off the record
Martín García Almeida
The city in motion
We went up to the rooftop of our hotel to film a time-lapse video and discovered something we hadn’t noticed before.
Time-lapse is a photography technique we use in some of our Passenger6A videos. It is very effective. It shows changes that happen so slowly they are scarcely perceptible to the human eye. Changes like cloud movements, or shadows advancing over the façade of a building as the sun moves across the sky. To film a time-lapse video of Santiago, we found a privileged spot: the terrace of our hotel, a 28-storey building, which afforded a 360-degree view of the city. Other essential elements required to perfect the technique include a clear sky, a spectacular backdrop, a late afternoon and a box of very cold, ideally freezing, beers. What we are capturing moves very slowly and so it takes a long time – usually several hours – to record. It is another way of observing a city we have spent the day exploring.
What we are capturing moves very slowly, and it takes a long time to record it.
We built the image around several fixed elements: the snow on the foothills of the Andes, the tower of the San Francisco church - one of the few colonial buildings found in Santiago - the Costanera Center, and the main crossroads. With these immovable objects fixed in place, the eye then notices the continual movement of everything else. From up high we saw things that had previously gone unnoticed: the rippling waters of the swimming pools crowning many of the city’s buildings, the blinking of car indicators, lifts going up and down, and people going in and out of the underground. And that was when the city took on a different appearance: it had a heartbeat; it was alive and in motion.
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