Weathering Spring – Portland Time-Lapse

Lance Page · June 20, 2012 · Video

Happy summer folks!

In 2012, Portland, Ore. saw the wettest March-May months in 72 years. But when your average Portlander argues that the rain “isn’t that bad” they may have a point. There were actually more drier days than last year, it just came down harder when it did rain. The city’s unpredictable, erratic spring weather made for many amazing photographic opportunities.

“Weathering Spring – Portland Time-Lapse” is an artistic documentation of the Portland spring using time-lapse photography. It is a culmination of nearly 3 months of work, over 64,000 photos making up 83 different time-lapse clips (about 45 of which made it into the final cut), 800 GB of hard drive space and one very exciting spring season in Portland.  The video provides an epic visual roller coaster ride through the city’s stormiest days on into the night displaying glimmering city lights and intense traffic and back into the daylight with those beautiful sunny spring days that lead us into the long awaited pacific northwest summer.

Last year I produced Portland Nights which turned out to be a huge success and inspired me to continue on the path of perfecting the art of time-lapse. Early this year, when I set out to do another Portland time-lapse project, I wanted to add an element of production that I had never seen before, that is, making the time-lapse footage appear as if it were captured in realtime with the camera being handheld or using “documentary” style cinematography. This is done by first producing a conventional static or motion controlled time-lapse clip then applying handheld movement to the clip in post using actual handheld footage and motion trackers in After Effects. This was a stylistic choice that makes for a more frantic and gritty look. It also allowed for more movement of the camera in many different directions during production which would otherwise look robotic and unnatural.

I wanted to create a more realistic portrayal of the Portland spring season by both using the “handheld” technique as well as capturing some of the most interesting weather conditions and visuals Portland has to offer, both ominous and beautiful. And I certainly had help with Hisham Dahud and Derrek Domino’s fantastic music. Their soundtrack provides a dramatic, psychedelic and moody reinforcement to the imagery.

This project proved to test my limits as an artist given the immense amount of variables that come into play when producing motion controlled time-lapse photography and the high standard I set for it. Many of the shots required multiple takes over different days depending on weather conditions and overall quality of the shot. And the erratic weather introduced a further challenge to be able to produce quality content.

Check back soon as I will be posting some behind the scenes photos with more insight into this daunting production. Thanks for watching and enjoy!