Guest post by Paul Raftery:
The Shard film is my first time-lapse project, conceived as a collaboration between myself as an architectural photographer and videographer Dan Lowe over a couple of beers. We picked the UK’s tallest building as a suitably ambitious project and set out on a big learning curve.
Dan and I met by chance after I was commissioned to shoot the Commonwealth Institute in Holland Park in London and he was also shooting Holland Park. We discovered we’d studied photography at the same college albeit at different times and decided to create a film combining our skills.
We wanted to really explore The Shard photographically, using the same aesthetic that I would when shooting stills. The right positions, the right time of day and of course the right lens – tilt and shift mostly.
As I began work, the search for the perfect composition and perfect light now included a time element: the perfect shutter speed and perhaps more importantly, the timing between frames. One shot every two seconds seemed about right.
But we wanted to produce a more rigorous piece of a work than just a collection of nice shots and so we had to decide on the structure, length and feel of the film. Two minutes seemed about right and we would follow the building through the course of a day.
The way the building sits in the London landscape and responses to the ever-changing London weather became a central theme, to the extent that we decided that we would frame The Shard centrally in every shot so as to emphasise its form and shape.
My work shooting architecture meant I had a pretty good idea of the best viewpoints and in some cases access to high points in London already arranged. That was a great help – but still the process was painstaking! Slowly through many hours of shooting and waiting for the right weather we started to get some workable footage.
The images were processed in Lightroom, and then opened in Quick Time as an image sequence. Sometimes my inexperience showed and I had to reshoot, but the structure proved workable and we felt confident enough to approach the design and architecture magazine Blueprint to host the video.
Dan did the editing and the grading and George McLeod kindly composed a score. With just a few hours to spare we were able to get the video to Blueprint in time to coincide with their June Shard issue.
Canon 5D mk2
17mm Canon tilt shift
24mm Canon tilt shift
45mm Canon tilt shift
90mm Canon tilt shift
70-200mm Canon zoom