The Sandpit from Sam O'Hare on Vimeo.

“The Sandpit” is a stunning, tilt-shift stop-action reflection of a day in New York City. It warms my heart, especially, as a lot of it is the world steps from where I live and work (which, by virtue of all these tall Manhattan buildings, I can’t actually see — maybe I’ll run this thing on continuous loop on a small screen here). Definitely watch it in HD.

A day in the life of New York City, in miniature.

Original Music: composed by Human, co-written by Rosi Golan and Alex Wong.

For full details of how “The Sandpit” was made:
“The Sandpit” – A short film by Aero Director, Sam O’Hare! [Aero Films]

Of course, part of the reason the tilt-shift “gimmick” continues to work is that our brain really is hard-wired to perceive depth and scale in certain ways. It’s a reminder of how vital those elements are to all production of visuals, whether we willfully ignore them and take viewers in a journey into flatland or employ them to our own ends. See also the work of Keith Loutit, below (or more on Keith’s Vimeo channel), among countless other examples.

Aside from scale of the image, though, stop-action and timelapse can, naturally, compress time.

Helpless from Keith Loutit on Vimeo.

This video happens to land in my inbox just as a discussion is going on the Bl mailing list (a small interactive community) about the technique of timelapse. That leads to a number of other examples, each an interesting meditation on time and photography themselves – and thus absolutely appropriate here.

What happens when you compress an entire year:

One year in 40 seconds from Eirik Solheim on Vimeo.

Images from the same spot through one year. Audio captured at the same place. All details on how this video was made, another video of these images and a place to download all the footage here:

The images are creative commons licensed and available for you to download and play with.

(I could imagine someone doing interesting stuff with those images with Processing / OpenFrameworks.)

A performance example (there’s something about NYC and time, apparently):

Fashionably Late For The Relationship (2/8) from R. Luke DuBois on Vimeo.

Part 2 of Fashionably Late For The Relationship, a film by R. Luke DuBois of a 72-hour continuous performance by Lián Amaris that took place in Union Square in NYC in 2007. Cinematography by Toshiaki Ozawa. Music by Todd Reynolds and R. Luke DuBois.

And I think most interesting conceptually, here’s a video that extends the idea to choreography (the video that started the Bl list discussion):

Here the Nothing from gloobic on Vimeo.

A timelapse dance video. Etude No. 1 in a series of studies in sound and movement.

Choreography & Dance…..Eric Gunther
Director of Photography….Jeff Lieberman
Editing………………………..Eric Gunther & Jeff Lieberman

Syncing to a music track played through headphones at quarter speed, the dance is exactly four times slower than the action around it. This is idea I’d love for other people to steal – erm, borrow – and continue to develop, as it could lead to all sorts of places choreographically, musically, and visually. Thanks to Jeff Lieberman and Kyle McDonald for all of these links.

Of course, I don’t intend this to be a comprehensive guide to timelapse. That’d be, well, impossible – like doing a blog post on “videos.” But I do find each of these videos suggests its own directions for further exploration.

Now, if only we all had the ability to slow down time, we’d have the time to explore.