Timelapse of the Square: Camera A Chart

Yasser Elsheshtawy2013

FIND : NYU Abu Dhabi / New York

FIND : NYU Abu Dhabi / New York
United Arab Emirates

A chart shows a minute-by-minute count of total number of users synchronized with the time-lapse video.

Time-lapse is a particularly useful method for capturing activities as they unfold over the course of a day. The end product is usually impressive showing a flurry of activities, the ebb and flow of a day’s rhythm, etc. For this project two cameras (A & B) were used — an aerial view vs. a street level view. The first requires a special tripod that can be extended to a height of at least 3 meters, and the second is a regular device whose height would be at eye level. Once settled on a locale within the space selected for in depth observation, several parameters had to be established to ensure consistency between shooting periods (for practical reasons it is not feasible to shoot all sequences in one day, but it is done according to a schedule, taking place over four Fridays). These parameters were: location within the space; height of tripod; camera angle. Location within the space was decided by physical features, drawing temporary markers on the ground, as well as taking photographs of the setup; the precise height of each tripod is determined by its specific extension units. Perhaps the most difficult measure was camera angle; a regular tripod head would not suffice since the camera needs to be independently positioned using different movements. Therefore a 3-way tripod head has been used to allow for a precise positioning with specific measurement units, ensuring consistency between observation periods. The initial setup for the aerial shot was tested via a wireless connection linking the camera to a laptop computer, enabling viewing of the observed scene. Once all of this was established, the actual time-lapse began. Both cameras were equipped with a timer programmed to shoot every 5 seconds for an hour (a total of 720 frames); this was repeated for the next 2 hours so that one session covers 3 hours in total. A soundtrack was recorded independently for respective time-periods and overlaid with the time-lapse to convey a "sound-landscape" of the space.

Image created by Yasser Elsheshtawy for his Winter 2013-2014 FIND Fellowship project “Terrain Vague: Interstitial Spaces Inside Abu Dhabi’s Central Area”


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