One year in 2 minutes

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And vote this one UP on Reddit here.

One year in 2 minutes from Eirik Solheim on Vimeo.

Link to video on YouTube. Visit The Philter Lounge to download and listen to more amazing music by Magnus Gangstad.

Update: By popular demand. Both from the comments and from twitter. The version with no zoom-effect.

Link to video on youtube.

The story

Since 2005 I have done different projects documenting the change of the seasons outside our living room window. The first project was a couple of stills taken with a compact camera. The video I made got nearly 100 000 views on YouTube. Not much today, but this was in 2005…

The next video I made was done in 2007 and with a Canon 400D. Based on stills shot at irregular intervals. That video got more than two million views on YouTube, one million on Vimeo and was featured on CNN, The Weather Channel, NHK in Japan and countless other TV stations, web sites and exhibitions.

In 2009 I documented the changes with video clips shot with my Canon 5D Mark II. The three videos I made are closing in on one million views and have also been featured on TV, in commercials and music videos.

But none of these three projects have been a true time lapse. They’re not videos based on a camera that has snapped images at regular images all through one year.

The true time lapse

I placed my old SLR in our window in january last year. Hooked it up to our home server and gave it power through an adapter. Then I used software to control the camera. It has snapped one image every 30 minutes for one year now. Both the Mac and the Camera was hooked up to a UPS as well. I have lost a couple of images due to some computer crashes and camera crashes. But in general the system has been remarkably stable and given me more than 16 000 images to play with.

The first thing I did was to make a still image showing a whole year.

The system

The camera was my trusted old Canon 400D with an EF-S 10-22. Used for several years before I bought my 5D Mark II. I mounted it on a special shelf and covered it with black cloth to avoid reflections in the window. I actually glued the camera to the shelf to make sure it wouldn’t move for a year. Then I did some test shots and ended up with ISO400 and f6,3. The exposure time was set to auto along with the white balance.

I decided to shoot both RAW and high quality JPG. The only problem I’ve had with the camera is a couple of crashes while it was transferring the image to the computer. Something that could only be solved with a complete reset of the camera. Not turning it off and on again. But cutting the power completely and power it back on.

And at this point it’s time to thank my family and all people visiting us during this year. We’ve had an SLR in our living room making a clear shutter release sound every half hour for a year…

How I made the video

One of the things I wanted to do was to make a true time lapse. The first video is the two minute version that you saw at the top of this post. It’s made of images shot during the day all through 2010. First I added all the images to Apple Aperture. In general I prefer Adobe Lightroom, but I couldn’t do all the time based selections and searches I wanted in Lightroom. So, I used Aperture to select images. I exported all images taken between 0900 and 1400 because I wanted daytime images only for this video. Then I imported them to Lightroom to do some adjustments. Better white balance, some sharpening, lens correction etc.

Then I exported all the images as TIFF to a folder. To make a movie of all the stills I imported them to MPEG Streamclip and exported a QuickTime using the lossless Apple Intermediate codec. That huge 3888×2592, 30fps video went into Adobe Premiere CS5 for finishing. That’s where I added the music, text and slow zoom. Because the original image is very high resolution I could do a digital zoom even on the 1920×1080 video I wanted to make.

The downloads and commercial use?

You can download the full quality video on BitTorrent on Mininova.

It is licensed with a creative commons license. Meaning that you can use it for whatever as long as it is non commercial, you give me credit and you share any alterations with the same license.

I’ll also make a full quality version with no available for purchase to the people that want to use the video commercially.

What about the night shots?

I am working on a video based on all the images. Nine minutes in total. The geek version. That will feature images from both day and night.

How can I support your work?

Register at and push the button at the bottom of this article.

Or send me something on my wish list:
– a Canon EF 100mm F2.8 L Macro IS
– a Fujifilm FinePix X100
– or maybe a Canon S95… ;-)

Hahahaha. That last idea was kind of stupid. Can’t think of anyone that would do that, so even better: Spread the word and protect the environment. If we destroy mother nature she will stop producing wonderful stuff like this.

And follow this blog, @eirikso on twitter and my YouTube channel to see what projects I start this year.

One year in 2 minutes

One year in one image

Follow me on Twitter if you want to know about my projects before everyone else: @eirikso

Update: the videos I made from the same footage is here.

I’m currently working on a new time lapse project. Not a sort-of-time-lapse. But a true one. To put it short: I’ve had an SLR camera in my window at the same spot for one year. Snapping an image every half hour. Resulting in some pretty nice time lapse videos I’ll post here in a couple of days. But first a still image.

The resolution of the 16 000 images I now have from 2010 are 3888×2592 pixels. So I selected 3888 images snapped during the day. Then I got some generous help from my blog readers and twitter followers. To make a script that would take one line from the first image, the next line from the next image and so on. Jo Christian Oterhals, Nikolai Kristiansen and Aslak Helles√ły provided complete code for the solution.

I used the script from Aslak and made the following image:

You can click it to make it bigger.

It shows one whole year. January at the left and December to the right. You can clearly see that we have a pretty long winter and a decent summer here in Oslo, Norway.

The spring and autumn are both quite short.

It would have been nice to make an interactive version of this image. Where you could mouse over and get info on exactly when the image providing the line was taken. And maybe also bring up a thumbnail of the complete image. Maybe I’ll post all the 3888 images and hope that someone will make a solution like that…

I have now posted the full 3888 resolution image on flickr.

The diversity

Light and timing are some of the most important factors in an image. I have huge amounts of images snapped at the exact same spot. With the exact same focus point and the same f-number. The only thing that have changed is the season and the light. Bringing diversity like this:

But now I have some amazing videos to finish… :-)

One year in one image

One year worth of images give some amazing videos

I made three new videos of 2009 with my 5D Mark II last year.
One year in 40 seconds from Eirik Solheim on Vimeo.

So far I’ve made two videos of the images I describe in this article. The one here at the top and another two minutes version. Read on to learn how I did this, to see the other video and to download the videos and images in high quality. And if you want to watch this video here at the top in HD quality you have to click through to Vimeo.

The story

Back in 2005 I did an experiment shooting images out of my window for one year. It turned out pretty cool and in the end of 2007 I decided to do the same. But in much better quality.


So I started shooting images with my Canon 400D. From the same spot each time, but not through my window. I found a spot outside that gave more or less the same framing each time I placed my camera. So, I went out on our balcony snapping some images at pretty irregular intervals all through 2008 .



Each time I snapped the following images:

3 exposures @10mm (Canon EF-S 10-22 F3.5-4.5 USM)
3 exposures @17mm (Canon EF-S 17-55 f2.8 IS USM)
3 exposures @55mm (Canon EF-S 17-55 f2.8 IS USM)

All images shot in RAW. The three exposures where: normal, +2 EV and -2 EV.

In addition to the images I decided to record some audio at the same place. Using my Canon S2 IS and my Canon HF10 I recorded simple background sounds trough 2008 as well. Not with exact connections to each image. More with a focus on getting audio from winter, spring, summer and autumn.

All together giving me a pretty decent range of material to put together some experiments.

Then what? The videos…

Link to this video in HD on YouTube.

At the top of this article you find a 40 second version that show one year. Using the 10mm wide angle images. Right above you find a two minute version made from the 55mm zoomed in images.

First I used Photomatix to make HDR images of the ones I decided to use. Mostly because the HDR effect makes the images flat so that the difference in light and shadows won’t disturb the transitions in my video.

Then I used Photoshop to align all the images. Placing the camera manually at the same spot each time won’t give the exact same spot. So I needed some fine adjustment. Photoshop does this. Here’s how:

First load the images you have chosen into layers by using “File->Scripts->Load files into stack

When you have found all your files make sure to check “Attempt to automatically align…

Give your computer huge amounts of time and get back when it has finished. Now Photoshop has adjusted all the images and put them on separate layers in one file. The next thing you have to do is to crop the image. Because of the adjustments the images are not the exact same size. A crop will do the trick.

When the computer is done cropping you export the layers to files. “File->Scripts->Export Layers to files

Now you have a folder with a bunch of images with the same framing. I decided to do simple dissolves between them.


And ended up with a project in Final Cut Express that looked like the image above. I didn’t want one dissolve at a time. I wanted to make some kind of flow where one dissolve is taken over by the new one before it is finished. As you can see from the timeline my dissolves overlap.

The free downloads

First of all: please comment here or contact me if you use the images. I’ll link to all cool projects made from these files!

All the images are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 license. In other words: Use them non commercially as long as you give me credit and as long as you share the work you do under the same license.

For commercial use please contact me. Or you can simply buy non exclusive royalty free use by purchasing the full quality file here: OneYear40seconds1920x1080.30p.H264.mp4
It’s $99,- and the money will be spent on hosting for my projects.

For commercial use of the full quality non branded still images you can buy the complete package of high resolution stills here:


And where are the files?

10mm wide angle aligned HDR images in this flickr set.
All the images from that Flickr set in a ZIP file.
55mm zoomed in aligned HDR images in this flickr set.
All the images from that Flickr set in a ZIP file.

The audio as WAV in a ZIP file

40 second movie, 8 mbit/s H264, 1280×720 25p
Two minutes movie, 8 mbit/s H264, 1280×720 25p

But I know what I’m doing and want the full resolution RAW files to make something really cool!

Please comment here or contact me and I’ll provide you with what you want. RAW files, video footage, more audio from the same spot etc…

Whats’s next?

Eh. Well. I just upgraded my camera to a Canon 5D Mark II. Giving me a possibility of getting even higher quality footage from this nice view of some trees… Guess I’ll snap some images on my balcony through 2009 as well. :-)

One year worth of images give some amazing videos