The Power of Story Elevates a Time-lapse to a New Level

I’ve seen a lot of time-lapse films. In the past few years it seems like there’s been a surge of them. (I love the opening to Netflix’s original series “House of Cards” by the way). You can have all kinds of time-lapses. Ones with movement. Ones without. Time-lapses of the city. Time-lapse of nature.

If you’re a time-lapse photographer, I suspect one of the biggest challenges is how you set yourself apart? Perhaps you become an expert of timelapses in a particular area. Perhaps you become an expert at nighttime timelapses. Perhaps you become known for time-lapses done with a tilt-shift. Whatever you do to set yourself apart, it’s really got to stand out, otherwise how do you distinguish yourself from the thousands of other time-lapse photographers and filmmakers?


Well, a month or so ago I came across a timelapse film that did just that. It was originally brought to my attention by Planet Mitch when I guest hosted on Carl Olson’s Digital Convergence Podcast. The name of the film is “Mountains in Motion” by The Upthink Lab. It it takes timelapse to a whole new level.

Once Again, The Power of Story Prevails

What makes “Mountains in Motion” so special is that it combines timelapse photography with other forms of the filmmaking medium. But it does it in a way that it fully integrated into the story. In other words, it’s not just a short film that has a timelapse thrown in. There is no doubt that the meat of the film is the timelapse itself. But it integrates an original story that is woven into the fabric of the timelapse. They play on each other. The timelapse could work by itself without the story, but it is elevated to so much more with the narration and the characters.


The Comfortable Silences

The original score by Michael Wynne is truly terrific. I’m sure you can sit and listen to it for hours. It helps make the film what it is. But I also love how the film uses silence. There are times when that beautiful score subsides and you just hear the mountains and the whisper of the wind. It adds to the pacing that helps carry you through the film. It’s a great example of how to use silence in storytelling.

How Are You Being Different?

If you haven’t already seen this, take some time to watch it. Then ask yourself, “What am I doing to make my work stand out and be different?”

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