What 4 1/2 Hours Of Landings Would Like In 30 Seconds [Video]

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Ever wonder what it would look like if every plane landing at a busy international airport during a span of 4 1/2 hours were to attempt to do so in a 30-second time period? Probably not, and that is why you received a “C” in philosophy in college.

San Diego-based filmmaker Cy Kuckenbaker did, so he set up his camera at San Diego International Airport on November 23 and made the above video to show what exactly it would look like.

For those of you wondering how he did it, he told PetaPixel.com in an interview that this had nothing to do with time-lapse as many had speculated.

The concept is simple: shoot the individual planes flying across a pure blue sky, then chroma key the blue out as if it’s a green or blue screen leaving only the plane behind. Then put them all together on a video timeline. I did some tests and discovered that it didn’t work well if there were trees in the edges of the frame so scouting good locations took the most time. I watched the weather for a cloudless day then sat in a park and shot every plane that flew over. I locked the camera (Canon 7D with a EF-S 17-55 f/2.8) on a tripod and shot the planes with 1080p video at 24fps with an exposure I’d tested the day before (50/s, f/13, ISO 100) that would keep the sky deep blue with no blowout for a good chroma key.

To give the video a sense of temporal change as the planes fly by I did an 8 hour time-lapse under a bridge nearby shot at the same angle and composited it over the planes. Without it there’s no sense of time passing. I used an intervalometer to shoot about 800 images with the same exposure as the video. Once I had it posted as a regular video clip, I keyed the sky out of it as well. I put everything together in Adobe Premiere, which challenged my system since I needed 40 video tracks to stack all the airplane clips together. The last piece was to put a new sky back in — a still image with depth and clouds that’s panned using key frames in Premiere.

[Landings at San Diego Int Airport Nov 23, 2012]

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