Tag Archives: Night Sky

Blackout City

Blackout City

In a metropolis like London light pollution makes the night sky invisible. Only a few of the brightest stars and asterisms force their celestial light through the man made glow of the city. The night sky, one of the most beautiful of natural wonders is extinguished from view. Blackout City is an experimental timelapse film that makes the invisible, visible. It attempts to show what the night sky would look like If there were ever to be a total blackout in the South East of England on a clear, moonless, summers night.

I started shooting this project back in August 2013 and have been slowly gathering footage when conditions were right. Although each shot in this film is a composite, all footage is real. The city shots were captured during the day and processed to look like night and the night sky shots were captured from dark locations around the South of England to ensure that the stars are astronomically correct for the latitude of London. I have also processed the astro shots to be more sympathetic to what the naked eye would see in terms of saturation and detail. The internet is saturated with well-processed images of the Milky Way that show phenomenal colour that are the result of fantastic low light DSLR technology. Don’t get me wrong I love these images, I am one of the people who endeavours to create them! But in reality the Milky Way does not look like this; so in order to make this film more believable I have chosen to process the shots this way.

I first got the idea for the film when I read an article about a blackout in LA in 1994 where people called 911 reporting these strange clouds floating in the sky, those clouds where in fact the Milky Way. It made me think about how the lights from cities have made many of us lose our connection to the night sky. We live in a fast paced man-made world whereby it is all too easy for us to become disconnected from the natural world around us, isolated from what is actually real. There are many other aspects of the human condition that this film could touch upon which could make its’ intentions appear somewhat complicated, but is essence the film’s agenda could not be more simple; to inspire people to get away from the city lights, go somewhere quiet on a star-filled night and simply look up.

This project is purely non-profit but I would love the opportunity take the Blackout City idea to different metropolises across the globe as each city with it’s specific latitude will reveal a different sky. If anyone thinks they can help to make this happen please connect with me through the links below:

To see more of my work please visit: nicholasbuer.com
For direct enquires please mail me at: contact@nicholasbuer.com

You can connect/follow me on all the usual social media sites:
facebook.com/nicholasbuerphotography
instagram.com/nicholasbuer
twitter.com/nicholasbuer
500px.com/nicholasbuer

Main track is by The American Dollar ‘As We Float’ (Ambient)
Licensed at: theamericandollar.info/licensing

For motion control I used the Stage One Dolly System by Dynamic Perception
dynamicperception.com

© Nicholas Buer 2014

Cast: Nicholas Buer and Dynamic Perception

Moby & Mark Lanegan ‘The Lonely Night’

Moby & Mark Lanegan ‘The Lonely Night’

Music: ‘The Lonely Night’ by Moby & Mark Lanegan
Cinematography & Direction: Colin Rich (deer-dog.com)

In celebration of 2013’s Record Store Day, moby and Mark Lanegan have collaborated on an exclusive track to be released as a limited edition 7″ on 20th April. The Lonely Night 7″ comes backed with a remix from electronic music legend Photek and is being released on moby’s own label Little Idiot.

moby on collaborating with Mark Lanegan:

“i’ve been a fan of mark’s from his early sst records days, and i’ve always wanted to work with him. he has one of the best and most distinctive voices of the last 25 years. now that we live near each other it ended up being really easy working on a song together.”

moby on producing of The Lonely Night:

“…And in producing the song, spike stent and i incorporated some very unusual production techniques… we ran all of the instruments through a distortion pedal into a guitar amp. so really there are only 3 tracks: left channel through a distortion pedal and guitar amp, right channel through a distortion pedal and guitar amp, and mark’s vocals. The end result is intentionally very broken and atmospheric.”

Colin Rich a LA based director who specializes in time-lapse photography has been commissioned to shoot the video to accompany The Lonely Night. The video features both moby and Mark Lanegan and flits between the desolate and far removed terrain of the Californian desert and the endless electric city expanse of Los Angeles.

Cast: Moby and Colin Rich

LIVING ON

LIVING ON

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Venturing on a short TimeLapse journey to the Kalahari – South Africa, I was on a mission to put the Shukuma dolly to the test. This was the first time that I would actually do a full-on shoot with the Shukuma dolly, testing out all the features and functions. I would also get to shoot on the joined 3m rail. On top of this, I had the opportunity to use the Merlin Telescope Head for the first time and I was really excited about the shots I wanted to get.

After arriving fairly late in the afternoon with only two and a half days of shooting, no time was wasted to start setting up for the first shot. Generally TimeLapsing means no sleep but with this trip it was even worse since I used a paraffin lantern to light some of my night shots with. The surrounding grass was waist-high and a runaway veld-fire could start in seconds if I wasn’t careful or if a strong wind starts to blow.

My second shot was set up for some nighttime shooting, focusing on the Milky Way. When I was going to have a peak again towards the end of the shot I noticed the cart was already at the end of the rail so it must have just finished. When I previewed the last shot that was taken I was astonished with the results. My first proper Milky Way shot!

As time went by there was no time to rest – not for me, nor for the Shukuma dolly. As soon as the one shot was complete it was setting up for the next. Shot after shot the Shukuma dolly was always busy. I tested the rail in all angles you can think of, at various intervals and shooting at various speeds on the motor.

My findings while shooting with the Shukuma dolly was impressive. The rails joined together perfectly providing super smooth and consistent movement throughout the 3m length. It’s so easy to set-up the dolly, even when out in the bush, particularly with ease of movement of the tripods along the rail. I thoroughly enjoyed shooting with the Merlin Head and got some great results with it.

Being in a rural location with no electricity, batteries could only be charged from a generator or the inverter in the vehicle. Understandably with TimeLapse photography, there is always a battery to be charged. When one is flat or not in use, it is always on charge. I didn’t want to have any let downs of missing a shot due to batteries not being fully charged. In the end the Land Rover battery didn’t last! Just before departing the last morning I found that the battery has died. Thankfully there is a generator on the farm so I was able to charge the battery from there.

I took a total of 8990 images, taking up 63GB of hard drive space. In the end, a total of 2500 images was used to produce this reel.

SPECIAL THANKS TO:

Jonelle Louw:
My wife, my assistant and my own personal DOP.

Nathan Pilcher:
For letting me shoot with his Merlin Head. Awesome!

Herman van Deventer:
For final edit proofing and advice. You rock!

Music:
“Living is giving” by Mark Petrie – Vimeo Music Store right here on this site 🙂 vimeo.com/musicstore

Equipment:
Shukuma DOLLY in full force. Impressive! – timelapsesa.co.za
Nikon D700 / 20mm f2.8 Nikor Lens (manual focus)
Merlin head
Dynamic Perception’s MX2 Controller (Thank you very much Chris for allowing me to use and slightly modify this controller for my Shukuma DOLLY)

TimeLapse knowledge:
The one and only Tom Louw’s site: timescapes.org
Our good friend: Google

Software:
Adobe After Effects
Apple Final Cut Pro
Adobe Lightroom
LR TimeLapse – lrtimelapse.com (Thank you Gunther for making this software FREE and also doing this, I have been asking Adobe to build this into LightRoom for a long time now)

God:
For blessing me with some clouds in the day and clear skies at night!
For creating a majestical universe and breathtaking landscapes!
And of course for my talents to produce all of this.

Cast: Joe Louw