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Spotlight: An October Collection of Time Lapse and Other Motion Projects

By David Schonauer   Thursday October 29, 2020


Nothing captures the march of time like time lapse.

But time takes many shapes. Today’s collection of videos features, for instance, captures time across a changing urban landscape and across the vastness of the cosmos.

Photographer Keith Loutit spent 988 days between 2012 and 2020 shooting thousands of different perspectives on the island nation of Singapore, notes PetaPixel. Using the huge number of photos he shot, Loutit created a five-minute time-lapse video showing how Singapore’s skyline changed over eight years.

“When we pass by landscapes they appear fixed in time but they change around us constantly,” Loutit notes at Vimeo, which chose his video as a Staff Pick. “Singapore has gone through an incredible change over the past 8 years, and I have tried to capture as much of this change as possible.”

Loutit notes that he created the video from over 3,300 matched shots.

Meanwhile, NASA recently released an awe-inspiring video created with images made by the Hubble Space Telescope. The 30-second video shows an exploding star, or supernova, in a galaxy 70-million light-years from Earth—a celestial even outshining every star in its galaxy and unleashing the energy of five billion Suns.

“Though stars explode at the rate of one per second in the vast universe, it's rare to get a time-lapse movie of one fading into obscurity,” notes NASA. The images captured by the Hubble Space Telescope were part of a program to measure distances to galaxies. “This yardstick is needed to calculate how quickly galaxies appear to be flying apart from one another, which in turn provides an age estimate for the universe,” adds the space agency. 

The titanic explosion, which briefly outshined the entire host galaxy, originated from a white dwarf accreting material from its companion star, notes NASA, adding, “This pileup of gas eventually triggered a runaway thermonuclear explosion, making the dwarf nature's own atomic bomb.”

Meanwhile, Dr. Adrian Smith is still looking at bugs. Smith, an assistant professor at North Carolina State, has his own YouTube channel, called Ant Lab, where he shares slow-motion videos of insects — last month we spotlighted his video showing the takeoff and flight sequences of insects spanning 8 different taxonomic orders.

His latest video features tiny insects called jumping plant lice, or psyllids, which, he notes, are “the fastest front-flipping insect” on the planet.

Jumping plant lice may look like typical garden pests but they have a remarkable ability not seen in any other insects, notes Laughing Squid. When faced with having to make a quick escape, the psyllid is able to flip its body at a remarkably fast rate. Smith measured the flip rate to be anywhere from an incredible 212 flips per second to 389 flips per second.

“They haven’t been filmed in much detail before, so I spent a lot of time filming them in slow-motion, macro detail because people should know how awesome these bugs that might be in their backyard are,” notes Smith.

To capture this clearly on camera, Smith had to film sequences ranging from 3,200fps all the way up to 14,000fps.

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