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COLORFUL CANYONS - A time lapse film featuring Western USA in 4k UHD

#1 jorn-t


Photographed and produced 2014-2018, this 5 minute short film will take you to the wilderness of Western USA, mainly in Utah, with some clips from Arizona, New Mexico and Nevada.

You will see canyons with vivid colors, impressive geological features, and eroded layers of rock revealing 1,8 billion years of Earth's history.

Filming locations:

Capitol Reef National Park, Utah
Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah
Canyonlands National Park, Utah
Zion National Park, Utah
Hite Overlook, Utah
Dead Horse Point State Park, Utah
Muley Point Overlook, Utah
Goosenecks State Park, Utah
Valley of Fire State Park, Nevada
Shiprock, New Mexico
Canyon de Chelly National Monument, Arizona
Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona
Coal Mine Canyon, Arizona

The powerful and dynamic music score is "Sea of Machines" from the album "The Source", by Arjen Lucassen's Ayreon:

If you like the video, please share!
#2 jorn-t
The photos for video was shot in RAW format using standard consumer cameras like Canon 700D, 750D and 760D, mainly with a Canon wide-angle 10-18mm but also with a Tamron 16-300. The results from the Tamron lens was not very sharp images and a lot of chromatic abberation. Some of this was fixed using Lightroom and LRTimelapse to "batch fix" the images.

I guess that my relatively cheap camera equipment caused a lot of the frame flicker I experienced - this was effectively removed with LRTimelapse which was used to deflicker and render every clip in this film. Everything was rendered out to TIFF32 and then to ProRes 4:4:4 with highest possible (placebo!) quality.

I'm still researching how to render to be able to use HDR / High10 profile in Adobe Premiere - this produced flat results, so I had to stick to normal rendering without HDR.

I'm happy to receive feedback and impressions from you regarding this video :-)
#3 Bobu
Hi Jørn,
I really like the compositions and the colors. Some scene would benefit from slightly shorter intervalls. The clouds are for example moving sometimes a bit to fast. And the slides are often a bit too fst. In some scenes a slightly longer exposure time would also smooth the movement of foreground objects due to wind.

In summary it's a really good video which has a slighty twitchy/nervous/turbulent feeling. But nothing to worry about and you can be really proud of the final result.

My biggest problem is the chosen music. In my opinion the song doesn't fit at all to the video. But such an assessment is always highly subjective.

#4 jorn-t
Thank you for the feedback Boris!

I agree that some scenes got clouds moving way too fast - especially the clips from the stunning Waterpocket Fold disappointed me a bit - it looks a bit messy because of the speed, and the shadows projected on the valley floor. What's funny is that several friends of mine say that this messy clip is the coolest, because of the fast moving shadows! Big Grin
Anyway, I guess it takes some time and experience to be able to set the right interval.. And my current equipment doesn't like shorter intervals than about 2 seconds. Not sure why, the memory cards should handle 90-100 MB/sec, (or less than 0,3 sec per frame) but the camera starts to slow down/skip frames with tighter intervals than 2 seconds. My very first timelapse clips from 2013 were taken with 15, 10 and 5 seconds interval and shot in JPEG - practically useless.

Right now I'm editing a new film where the problem is the opposite - too little movement, so the clips had to speed up by 2x or 4x - which causes a new problem, the clips will sometimes be too short.

Also agree with you that the slider is running too fast in several clips, (or, the interval should have been a lot shorter), a beginners mistake I guess. The wind was also a big problem, especially for my 2015 trip to USA which had a lot of windy days. Not only because of shaky bushes and grass in the foreground, but also because the slider became shaky and many scenes were ruined because of this (I didn't realise before rendering the clips when I came home.. For my third trip in 2017 I bought a heavy tripod and used that in windy situations, which seem to have fixed some of the problem.

I guess I need to experiment a bit with filters before I can try longer exposure times as you suggest. For example 2 sec exposure and 4 sec interval which would produce perfect motion blur from what I've read? I bought some ND filters for my 2018 trip, but didn't have the time to learn how to use them properly (exposures were dark, and often out of focus)

I know the music can be a problem for a lot of people. The thing is, I've seen a thousand timelapse videos, and every single one got the same piano + synth songs, quiet and relaxing in the beginning, then building up gradually to a climax towards the end. I wanted to try something new - maybe not a smart choice, but I had to try ;-)

The heavy parts of the music, in my opinion, helps a bit to match the "turbulent" parts of the film (and the corresponding clips were actually selected on purpose because they were a bit rough). Not sure if everybody would agree to this..

The next film I'm currently editing will bring more of the same, or at least one minute of really rough music and rough clips towards the middle of the film, but with more "dark" and mysterious music towards the end, and corresponding clips with dark clouds/dark shadows.

The next two projects after that will be with softer music and more relaxing, I hope. :-D

Kind regards,
- Jørn

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