It’s finally done! I've been working on this timelapse film for several months now, and after many ups, downs, starts and stops, "Dominica on the Move 3" is ready for release.
If you didn't know this about me, I love using the photography technique known as timelapse as a medium for storytelling. This will be my sixth 😲 timelapse project and it's the one I am most proud of. (Here are links to the others. I made so many mistakes in these older films, can you spot any?):
The unique representation of time is what always gets me. One second in regular viewing time may have required 30 seconds to record, or in the most extreme situations, 30 minutes! This means that scenes change very quickly in a timelapse sequence. You experience the world in a fast-forward, dream-like state. Except for maybe some type of psychadelic drug, only timelapses can do that!
This film is about Dominica, and I first started capturing footage in July 2020, just as COVID-related curfews and restrictions were rolled back. Over the course of four months I was able to capture all the images I needed.
Note: my timelapse films are produced by capturing individual images in sequences of 100 to 400 at a time. These images are then strung together so that every 24 images becomes one second of viewable video footage.
With this timelapse film I sought to create something different from my previous projects. It needed to do more than just show off Dominica's natural beauty; I also wanted to incorporate the human element, to showcase life on the island.
I also wanted the visual experience to be fast-paced, so that the viewer feels like she's always on the move. This is in stark contrast to my previous projects. Comment below to let me know which style you prefer - fast paced or slow.
Dominica is one of the most beautiful countries in the world and I'm very happy to release this film. I am already excited about making another one to incorporate features and locations absent from this one, but in the meantime, please enjoy "Dominica on the Move 3".
For licensing of HD or 4K footage, please contact me at email@example.com.
Duration to shoot: approx. 4 months
Post-production: 3 months
Footage: more than 20,000 images
The way I use sound in my timelapse films has evolved over the years. Initially, I would spend hours auditioning different soundtracks. The soundtrack would play throughout the film and sets the tone and mood, so it was important to be intentional with that decision.
By the time I worked on my Clouded Series, I had discovered the usefulness of environmental sound effects, to create texture and depth in the film. Those, in conjunction with a soundtrack, could create a full experience for the viewer.
However for this project, I decided against using a soundtrack throughout the entire film. For that reason, the sound effects needed to be very engaging, and I used them to create a convincing environment for the viewer. Let me know what you think about the sound effects by leaving a comment below.
- For the first time, I recorded and used a few of my own sound effects in this film. That said, the majority of what's heard comes from sound effect libraries I sourced online.
- The technique known as layering (different sounds played at the same time) is very important in creating a believable sound environment. At various points in the film, I layered up to 8 individual sounds in order to create one cohesive reality.
- I probably spent more time in the field taking shots that failed than shots that actually succeeded.
- Compared to previous projects, I actually tried to plan out this one. As such, I don't have as many unused sequences as I've had in the past.
- Despite my planning, I had no idea how I would introduce the film until I sat down for post-production. I settled on the opening shot because the trees reminded me of a gate and then Breve's song "Welcome to My Island" jumped into my mind. At that point, everything just clicked!
- My decision to use Breve's song in the introduction forced me to consider this; "should I use other songs in the film, and if so, how would they be incorporated?" Eventually (literally at the last minute) I decided to repeat style used during the introduction... tuning a radio to find a new song.
Note: Ultimately, I was unable to use Breve's song and replaced it with "Waitukubuli" (mentioned below). However, since I wrote this blog post before the change was made, I decided to add this information as an addendum to give a full picture of the process (edited on February 10, 2021 at 3:36 PM)
- I recorded footage in Roseau on three separate occasions and recorded sound on only one of those days. While recording in Roseau I got lots of long stares and funny looks, but no one said anything. In San Sauveur and Good Hope though, I got similar stares, but observers were quick to ask whether or not I worked with a telecommunications company or the Planning Division! 😄
- Footage with the cranes and the bridge (at 0:52) was actually borrowed from a 2018 project I did with a company working on the Layou Bridge.
- It's hard to tell, but the boys on the beach at 1:18 in the film were actually somersaulting and jumping off the tree stump. Their antics looked a lot more graceful in real-time!
- I have to confess that editing the images and then video footage for this project went much more smoothly that those of the Clouded Series. The main reasons? Dusts spots and birds. Meaning, I had none to deal with this time around!
- Dust particles often settle on your camera's sensor whenever you switch lenses. They then appear as faint circles, mostly in light-colored images. I made sure to clean my sensor regularly when shooting, to avoid wasted hours during post-production.
- Whenever the sky is in the scene, there's a chance to catch birds flying through. In the past I've spent hours editing them out, but this time I just didn't bother 🤷🏿♂️ I think they're hardly noticeable... did you spot any??
- At the 2:16 timestamp the song "Waitukubuli" by Don Carli kicks in. I chose that song because he's singing about the Nature Island and the scenery at that point in the video (rugged coastline of the southeast) just seems so uniquely Dominican. Here's a link to the full song: Don Carli - Waitukubuli.
- Did you notice the aerial timelapse sequences in the film? This was my first time using drone footage in such a project.
- Another new feature of this video is the inclusion of behind-the-scenes and unused footage. It's the first time I've done this but I hope it adds lots of value to the video.
Thank You for watching the video and reading this blog post.
I've added a few more images from unused scenes below that are not shown in the video. If you really like my content, you should definitely join my newsletter (at the end of the blog post).