Can Anyone Figure Out How This Timelapse Was Filmed?

The guys at T-Recs (short for timelapse recordings) created a timelapse video that is unlike anything I have seen before. We have all seen timelapse videos that have camera movement but nothing like this. Some how these guys are making really big moves, almost like they are shooting out of an airplane. Anyone know how this sort of thing is done?

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i noticed the same thing on the "ski lift" shots...(the one going up the hill)

Conny Wallström's picture


Chuck Purnell's picture

I have a couple theories. One is that perhaps this is a series of separate shots composited together to create one complete shot and sped up. The other theory is they shot the footage as they normally would then imported the footage into a program called Twixtor. With Twixtor you can slow down or speed up or change the frame rate of your image sequences with visually stunning results. 

On their site they mention: "In order to achieve its unparalleled image sequence quality, Twixtor synthesizes unique frames by warping interpolating frames of the original sequence employing RE:Vision's propriety tracking technology that calculates motion for each individual pixel."

I agree that some sort of crane was used to get some of the "sweeping" shots and the camera may have been attached to a car to get some of the other shots...Its a very cool video nonetheless!  found this.  Tried to post a link on fb but it dissappeared.

It seems like every shot that seems above the ground is only because there something further below it. For example, road shots or shots with road in foreground could have been taken from a road above that road, ie overpass, etc to give it the feel of flying. If you look at the last sequence, it looks as if they are flying away from that hill and up, but right at the end you can see shrubs, on the side of a road most likely.

Bridges and walkways. Then all you'd need is a monopod to take the shots as you strafed along, taking a picture every step (keeping your shots centred on an element of the landscape). A little bit of cropping and stabilizing of the final images and I would assume you would have something similar to this.

Looks like a motion controlled cable cam setup... 

I don't know anything about video or timelapse, so I could very well be missing the point...but Googling "full motion time lapse" came up with the term "multi axis time lapse"--which turned up lots of equipment and tutorials and sample this one:

If you look at this video, you can see the rig that they used. It looks like a roll-out track that is 75' + and a motor moved platform (that moves along the track) that the camera is mounted on. Worth taking a look at.

Kris Kendrick's picture

Overhead heli-gimble camera perhaps.... affixed to hot air balloons and helicopters...

Pretty straight forward to me. A really taut cable, and done using a device that carried the camera across that you can program.

Denis's picture

I think this could be, as suggested by some folks here already, be done with cables and dollies for shots that are close to the ground.  But another possibility is a mini-zeppelin in combination with a 3 axis stabilized gimbal.  See for more info.

Watching the trees, it looks very windy. At least in some shots. Just another thing to think about. I guess wires or RC flying machine could be stabilized by cropping as mentioned already.


Mike Sly's picture

Looks like A CableCam or Technocrane depending on the shots

cable cam for sure!

It is just a matter of good location scouting. If you know the places it looses its miracle:

First is a large office building:,13.743421&ll=51.046386,13.743...
Second is also a long building that houses the Dresden Congress Centre (still a building site in Google maps but you'll get an idea in street view).,13.730997&sll=51.061142,13.74...
The flying over the streets are two pedestrian crossing bridges.,13.74606&sll=51.046278,13.743...,13.731018&sll=51.058498,13.73... (imho obvious even in the video)
Even the last "fly" over the Radebeul wine yards is actually a ground shoot due to the landscape:,13.664437&sll=51.06406,13.698... (might not look like in satellite view, but the staircase is quite a landmark).

Sorry for taking it to the ground, but it must be still an impressive rig though.

This gives you some idea how they did it..

arthurkendrick's picture

good find this is basically the rig I thought they were using, motorized dolly is the way to do it.  

Raul Pop's picture

this is called Motion Control Time Lapse. I've done some research and some people shoot just with an tripod. you can see an other example here: The author said this: 

"shot frame by frame, the order is: a place from where the shoot should
ideally be flat, preferably with a tile (for it is convenient to measure
at regular intervals between the frames and follow the exact
trajectory) can be removed and hands, but with a monopod is easier)).
further very important to accurately aim in each frame (you must choose a
piece on the subject, which is stable and in motion than does not
override and not get lost) aiming through the live view and 10x
increase. the horizon is also important to follow, I use a bubble level.
vobschem it all fits in a backpack and compared with the rails are much
more mobile)). Night footage mainly shot with parapets and perilok
(used area of the slider with ball head), a couple of times with a
tripod, but it is less mobile. - Automatic translation"

Looks like everyone is having a guess at this... So here's mine.


I've done similar things before. The hardest part is getting shots properly aligned in post. A tiny difference can ruin the effect. I've done it using a monopod, tripod, hand held, and putting the camera on a hand rail of a bridge... Keep the camera pointed at the same thing for each shot. If you move closer you have to aim up or down more to stay aimed at it...

Defiantly shot with the iPhone 5 ;)

Found a better perspectiv for the first scene:

Also kite aerial photography with a nice pan tilt head and remote might do the trick in most location.

Kite would be to unstable. That are all ground shoots - like the long office building roof you see in the foreground.

A tripod/monopod does seem likey for a few scenes but there are some where the elevation is too great to be each and there is a  section where they go OVER MOVING TRAFFIC. 

I just a plugin for AE, Warp Stabilizer :

They stated on their Website that they are using this technique:

TJ Jeffrey's picture

It's done on wires, either existing (like telegraph poles etc) or constructed for the purpose. If you look at power pylon in the UK, many of the top most apex wire has another wire wrapped around it. These are fibre circuits carrying all kinds of stuff like TV signals (a lot of broadcasters feed video between stations on these wires). They were installed long after the pylons were built by a mechical device which crawls a long the wire installing the extra fibre circuit as it goes. I'm guessing these timelapses are created with a similar device which carries the camera & intervolometre and is programmed to move along the wire at a set rate.

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