Photographer Joe Capra spent two years creating the above panoramic time lapse of Los Angeles. While a still panoramic image can be created by stitching two or more images together from the same camera, doing it in time-lapse form requires two cameras shooting simultaneously — and a whole lot of elbow grease.
Capra used two Canon EOS-5D Mark III DSLRs along with two each of Canon’s 24-70mm, 24-105mm, and 70-200mm lenses. He had to make his own custom rig to support the gear atop a Kessler Crane TLS motorized dolly, taking special care to ensure the cameras were properly framed and focused. But this was just the beginning; the post-production process was its own struggle.
“The cameras don’t flicker at the same time and same rate,” Capra told PetaPixel. The aperture of a lens doesn’t constrict to the exact same size on every exposure, even with manual settings locked in. This is a pain for even single-camera time lapses as it causes the resulting video to flicker due to the slight exposure variations between frames.
With two cameras working together, the problem was compounded. One half of the stitched frame would flicker separately form the other half, making the problem harder to correct. Therefore, Capra had to de-flicker the footage from each camera separately before stitching.
Any rough motion introduced into the rig would also effect the cameras differently. “One half of the frame would be perfectly stable while the other half was bouncing around, or both sides of the frame would bounce around differently,” Capra said.
But after years of effort, Capra’s hard work has paid off. The working resolution of the video is an incredible 10K by 4K, but Capra didn’t shoot two cameras for the purpose of pushing resolution limits. “I shot it for the panoramic look, especially the compressed look you get when using long lenses,” he writes in the video’s description. The result is one of the most visually arresting time lapse videos out there.
While the version uploaded to Vimeo is limited to 1080p, 4K and even 10K versions are available to license.