Cityscape Chicago explores city in time lapse video

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No, this is not "news." But it's Friday, the election is over and we can all use a little break from the bustle and maybe to take in the beauty of Chicago to help get us in the weekend state of mind.

Roger Ebert posted this video to his Twitter feed Thursday evening - combining two of his loves, Twitter and film - and it got us to wondering about the person who produces as stunning a look at Chicago as you'll find.


The video was filmed and edited by Eric Hines, a local photographer out of Northwest Indiana with a penchant for time lapse photography. We had a few questions for Eric on how he chose his subject, how he shot it and what's next.

Following in his unedited chat via email on how he did what he did. Oh, and look out for the Sun-Times building at the 45 second mark:

Question: How did you get started in photography and the time lapse technique?

Answer: My journey in photography started in January 2010, after saving up for my first DSLR camera. A year after that, I discovered timelapse and became intrigued with it. After reading more into it and learning how it was done, I ordered an intervalometer for my camera shutter and started shooting timelapses the day it came.

Q: What technical and technique steps did you take to make the film?

A: This short film was shot entirely with still photos taken on the Canon 5D Mark III at various intervals for different shots. The sequences where you can see the shadows of the buildings moving and the transitions from day to night took multiple hours, while some of the night shots were each created in as little as a half hour. The camera movements introduced in the film were created by the use of a motorized camera dolly and pan/tilt head, made by Kessler Crane out of Plymouth, Indiana. Using these tools, I was able to plan out shots and program the equipment to complete them in a set amount of time.

Q: How long did the project take you to complete?

A: The whole film took about four months to complete. Because I was driving an hour from Indiana to get to the city, there were many times when I would arrive and the conditions wouldn't end up as predicted, forcing me to leave with maybe only one or two shots, sometimes none. Planning the shots from atop of the buildings in the city was more difficult than the ground level ones because most buildings were only available to residents or guests. Using the internet, I was lucky to be able to get in contact with some kind Chicagoans who helped secure some of the best views in the piece. Hotel 71 and the Hard Rock Hotel were also kind enough to let me set up some tripods in their rooms and film from the views their buildings presented. The ground level shots definitely took some time as well. As soon as I would get home from a shoot in the city, I would unload the footage from that night and begin searching for more locations I wanted to capture in the city. The edit was actually completed the day I shot the last clip that I knew I wanted in the piece. I found the music track I wanted to use very early on, so I pieced the video together night by night to keep the inspiration and vision always at the front of my mind.

Q: How did this shoot come to be?

A: The inspiration to start the project came from a long time fascination with Chicago, particularly at night. Growing up not too far from the city, I had visited a few times and was always impressed by the fast-paced nature and the way it would light up at night. I had never really explored much of Chicago before I started, so it became sort of an adventure to scout the city and come up with the locations I wanted to capture. Before working on this, my background was mainly natural landscapes, so it was a lot of fun to mix it up and work on a city.

Q: What's next on your project list?

A: Cityscape Chicago to me is the beginning of a bigger portrait of the city. There are still many things I would love to film there and will continue to capture it in different ways. My hopes are at some point to be able to incorporate more video and slow motion sequences into my work using a digital cinema camera and branch off into more genres of cinematography, allowing myself to continue to learn more of the art, and grow as a filmmaker. I still have a major passion for my still photography work as well, and hope to continue to travel to new places to practice both forms of media.

I have grown quite fond of the city of Chicago and would love to live somewhere downtown, but for now I will be staying in Northwest Indiana and travelling into the city to film. Hopefully, in time I will be able to relocate myself into the city.

Follow Eric on Twitter. And check out his Flickr page.

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This page contains a single entry by Craig Newman published on November 9, 2012 12:11 AM.

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