Recently, I spent a day experimenting with Time-lapse photography in Dupont State Forest for my feature film “Seven Days ‘Till Midnight.”  Michael Gibbons of Michael Gibbons Media (http://michaelgibbonsmedia.com) and Ryan Atkins joined me on the journey into the forest and we spent about 14 hours hiking and photographing the landscape.  Most of my hope on this trip was to play with some different techniques that I’ve been contemplating over the past month with regards to utilizing the time-lapse photography in my next film.  Gibbons has a 6 ft motion controlled slider that automates the dolly action of the camera at a predetermined speed and when matched with the frequency of exposure of the camera, can result is some awesome time-lapse photography that will help define the tone and feel of “Seven Days ‘Till Midnight.  All of the time-lapse photography was shot on a Canon 7D.


(These are all test sequences intended on proving the concept and potentially being included in the final film.)

We spent the afternoon and evening in the Cedar Rock area of the park that is a gorgeous bald rock exposed on top of a mountain that feels as if it belongs in another world.  There we captured a variety of shots including a sunset, shot on a 12mm lens at ISO 160, f13, shutter 1/100, capturing 1 frame every 11.7 seconds and traveling a total of approximately 68 inches that resulted in a total of 526 separate images. The video duration has been increased to 299%.

We finished out the night with a static shot of the Big Rock Trail after the sun had set.  With our camera framed on a mix of night sky and the trail, we lit the area with two Micro Pro Lite Panel LED’s set to their lowest output and shaped the light to grace across the foreground ever-so-slightly.  We then shot the sequence on a 16mm lens at ISO 1250, f4, with a 15 second exposure and captured 1 frame every 25 seconds. Unfortunately, we had already been in the woods for 12 hours and just as the moon was cresting above the tree line we decided to pack it in for the night.  Having seen the footage now, I can not wait to get out on another full moon night and capture the moon light illuminating the forest as the stars dance through the frame.

I’m becoming increasingly confident that Seven Days ‘Till Midnight is going to be special and unique visually as elements like this time-lapse photography is going to add a whole new dimension to the film.  Learn more about the film at sevendaystillmidnight.com

Photos taken by Ryan Atkins

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