visual storyteller, photojournalist, stills, video, drone

Top Hat & The Time Machine

A stop animation of the installation of a skyscraper spire in downtown Raleigh

Footage and editing: Travis Long

This morning Shawn Rocco and I rose before dawn to photograph a high rise being adorned with a new top hat, a 60 foot 11,000 pound steel spire. The 33-story RBC Plaza is now the tallest building in Raleigh.

For this assignment I attempted my first time-lapse using my still camera mounted on a tripod and a handy little intervalometer gadget called the Time Machine.

With its LCD display, giant buttons and beigeware aesthetics, the Time Machine appears as though it ripped through the time continuum straight from 1988. I won’t bore you with all its geeky functions, (check out the website for all the nitty gritty) but I can think of a half dozen quick little projects you could do with this thing.

I set up Time Machine to shoot 1 second intervals and and let it rip for 650 plus exposures and zoomed and changed lenses to add a little visual variety. I used Quicktime Pro to export a sequence of all the photos as an .mov file. I collected a few minutes of ambient sound at the base of the building which I combined with the .mov in Final Cut Pro. I toned the entire sequence with 3-way color correction in FCP rather than using a Photoshop action to add conistent contrast to the images more efficiently.

Total post production time? Let’s just say it took me longer to write this post.

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