It would certainly not be far-fetched to say that Rob Whitworth’s skill for time-lapse photography is a cut above the rest. Each time he releases new work, it sends the photography community into a buzz of delight, just like his latest offering. Named Barcelona Go!, it is an exceptionally creative time-lapse video. It is the usual that we have come to expect from the genius of Whitworth, where perspectives will range from visual first person, on-the-ground points of view, to soaring aerial vistas of the colorful and eclectic Barcelona.
No doubt this is first class technique. It is seamless in execution, and will have you pondering on the production logistics involved. And of course it certainly helps a great deal to have a gorgeous subject like the city of Barcelona.
For good reason and as can be seen, Barcelona is among the top economic, tourist, cultural-sports centers and trade fair/exhibition locations. Its influence in education, entertainment, commerce, media, fashion, science, as well as the arts all add to its reputation as one of the major global cities. Barcelona is the capital city of the autonomous community of Catalonia in Spain in addition to being Spain’s 2nd biggest city.
In Barcelona Go!, for just over 120 seconds, Whitworth immerses you into the heart and soul of the city, traversing streets and alleys as well as majestic interiors of great architectural structures. From the Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya, Sagrada Familia, Museu D’Historia De Barcelona, cobblestoned streets, fantastic aerial panoramas plus many more locations, it is a stunning body of work that Barcelona city officials can surely smile about.
Barcelona Go! is accompanied by the animated audio background work of Slava Pogorelsky, completing the total hyperlapse experience.
We chatted with Rob briefly and this is what he had to say about the project:
We’ve seen a lot of time-lapse videos over the years, but “Barcelona” is in a league of its own. How did you manage to capture the city from such incredible vantage points?
The location access was made possible by the Catalan Tourism board. Getting good locations is key to making a good video so I was very lucky to effectively be given the keys to the city…. Well the government owned bits at least!
The other key to this video was getting a good overview of the city, and working out how to link the different locations together. There are so many spectacular locations in Barcelona it was actually a challenge working out what not to include to keep the storyline tight.
Barcelona is a beautiful city to walk through – I wanted for the camera to take the place of a person adventuring through the streets and sights.
Can you tell us a bit about your workflow? Do you have any behind the scenes photos of your setup?
A lot of work is done in post sat at a laptop so I’m not sure if behind the scenes photos will really add much. Just imagine a guy, a couple of Macbook Pro’s and some empty coffee cups!
My workflow has grown over the years so now storyboarding has become key. The first few days on a shoot don’t actually involve any shooting rather checking out locations and writing down ideas.
Once the storyboarding is complete the shooting can begin… and then it’s just a matter of delivering to the plan. Of course weather and changes in access can involve modifications but it helps me focus on what is important.
As regards to post production I primarily use After Effects and Lightroom. LRTimelapse is also an essential tool – particularly for removing flicker.
From day 1 to the finished product, how long would you say it took you to complete “Barcelona”?
I keep track of the time I work on projects so I can give you a pretty accurate answer to this.
363 hours work in total
75 Hours Logistics and Travel
31 Hours Scouting and Location Finding
78 Hours Shooting
179 Hours Post Production
The 363 hours would be 9 weeks work if I worked an 8 hour day for 5 days each week – but this project was completed in around a month.
During the project I created 26,014 Camera Raw Files and then a total of 817gb of data.
You described “Barcelona” as a fast moving short film in your vimeo description. What made you decide to take on this approach vs. your typical time-lapse video?
The key for me is to tell a story in the most beautiful and engaging way possible. Time-lapse, hyper lapse etc are merely techniques used by video makers to realise this goal. I like the call the way the Barcelona vid works as ‘flow motion’. The cool thing is there is so much potential with the advances of technology, and then being lucky enough to get access to stunning locations. It’s a lot of fun. I like to think of new ways of doing things for each new project.
One of the other photographers on the project, Pau Garcia Laita, created a tilt shift movie which I think is really quite something – one of the best tilt shift movies I’ve watched to date. I think it has a beautiful story – and also made me and my wife want to go to visit Girona ourselves.
What can we expect from you in the coming months? Are you currently working on any new time-lapse videos? Have you chosen your next location?
It’s all been crazy busy. So actually a few weeks before the Barcelona shoot I was in Pyongyang North Korea with JT Singh (who I worked with on the Shanghai vid.) This is set for release within the next month, we’re just finalizing the music but it’s pretty exciting.
With regard to shooting next big project is going to be in Dubai at the end of the year. I can’t say much at this stage but I think it’s going to be spectacular.
“What Cezanne did for apples, Rob Whitworth does for city traffic” – Robert Krulwich – National Public Radio (NPR)
Rob Whitworth is a prominent urban filmmaker. He is responsible for creating awe-inspiring videos that reveal locations in a powerful and compelling manner. His works instantly identifiable style has gained widespread critical acclaim, and received over 3 million online views.
During 2014 Robert has been working on a number of major projects including shoots for the upcoming ‘One Planet’ series for the BBC Natural History Unit, a viral video of Barcelona sponsored by the Catalan tourism board, a short promotional film documenting McDonalds entry into the Vietnamese market, a city video of Pyongyang, North Korea, and a 30 second introduction for a Chinese language blockbuster film.
Originating from the UK, Robert gained his first-class honours degree in Photography from Norwich School of Art & Design. He is currently based in Shanghai, China and has extensive experience working in and around Asia specialising in time lapse.