Monday, 21 March 2011

My Daily Commute in Time Lapse

This is the route I take every day from my room beside the beach to the Tangalle office of AdoptSriLanka where I work.

I wanted to record my journey and thought I'd try something slightly creative. The walk is 15 minutes but I decided the whole film should last a sixth of that - or two and a half minutes. I could have used the video on my camera and speeded up the replay but then everyone and everything would appear to be moving incredibly fast, which is not Sri Lanka in the remotest! With the "time-lapse" method that I've used, speed of movement does'nt seem excessive.

It's something I had intended playing with in India but, because of the off-road track, the camera would have had to have been hand-held, no doubt using the optical viewfinder, and therefore very conspicuous. And, the variation in height would probably have meant the shots were extra jerky.

With my method of strapping the camera to the bike at least the height variability is all but eliminated. And strapping it near my right hand on the handlebars meant I could operate the shutter as I walked along without anyone noticing. By the way, adhesive bandage is perfect for this task :)

The camera used was my old compact Canon A700. The shots at the beginning and end were taken with my Nokia 6300 - a basic camera-phone, and the music is by Morcheeba - a British band, playing Caribbean-style music, in Sri Lankan urbanness. The music and 300 or so photos were assembled using Windows Movie Maker.

When I uploaded to Youtube I was informed that the music was subject to copyright (which I knew, but at this point it was only a temporary experiment) but then it said I didn't have to take any action and that maybe some adverts might be associated, or maybe not. So far so good but we'll see how that goes...

Part of the idea of it being deliberately low-tech was that then teachers or students could make something like it themselves even with a very basic camera-phone or digital camera. I know that most gadgets these days do video too but I still like this clunky effect!

It's not meant to be serious and there are things I could have done to improve it but I'm quite happy with it as it is. I hope you like it too!

Linked to from Nicole Dalesio's Digital Storytelling On The Go website


  1. I love this, Clive.
    When I first looked at it (without the blogpost explanation) I didn't realise what you had done. The setting is interesting, the process fascinating, including your reason for not wanting it to be highspeed!

  2. Thanks for dropping by and commenting, Edna. Glad you liked it more second time around, once you understood the thought processes behind it! It was fun to do. Amazing how I could just walk along and take a photo every three or so seconds, and no one even noticed! It was one of those little projects at the back of my mind but the thought that I might leave Sri Lanka before trying it encouraged me to stop procrastinating. I was also put off by the thought that there'd be loads of editing to do afterwards (like aligning the shots) but actually I think it's OK without any!

  3. Clive, I checked out your commute video (just for fun, as you say) only to learn that you work at AdoptSriLanka. While I see that working with orphans is only part of what this organization does, it's something that is very close to my heart. We adopted two of our three daughters, and I volunteer at a local orphanage here in Suzhou.

    The universe is a pretty interesting place, don't you think?

    Take care,