Time-lapse – revealing what the eye cannot see

One of the most remarkable qualities of time-lapse photography is that it enables a view of things which our eyes cannot naturally see.

The work that we do at Time-Lapse Systems provides clients from a variety of industries and business sectors with an Ultra HD-quality view of their project(s). Our skilful editors then produce a time-lapse sequence, built to the individual specifications of each client.

Whether revealing the construction of a skyscraper from the ground up in seconds, or showing the preparatory works before a special event, time-lapse videos allow us to comprehend both long-term and short-term progress in ways that we wouldn’t necessarily be able to do in real time.

Moving to a different beat

Time-lapse videos revealing the movements of plants are also perfect for elucidating this point.

The lives of plants function in relation to a different timescale than our own. Although it is not easy to discern this just from watching them, plants move a lot throughout the course of the day and the night.

Darryl Cheng’s Instagram page, houseplantjournal, features the following time-lapse video in collaboration with Australian ceramic design team, Angus & Celeste.

 

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The subtle movements of the oxalis and maranta plants are brought to life through the speed applied to the footage – so much so that the leaves look like they are caught in a wind.

The clock featured in shot gives us an idea of how these plants are moving in relation to our own notion of time. It is also fascinating to see how the leaves become more active as the natural light from the window increases.

Time-lapse capture enables us to see natural processes play out at a speed and composition that we are able to recognise. The application of time-lapse photography in this context also emphasises the fact that plants are as much a living and breathing organism as we are.

Horticulture is an already fascinating practice to observe and to learn but when mediated through time-lapse, there may be something extra special to be witnessed.

The Spheres, an indoor garden project in Seattle, United States, recently utilised time-lapse to capture the rare sight of a corpse flower bloom! Only happening once every 3-10 years depending on the type of flower – also known as the Amorphophallus titanum – this is such a privileged sight to witness.

Adding to its uniqueness, the corpse flower only blooms for up to 48 hours at a time before beginning its long vegetation process all over again.

Due to the rarity of witnessing this in person, time-lapse photography has become a staple mode of capture for such moments; Wikipedia even include a log of time-lapse videos and live feeds which reveal different corpse flowers in bloom in different parts of the world.

Sadly, these extraordinary flowering plants are endangered which makes videos like those by The Spheres even more important.

Mesmerising mechanics

Time-lapse can also evoke wonder in the man-made parts of our world, as well as the more natural elements.

If you have ever wondered about the labour that goes into making something like a car, for example? What about an electric car, even? American automotive & energy company, Tesla, have allowed unprecedented access to their production line for their new electric car, Model 3.

Their time-lapse video reveals the production line for their Model 3. In 50 seconds you can see its beginnings as an empty shell, the building of its interiors, right through to its very first drive.

Of course, this is only a small part of the planning and overall innovation needed to deliver a product such as this. But through the lens of time-lapse it is easier to acknowledge the skill of each individual and the level of coordination needed to keep the production line moving.

Our own media solutions have been put to use to provide similarly unprecedented viewpoints of mechanical engineering projects.

We time-lapsed construction of the UK’s first wooden roller coaster in over 20 years at Alton Towers, Staffordshire. Our long-term capture of this distinctive ride revealing the 2,000 ft of wooden track taking shape and finally standing at over six-storeys high.

 

Shared on social media and various national news outlets, the public were granted a view that would not have otherwise been seen.

 

These are only a handful of examples illustrating how time-lapse is able to offer us a different perspective on the ordinary & the everyday, as well as granting us insight into the more extraordinary & rare sights that we might otherwise never get to view with our own eyes.

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