After watching the Henry Jun Wah Lee's incredible timelapse of the Perseid meteor shower, I was inspired to find the best timelapse videos on the internet. A cinematography technique where each film frame is captured at a rate much slower than it will be played back, timelapse makes us feel as though life is moving past us at blinding speed. Though many people use timelapse to show nature at work, I wanted to showcase something different. These ten videos were selected because they make us appreciate incredible parts of the world, in all their unique beauty.
#10 Madrid, Spain
Aside from the text, which can be a bit distracting, this timelapse video shows off modern day Spain. It begins and ends showing clips of a plane, making you feel as though you're taking a trip, or at least watching a fancy tourism commercial. Take in Madrid's museums, gardens, bars and clubs in one fast-paced film that might inspire you to pick the vibrant city as your next travel destination.
#9 Tokyo, Japan
You not only get to ride a train through Tokyo, you also get to see a mega metropolis in all its nighttime glory. Stefan Werc shot and edited this crisp film which even captures planes coming into the city (at 1:56). Music is Broadcast 2000's Get Up and Go.
Philip Bloom shot and edited this short film about Dubai over five day and nights. In Sky, he shows us the beauty and grandeur of Dubai's desert as shadows shift across the landscape. Best part? Look for the amazing scene where Bloom uses a tilt-shift lens to shoot the hotel swimming pool as it changes from day to night (2:51 to 3:16). Music is Xibalba by Clint Mansell.
#7 Monument Valley, UT
Monument Valley, the region of the Colorado Plateau characterized by a cluster of vast sandstone buttes in Utah, was a place UK-based Philip Bloom wanted to visit his entire adult life. Inspired by the opening and closing shots of John Ford western movie “The Searchers,” which featured Monument Valley, Bloom knew he had to one day see the place for himself. Armed with five cameras, he shot this incredible footage and then shared, in detail, his whole experience in an accompanying blog post. The video is quite long, so watch from 2:40, if you're short on time.
#6 California/Arizona Desert
Dan Eckert takes us on an amazing journey over the California and Arizona deserts. Watch closely and you'll also notice a very interesting segment. In one scene, he shoots while moving forward through the desert, snapped a single photograph every time he took a step.
#5 Tiananmen Square, China
Watch China celebrate its 60th Anniversary of the People's Republic of China with a parade in Tienanmen Square. Using both timelapse and slow motion, Dan Chung created this masterful video for the Guardian. See tanks roll through Beijing in honor of celebrating communism in China.
#4 Yosemite National Park, CA
This incredible video of Yosemite National Park was shot by Henry Jun Wah Lee in late May of 2010. Lee guides us through some of Yosemite's most remarkable destinations like Cook's Meadow, Bridalveil Falls, Nevada Falls, El Capitan, Yosemite Falls, and, of course, Half Dome. Favorite part? When the morning fog magically blankets Half Done. This video is beautifully set to Coldplay's Life in Technicolor.
#3 Eyjafjallajökull in Iceland
After seeing a lot of mediocre pictures and video of the volcano in Iceland, Sean Stiegemeier felt compelled to do better. With the airline industry in total chaos, it took him four days to finally get close to the volcano. Add in another four days for the weather to cooperate and finally Stiegemeier had his moment. For the next day and a half, May 1st and May 2nd, he captured this amazing footage of volcano Eyjafjallajökull.
#2 US Southwest
This epic video is just a clip of Tom Lowe's upcoming, debut film "Southwest Light." If this clip is any indication of how his film will be, Lowe's got a runaway hit on his hands. Look for Lowe's interesting camera angles and notice how his music choice adds so much mystery and drama.
#1 Earth From Space
Unlike the others, this timelapse video doesn't come with music that helps set the mood. But that doesn't matter because none of the others show timelapse of our Earth from the international space station. We have Oregon State University alum Don Pettit to thank for capturing the earth from day to night from an incredible vantage point.
Which one was your favorite? (If you have your own favorite timelapse video, feel free to add it in the comments section.)