For a while now, we’ve been working on a big timelapse endeavor that we’ve codenamed Project 360. Project 360 is a global geographical ecological space time perception project using a modular timelapse capture framework to generate footage and organize it—curate the footage in assembled sequences—for understanding and appreciating Planet Earth and all its inhabitants. Why 360? All timelapse clips in the project will consist of 360 frames at 30 frames per second.
We’ve got a real name for it, but that will be revealed once we get the project website up and running. For now, check out a quick demo video!
As we continue to explore options and features for the 360 website and platform, we’re also putting together a prospectus page to give a bit more information and generate interest from potential contributors from around the world.
For now, here’s a bit more info about the project in its current iteration.
Once we have solidified the 360 capture framework and published the procedural model and relevant instructions we can begin crowdsourcing footage from all over the world. These 12 second clips can be uploaded to the 360 website and cataloged based on any number of variables and semantic/descriptive elements.
Once the 360 library has been populated with enough clips, we can begin the curation assembly process. There are options for expressive or explanatory voiceover narration and scoring or selecting music to blend with the visuals.
During capture, there are lots of opportunities for variation on the theme within the confines of the 360 frame limit.
From a more thematic creative perspective, why do a global collaborative geographical ecological space time perception project? What can be captured within 360 frames? What is the art and the craft in service of the science, and how does this become consilience? What’s the right balance of real time compression to best illustrate a sense of place narrative, especially based on varied atmospheric conditions? How does it affect our perception and interpretation? How does it affect our understanding and appreciation of complex ecologies and the associated scientific inquiry?
How can we use the art and craft of 360 timelapse frames to inspire people, to help them learn, to help them understand and appreciate the complexities of our world? Can 360 help people change their beliefs and behaviors? This is the story, yet to be told.
Here are a few still frames captured from the demo video shown above. We’ll walk through each one to help explain some of the technicalities of Project 360.
A one second interval covers 360 seconds in 360 frames, or six minutes of real time, compressed into twelve seconds of footage. We’re quite pleased with the impromptu capture of steam rising off the road! It’s a section of the Blue Ridge Parkway, in case you’re curious…
A two second interval covers 720 seconds in 360 frames, or twelve minutes of real time, compressed into twelve seconds of footage. We haven’t done much experimentation with macro flower timelapse footage, but we thought these windy shots made for an interesting chaotic movement.
A three second interval covers 1,080 seconds in 360 frames, or eighteen minutes of real time, compressed into twelve seconds of footage. The black and white snow accumulation footage really does make the contrast between snow, stormy skies, and trees stand out, right?
A four second interval covers 1,440 seconds in 360 frames, or twenty-four minutes of real time, compressed into twelve seconds of footage. We think this is the best interval rate so far for those hazy, milky “solid cloud blanket” skies that happen fairly regularly up here in the mountains.
A five second interval covers 1,800 seconds in 360 frames, or thirty minutes of real time, compressed into twelve seconds of footage. This particular clip shown in the still frame made us want to spend more time on the edge of rainstorms to see what sorts of natural distortions we can engage with when raindrops randomly spatter the lens filter. Don’t worry, we put a jacket on the camera!
A ten second interval covers 360 seconds in 3600 frames, or sixty minutes (one hour) of real time, compressed into twelve seconds of footage. Again the black and white really pops here, and you can compare the cloud movement in the 10 second interval to some of the shorter intervals to see a difference in how things are captured.
Here’s another thing: with the 360 framework, the math of time intervals and real-time compression work out nicely, at least once you get to the ten second interval mark (where 360 frames = 3600 seconds = 60 mins = 1 hour). So a ten second interval covers one hour of real time, a twenty second interval covers two hours, and so on. That means you can remove the trailing zero and easily calculate duration plans for any 360 timelapse capture.
A twenty second interval covers 7200 seconds in 360 frames, or 120 minutes (two hours) of real time, compressed into twelve seconds of footage. This is where you can really start to see pronounced shadow movements from the sun’s angle change relative to the position of the surface of the earth.
A thirty second interval covers 10,800 seconds in 360 frames, or 180 minutes (three hours) of real time, compressed into twelve seconds of footage. In the clip referenced in the still frame above, we love how the dissolve between the meadow shot and the “solo sun” shot matched up so well. And again, those lens flares!!!
We’re quite happy with the way the lens flare from the final 30 second interval clip framed up so nicely with the temporary project title graphic. We always enjoy shooting into the sun to play around with lens flares!
We certainly want to recognize the work of Ben Erlandson of Erlandson Photography for his contributions to the 360 project as visual composer for all timelapse clips captured so far. Check out his still photography work whenever you get a chance!
On that note, we’re excited to move forward with continued funding requests and residency applications to be able to launch this project officially into reality, allowing us to open up the project for submissions from other creators. Stay tuned for the official website launch and be ready to join the community!