I often walk the extra mile for a timelapse scene, but for this timelapse, I went even further than that. To be precise, I flew more than 500 miles (870 km) to the little Slovak town of Partizánske – to capture the most beautiful landscape!
Landscape of Partizánske -Slovakia- A Timelapse Film in 4K
Partizánske – A Timelapse Film
Photos shot: 7263 photos
Real Time Duration: 24h 38min shown in 4min
Upload & Rendering: 4096 x 2304 – Full 4K (Original material 7K)
Bitrate: 120 Mbps
Sony Alpha 7 R Mark I
Sony Alpha 7 Mark II
– Zeiss 24-70mm f4.0
Sony Alpha 6300
– Sony 16-50mm f3.5-f5.6
– 18-55mm f3.5-5.6
Digislider (carried in a bag for fishing rods)
3 different tripods
Adobe Lightroom 6
Adobe After Effects
Adobe Premiere Pro
MS Excel (for frame- & acceleration calculations)
….and a hell of time!
You can see all photos from all locations on my flickr account (new tab). There you can download them in high resolution.
It’s the hometown of my girlfriend and it’s turning 80 years this year, so we both decided to make a timelapse to show all the nice places to see there. Oh, and because it has the most beautiful landscape of Slovakia.
In the two weeks we spent in and around Partizánske, we visited a lot of spots which even my girlfriend hadn’t visited before, and we both enjoyed discovering the area a lot. However, when you have such limited time to create a timelapse (I usually take several months to work on my videos), not everything goes easy. We shot about 40 different timelapses, 33 made it into the final film.
It was perfect for a holiday, with only one rainy day (and we did even use that one for the wonderful scene with rain clouds over the corn field), but we did curse over it several times. Slovak summers can be very hot and sunny (which resulted in the most terrible sunburn I have ever had while shooting the scenes in a stone quarry), with very few clouds. Which is terrible for a timelapse photographer, especially if you’re shooting an object with little action (e.g. the little castle ruin in the woods) and you rely on the sky for the movement you need. We often spent too much time watching the sky and willing the little clouds to grow and move into the frame for the duration of the scene.
Usually our clouds in Düsseldorf or Nijmegen do move quite quick, I often have to choose an interval of 1 or 4 seconds. But here in Partizánske the clouds stayed at the same spot, for the first time I choose an interval of 10 seconds, sometimes even 12. A lot of shape-shifting clouds – I loved them.
Once again I used my most favorite weather page, kachelmann.de. There I used the weather model “German MOS” for the most accurate predictions. Because I need to know how many clouds (and layers) will be there and how high they are.
I used my new motorized slider for this timelapse, just like the latest Nijmegen timelapse. With its length of 1 meter it didn’t fit in the luggage, so I sent it with post. This cost considerably less than booking it as “bulky luggage” with the airline, and it all went fine. The prices for bulky luggage, depending under which category my slider would fall – ski equipment maybe – the prices vary between 60 and 100€. Sending it a week ahead with regular post cost about 17€.
I had less luck with my camera. My Sony A7II was broken, the backscreen was broken. I gave it for repair about 5 weeks prior to the travel. Yes, I know that is not much time, but the estimation was between 2-3 weeks, maximum 4 weeks. Well guess what: the camera wasn’t finished on time. Fortunately I was able to rent a similar model from the shop as compensation so I could still use it on the slider. For the time being I received the Sony A7R Mark I – the original camera of the high-resolution line of Sony. No fast phase-detection system, but for timelapses I work with manual focus anyway, so it didn’t matter. I was just happy to have a camera that I can use with my slider!
Oh and the repair took 9 weeks!
This one caused us about as many grey hairs as the uncooperative clouds. We lost a full afternoon and a lake scene because we hadn’t noticed that the camera stopped shooting due to a card problem, and when I set up the gear for a new scene, the sky was empty again and the whole scene lost its attractiveness.
Another evening was lost when the battery died halfway through a sunset (the final scene) and we had to climb the rock again later. My girlfriend was really happy to climb the steep hill in pitch black once again.
I still can’t wrap my head around the time I lost several (4!!) town centre scenes while transferring the photos to a hard drive – it took us several tries to recreate them but I still miss the original footage.
All scenes were taken as photos. We did not create any filmclips or hit the movie button on the camera. An external intervalometer tells the camera to take every few seconds a picture. The interval for a sunset can be for example 35 seconds, in the city with people maybe every 1.2 second.
With photos you can use long exposure and low ISO, even in the darkest night you can perfectly expose houses or buildings. Big advantage is also the high resolution, the Sony Alpha 7R takes 36 megapixel photos, that is 7K! The typical timelapse scene is about 8 seconds long, shown with 24 frames per second, means we need to take 192 photos – at least, sometimes it is good to have some buffer. All pictures were taken in RAW, especially for an interval of 1 second you need a high-speed SD-card, because the camera is about to dump about 35-40 Megabyte each second. That means one timelapse scene needs 10-14GB space. We shot more than 40 scenes. With different edits, the raw data of Partizánske needs some 740GB on my hard drive.
Oh and we’ve never left the camera alone, we sat next to the camera and talked, sometimes for hours.
The camera itself moved in most shots on a slider, a motion-controlled-slider. That means the camera moves a bit (few millimetres) stops and takes a picture, when the camera is done it continues moving. The camera needs to stop moving, because otherwise the pictures will get blurry during long exposure shots.
Despite some initial worries for our expensive equipment, we didn’t have any negative encounters with the inhabitants. A few people stopped by to ask what we’re doing, and were quite enthusiastic about our project. What I’d like to point out is the occasional lack of people. It’s a small town and it can be too calm sometimes. We planned the centre shots for weekends or during lunch break, so that more people would appear in the scene. Sometimes we went even twice there to find more people.
Still, I had to step into one of the scenes myself to fill it in a bit better – can you find me?
It was a great idea to rent a car, it saved us a lot of time for travel. But the two weeks was barely enough to create a product we can be satisfied with. We’d have loved to have at least one week more to be able to see and visit more, re-do some of the scenes and also just enjoy the time for ourselves. On the other hand, I have a feeling we’d still be chasing the last shots on the afternoon of the last day! Nevertheless I would still like to re-record some of the scenes.
Ideal is to scout an area before shooting an actual timelapse. It’s absolutely necessary to check for any obstacles that might appear: a street lamp that might shine directly into your camera, which you didn’t see over the day because… you know at day lights are off.
Some of the locations we found while we were driving to an another one, the shadows on the corn fields is one for example. We saw it, we stopped the car, we stepped out set everything up and hit record.
During this project, we made a new record in creating 8 timelapses within the same day.
All in all, despite the obstacles we had to face, we had a really great time! Slovakia has a lot to offer, we travelled around a little town for a full two weeks and still didn’t see everything there was to see. I come from a big city in a flat land, now I saw hills and mountains and villages in valleys, rivers and lakes, climbed large rocks to watch the sunset and saw many more stars right next to a town, than I’d see in the darkest forest in my home region. We didn’t come for the shopping centres, cinemas or swimming pools – we have those anywhere at home. The people in Slovakia grew up with the beautiful landscape around, it can become a boring every day view. Not for me, not for us as photographers.
All of this is shown in the timelapse of Partizanske, which is also a recording of the most active holiday I’ve had in a while. Enjoy!
You would like to contact us for using some of the timelapse footage? Or just general comments?
timelapse<at>john-beckmann.de (English, Dutch, German as contact language)
slovensko<at>john-beckmann.de (for Slovak as contact language)
Ps: We showed the timelapse to some of our friends prior the publication. The best response we got?
“Too bad, you had so many clouds”