American in Spain

My Neighborhood in Miniature

April 18, 2008

It won't surprise my regular readers to learn that, as soon as I learned about tilt-shift photographic effect, I immediately set about thinking of how to make a tilt-shift timelapse movie. It would be nice, of course, to be able to set up a webcam in Times Square and tilt-shift that, but, alas, I live in a small town in Spain, and I only have one street that I can look down on at an appropriate angle. But the sun was out yesterday, so I set up my camera on top of two stacked bar stools (I don't have a tripod yet) pointing down at the street outside my house. My camera took a picture every 15 seconds for two hours and seventeen minutes, resulting in 548 RAW files. I optimized the exposure settings and loaded them all into photoshop, 100 at a time, sized them down to 800x600, ran a batch tilt-shift action on them, and saved them as jpegs. Then I loaded them into Quicktime as an image sequence, saved it as a movie and put some titles and music with iMovie. And voila! Things to watch for:

  1. The sidewalk on the left gets wet somehow at the beginning and then slowly dries.
  2. In that same spot, several cars park very poorly.
  3. Two women on the right spend a good part of the second hour talking on the sidewalk, first in the blurry distance, and then by the lamppost.
  4. See the clouds reflected in the cars' windshields?

revver(825651) This video is also available on YouTube, Yahoo, Metacafe, Google, Revver, DailyMotion,, Veoh, Crackle, Stupid Videos, Sclipo and Viddler.

I actually learned about this tilt-shifting stuff from a timelapse video on Flickr. I've also done a tilt-shift on one of my favorite photos on Flickr. It's a shame that I didn't remember it for the last post, because it's absolutely perfect for this visual effect.


Not bad, huh?