Last week I came across this video—a beautiful compilation of footage from around New Zealand, featuring some spectacular scenery across public conservation land.
Check out New Zealand Timelapse Presentation and the interview with the film maker, Bong Bajo, below!
Interview with film maker Bong Bajo
Name: Bong Bajo (from the Philippines)
What inspired you to make this video?
I’m a photography enthusiast. My forte is landscape photography. I remember seeing great shots of New Zealand and, ever since, it has been my dream to capture New Zealands’s grandeur using my camera. And since I haven’t seen many timelapse videos of New Zealand, I decided to focus my photo shoot on capturing timelapse.
What was your favourite filming/photography location?
I’m into landscape photography, always in search of locations with great scenery. In New Zealand, Mount Cook National Park was the best location for me. There were lots of areas to shoot. I loved those huge moving clouds—the lenticular cloud over Mount Cook—and their change in colour after sunset. The alpenglow was also great. Actually, I regretted that I never had the chance to explore all locations. I’m definitely coming back.
What part was the hardest to capture?
Tasman Sea on the West Coast was challenging. The Motukiekie formations area was a good spot for photography, but the ocean swell was crazy. For a few minutes, water was low, then all of a sudden it rose to waist deep. Very dangerous.
What do you hope Kiwis take away from your video?
You guys are blessed with an immense and very diverse landscape. You should be proud—show and share this to the whole world. Save them for future generations to enjoy.
How long did this take you to make?
It was a 15-day trip. I wish I could’ve stayed longer.
It took me over a week to edit the timelapse video, including the photos.
Apart from the timelapse, was there much post production work?
Much work was done on converting photos into videos. Colours were already in the shots, although they were enhanced a bit, since I was shooting some scenes in RAW. The secret to shooting the right colors was to wait for them to come out naturally. This means waking up early in the morning to hike and catch sunrise colors. And shooting at sunset up until the twilight colors come out and disappear.
In timelapse photography, it’s important to get the photos right during the shoot, i.e. the right exposure and color, because it’s going to be hard editing each photo in post production after taking thousands of shots.
How did you create the star trail images?
The beauty of timelapse photography is that it can make slow moving objects appear to move faster. Stars do move (relative to the Earth – because of Earth’s rotation). In order to capture the movement, I took timed shots of the stars; one shot for every 30 seconds, for one to two hours. Then, I put each frame side-by-side in 30 frames per second. That makes the effect of moving stars in the video. For the still image of the star trails, I stacked all the shots using software from startrail.de. That put together all the shots of the stars in one frame.
At times the camera was panning at the same time as filming. How did you do this?
I wish I had dollies and cranes to make my camera move. However, I packed so much equipment (three cameras, five lenses, two tripods, and lots of accessories), that I didn’t have an extra hand for dollies. I only used tripods (non moving).
I created the panning and zooming effect in Adobe Premiere Pro. Since my raw material (photos) were shot in 12 to 18 megapixels, I could crop on them easily without losing the quality of 1080p HD (two megapixels per frame only), and move that frame in the photo as the video was being rendered. Imagine having a huge photo, cropping a frame on the left, and moving that frame to the right as the video is being rendered. That makes for the panning effect. Next time, I’ll bring a crane :).
Thank you for this opportunity to share my experience in New Zealand. You say that New Zealand is “the land of the long white cloud” and indeed it is, as I experienced it. But, for me, it is also a land of immense and diverse landscapes. And there’s no exaggerating that. The timelapse presentation will show you why.