Time-lapsing the World Cup

In this video blog, we look at some of the ways in which time-lapse photography has been applied to capture FIFA’s World Cup football related content.

After Russia’s 5-0 win over Saudi Arabia last night in the 2018 edition’s opening game, it seems fitting to explore this historic competition through time-lapse.

Recurring every four years, the FIFA World Cup sees 32 national teams compete over the course of a month.

At the end, the winner gets their hands on the World Cup trophy, made of solid 18 carat gold which was designed by Italian designer, Silvio Gazzaniga. According to Gazzaniga, the sculpture depicts two athletes stretching out to receive the world in their hands at the moment of victory.

As a perfect segue to this, check out this time-lapse by Marcello Barenghi, an Italian artist from Milan who creates hyper-realist 3D illustrations using a combination of paint, pencil, and pen.


We have featured Barenghi’s work on our blog before because of the way in which he uses time-lapse to enhance his art, thus blending the two.

From a 3D drawing of the trophy to a 3D print, now. This time-lapse video shows hours of process in just under three minutes of footage. This is perhaps why these kind of videos are a popular application for time-lapse as, like Barenghi’s drawing, they enhance every detail of this incredibly intricate creative process.

Of course, the World Cup itself is an incredibly rich event and can be experienced in many different ways.

Like most international sporting events, the World Cup brings people together in celebration of their country’s achievements. As this time-lapse video from Kobus Loubser shows, Cape Town, Johannesburg was overflowing with fans celebrating the final between the Netherlands and Spain, hosted by South Africa in 2010.

The video cleverly combines time-lapse and still photography which captures both the collective movements of the crowds, as well as honing in on particular fans during this special ‘FIFA Fan Fest.’

Organised by FIFA and their partners, the Fan Fests are public viewing events during which matches are broadcast live from giant LED displays to thousands of football fans. These special screenings take place in various locations across the world and began back in 2006 at the FIFA World Cup in Germany following the success of unofficial public viewing events in South Korea in the 2002 FIFA World Cup in South Korea.

This year’s tournament, hosted by Russia, is FIFA’s 21st World Cup.

A total of 12 stadiums in 11 Russian cities have been built and renovated for the event. The capital and most populous of these cities is, of course, Moscow.


Pavel Tenyakov’s work (above) combines time-lapse and hyperlapse to showcase the stunning architecture of this vibrant city – home of the FIFA 2018 World Cup. The day to night transition also adds a depth to this narrative, proving that this city never sleeps.

FIFA themselves utilise time-lapse in order to document other important events in their football calendar. This video from their FIFATV YouTube channel, for example, documents the construction progress for the FIFA Congress, held at Hallenstadion in 2016.

An important event, where many landmark decisions and reforms were made, time-lapsing preparations for this enabled FIFA to keep publics informed as well as creating a permanent documentation of the preparations that went into this.

Hopefully this small selection of time-lapse videos have helped drum up your excitement for the upcoming games, as well as demonstrate how versatile time-lapse photography is when applied to the capture of (sporting) events.

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