or even build new structures, to create the appropriate space to host such a prestigious sporting event.

Just as interesting as watching the different sports themselves is watching the complex pre-construction works that goes into this preparation. The rapid frequency at which frames were captured at here lends itself well to the labour-intensive work that takes place during a short space of time.

Additionally, the opening and closing ceremonies for internationally renowned events are also stunning displays to capture and relive through time-lapse.

Indeed, it is the crowds, atmosphere and collective vibe of any sporting event which has a huge impact on its enjoyment, and even more so on how it will be remembered.

Time-lapse video is an ideal tool which can help to preserve such dynamics. As this video exemplifies, the streets of Vancouver were alive with activity during the 2010 Winter Olympics. Stylish touches such as panning movements, well-placed zooms and rapid capture, all contribute to capturing – and preserving – the incredible energy in the ‘Olympic City.’

Winter sports, contrary to what the term implies, take place all year round in many countries.

Even at college level in the US, ice hockey is considered a lucrative investment and attracts a lot of attention and publicity, both locally and nationally.

Time-lapses like this one from the Minnesota Gophers, showcase the scale and popularity of such sporting events. As a form of shareable media, a time-lapse video is a great way of drumming up support for college teams on social media platforms, which can then be viewed by stakeholders, the public, as well as current and potential students.

As we have discussed elsewhere, time-lapse is also well suited for use on broadcast television, often as a visual supplement to reports. As this short video from NHL shows (below), time-lapse can function to inform and entertain.

Documenting the synchronised work at the infamous Madison Square Garden, the video reveals the rapid transformation that sees the venue go from a basketball arena to one that can host ice hockey in less than a minute. Featuring as part of NHL’s sports coverage, time-lapse adds variety to the ways in which they are able to visually communicate information to their viewers.

At a less competitive level, winter sports are also an incredibly popular leisure activity.

Skiing, in particular, drives thousands of tourists each year to snowy climbs to enjoy the sun while taking on the slopes. Like in this video by Emma Ninham (below), time-lapse can be put to good use to document skiing holidays with family and friends.

Not only featuring time on the slopes, footage also shows friends partying and exploring the surrounding areas. In this sense, time-lapse can enable a visual scrapbook of holidays, with the accelerated frequency of images allowing more skiing to be shown in no extra time.


The Winter Olympics takes place between now and the 25th of February, 2018. We hope that these time-lapses have got you in the mood for all the snow, ice and sport.

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