For Joe Capra – otherwise known as Scientifantastic – resolutions can’t seem to get high enough. Remember how he explored Rio de Janeiro in 8K? Or how about this breath taking 12K (!) time-lapse of his hometown Los Angeles? Resource Travel has been keeping a close eye on this artist’s work ever since discovering those gems, and his latest project just rewarded us for doing that.
Even though Capra claims he did not shoot Pano LA “to achieve the extreme resolution,” it does come at you at a whopping 10K x 4K resolution. But more importantly: it’s a panoramic time-lapse, something that had been op Capra’s wish list for a long while.
It has been the most ambitious, challenging, demanding, and rewarding project I have worked on to date. It was shot over a period of two years entirely in true panoramic form using two synced DSLR cameras side by side.
But Capra didn’t want to fake it, he wanted to do a proper panoramic time-lapse. No cropping off the top and bottom of a one camera time-lapse, but stitching together images from two synced cameras. Even though he had already given it a failed attempt many years ago, he decided to give it a second shot when a client contacted him for some panoramic time-lapse shots of LA. The client eventually disappeared, but Capra kept shooting, and it paid off.
Simply cropping a single camera shot on the top and bottom does not give you a proper panoramic field of view. It’s just not a true panoramic image. Take any single frame from my video and divide it in half, then crop off the top and bottom, and see how it compares to my original shot. Its nowhere near the same. You need to take multiple frames with a single camera, or use multiple cameras and stitch the images together to get a proper panoramic image.
Why are you so fascinated with pano?
There is just a different look you get when shooting panoramics that you don’t get with regular photos. I just love how the wide format allows you to really get a better sense of the scene and environment.
Aside from being technically extremely challenging, Capra doesn’t think panoramic time-lapse shooting is all too different from shooting other, regular time-lapse films. Like always, people were kicking his tripod and standing right in front of his lenses, cars were blasting headlights into the cameras. No wonder it take him quite a while to capture everything he wanted in the way he wanted it.
First, it took me a lot of time to do my location scouting. I had created a huge list of potential locations, and for every one of them, I wanted to check if I could actually get the shot I was looking for. I would sometimes have a specific shot in mind, only to find out that there was no way to get that shot when I actually went to the location. Once I scouted all the locations, I would go back with cameras and start shooting. As usual, it was all about timing, weather, and light, so I had to make multiple visits to all the locations to get a compelling shot. When I got a shot that worked, I would head back to the office and start the post production, which actually took most of my time. I was out shooting, scouting, and processing images almost every week during the two years.
Did you experience anything particularly astonishing during those two years?
The shots like the most are the fireworks shots taken on 4th of July. It is truly amazing how crazy this city gets on the 4th. The entire city and surrounding areas light up with thousands of fireworks lasting into the late night hours.
Capra keeps us in suspense when we ask him specifics about future projects, “but I have a few ideas up my sleeve.” To discover what they are, and to admire some of his past work while you wait, head on over to his website. If you’re more of a social media kind of person: you can find the artist on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.