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SYFY WIRE Bad Astronomy

Time-Lapse: Into the Atmosphere

By Phil Plait

Michael Shainblum is a photographer who makes exceptional time-lapse videos. His video âExistenceâ was spectacular, mixing the contrasts of urban and natural settings to great effect. Plus he turned me on to Daft Punkâs Tron Legacy soundtrack.

I was very excited when my pal (and accomplished photographer himself) Brad Goldpaint posted on Facebook that Shainblum had another video out. Called âInto the Atmosphereâ, it does not disappoint.

You know the drill. Full screen. High-res. Volume up.

Yegads. The scenery! The colors! I like the music, too.

One of my favorite things to see in these sorts of videos is contrasting motion; the camera moving one way, the stars another. Shainblum uses this beautifully here, including clouds moving in yet another direction to give a dizzying sense of the interwoven motions of nature. When he cuts to different shots he mixes up light and dark, blues and reds, fast and slow apparent motion, and it somehow all comes together into a poem. When, at 2:30, the music swells up again, and he cuts to the Milky Way moving behind a natural stone arch, I actually choked up a bit.


Thereâs more to this story, too. Thereâs an interview with Shainblum on YouTube, a behind the scenes look at this video, where he talked about his influences and how he shot some of the footage. Itâs well worth your time.

And as satisfying as it is to see this, I have to admit Iâm greedy. I already canât wait for what he makes next.

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