New timelapse short film “Sky”

It’s the end of my Dubai shoot. We haven’t got everything in the bag so I will have to come back at some point to finish it off.

One of the best things I did whilst here was move hotels on my own money so I could have a killer view to do lots and lots of timelapses. I moved to the new Atlantis Hotel on the Palm Jumeirah in Dubai. Initially I was on the 4th floor and here is what I put together of some of my timelapse tests last week.

I showed them to my producer and he loved them, I said it would be much better if I could be higher in the hotel, so he made a couple of calls and I got moved to the 18th floor where the views were spectacular.

I also went out and did some other timelapses, from the ground looking at the same buildings as i could see from my room. Of the world’s most expensive hotel, also some of and from the world’s tallest building.

Both my 5DmkIIs and my 7D were used as was my Lumix GF1 which was used for a large number of the shots in this piece including the star timelapses.

I was mostly in aperture priority mode. The second shot was done over 24 hours from my balcony and the camera took a shot every 15 seconds. The others varied between 1 second and 4 seconds. Mostly AV mode but the shot of the Burj al Arab and the one from the top of the Burk Khalifa I had in manual so when it got dark it looked dark.

When shooting timelapses I find I tend to throw away about a third of them as they don’t quite work. But I am getting better, learning from my mistakes. After all it’s only by making mistakes do you improve! I am using a plug by CHV for FCP called Long Exposure which evens out some of the flickering. It’s very cheap. I also graded this strongly using Magic Bullet Looks. Don’t forget you get 20% off of MBL from by using the code Bloom20

Lens wise I used the 70-200m F2.8 Canon. 16-35mm F2.8 Canon. 24mm F3.5 TS Canon, Tokina 11-16mm f2.8, Panasonic 20mm f1.7, Olympus 17mm f2.8, Canon 24mm F1.4, Sigma 10mm Fish Eye

I mostly shot aperture priority mode to cope with the light change Sometimes in manual. You don’t need expensive cameras to do this. The GF1 is a cheap camera and there are even cheaper ones out there like some of the powershot series with built in timelapse. It’s great fun, very boring to shoot but ultimately the most rewarding.

GF1 in action

Shooting on the world's tallest building

The world's most expensive hotel!

I must say that I really had a lovely time here. I enjoyed Dubai much more than last time. Big thanks to all the crew. To Arun, thanks mate despite the accident! Ryan, Elie. To Ian for hiring me again and to Graeme for being the jolliest man I have ever met.

I want to dedicate this film to Sky Vasser, daughter of my friend Vanessa Vasser whom I worked with on “Nightshift” who died at a tragically young age. I only met her a handful of times but she had enormous personality that I will never forget. My thoughts are with you Vanessa.

Sky from Philip Bloom on Vimeo.

Filmed in Dubai over 5 days and nights.

Shot on the Canon 7D, 2x5DmkII and one Panasonic GF1

Made in memory of Sky Vassar who died recently at a tragically young age.

Thanks to Media Prima and Talkabout Media


  1. Great video, I especially liked the really long shot looking over dubai from your hotel window, the fog looked amazing.

    Did you have the camera set up in a room separate to the one you were staying in? I would have though you would gotten a bit annoyed with the constant shutter noise throughout the night! Also you wouldn’t be able to turn on the lights because of reflections.

    I want to try some of these out but my Olympus E500 doesn’t have any good way that I know of to add an intervalometer. The problem is that the only way of triggering it is by IR. I might try and work out some kind of hack to work around it, but I would need to leave the camera permanently on ready to receive an IR trigger.

  2. jeepers creepers that was your best timelapse so far! Some beautiful images…i was in Dubai a few weeks ago…only the airport!!
    yesterday someone mentioned a plug in called NEAT VIDEO on one of your comments, I then bought it online…99 dollars and it really works for removing noise and artifacts in general, from old vhs right up to RED footage…it is worth investigating. Thanks as ever, Julian

  3. WOW! That was absolutely amazing! I loved all of them but really really enjoyed the shot down on the pool and the fisheye of the big building! Great work as always that must have taken a ton of hours!!

  4. i really enjoyed this movie and was anticipating to see the end product of your dubai trip..
    i loved the burj alarab shot, it was really just right…
    also nice work on the flickering and the color gradings..

    I hope on your next trip you could get the footage you need, and perhaps shoot something in Abu Dhabi 😉

    Abdulla, Tokyo

  5. Those are some awesome timelapses. I especially love the ones where you can see the the stars (or rahter the earth) moving in one direction and the clouds in the other. I have to start playing around with some timelapses again on my 7D…so worth the wait when you get shots like that.

    Quick queston about your gear: I can see you are using the Glidetrack Shooter. Are there any advantages to getting the Shooter (the one with the “handles”) over the regular SD Range without any handles?

  6. Hey Philip,

    These are beautiful, thanks for sharing!

    How do you keep proper exposure for the segments that move from day into night? Also, do you just hang out near your camera the entire time so no one makes off with it?

  7. Mesmerizing Mr Bloom!

    Absolutely beautiful. I think it’s fair to say you’ve nailed the timelapse as a form with this piece.

    Can I ask if you’re still shooting with a flat picture profile? The blacks in this are so beautifully glossy. I realise you’ve graded it with MB,but I’ve yet to achieve the glossy blacks you have with this night footage.

    Funny as I type this I realise I’m asking an irrelevant question as they are still images. Douh!

    Would love to hear your opinion of picture profile settings for the Canons irrespective.

    A very fitting tribute to the loss of a friend.

  8. Gorgeous images Philip. You’re becoming quite proficient at timelapse photography.

    For those shots that transition from day to night or vice versa, do you manually adjust the exposure as you go? I’m curious because if you’re doing very long exposures to capture the stars for instance, once the sun comes up your image would be blown out.


  9. Inspiring, as always. Have you considered playing with the motion-tracking telescope mounts (micro-stepping motor) to add another dimension to your stunning work?
    What do you do to kill the time while the camera clicks away?

  10. Sorry to bug you about this again, but still having trouble here with my own time lapse / FCP setup.

    What are you using for your easy setup and sequence settings when you bring the mov over from QuickTime?


        1. LOL The sun rises are different closer to the equator than they are here in the frozen north which are more angular and closer to the horizon. Twilight lasts longer.

          At first I thought you crossfaded to avoid flicker issues. I had sigificant flicker in my first attempts but that was greatly reduced with software as well.

          Another issue I experienced was white balance changes, Doh! I left AWB on.

          MSU Deflicker works great for PC users to remove flicker as a plug in for VirtualDub.

  11. Some very cool time lapses in there!

    One suggestion, turn your frame blending off if you’re going to change the speed of your shots in post. That feathery, transparent frame blending artifacting ruins a couple of otherwise good shots.

  12. Like the other folks said, absolutely beautiful! The framing of the city reflected in the water was priceless. Reminds me of one of those 1980’s large scale oil paintings of a futuristic space port. I guess the score made me think of that too. Like your bound for someplace off-world and you won’t be back for a while. A lonely feel.

    Wow, it’s late, I need to get to bed. Starting to get delirious. Have a safe trip home.

  13. WOW absolutely stunning, especially the way the shadows shift across the landscape and the tilt-shift lens shot of the swimming pool lighting up. What an amazing looking place as well, it looks more like a city of 2030 than 2010.

    GF1 – nice camera for the money. Did you use the F1.7 lens wide open or stopped down for extra sharpness?

    For one 5D Mark II you could get 3 of those GF1 kits and speed up the process of making timelapses.

      1. Well thats the beauty of the timelapses pieces – you don’t need an expensive camera to produce a video like this.

        The GH1 (not sure about GF1) has a nice trick up it’s sleeve which helps for timelapses, and you don’t need to wear out the shutter by taking photos…

        I use the 720p video mode. Post V1.1 firmware update. Manual mode and manual focus. Now you can have shutter speeds as low as 1/2 in video mode. No need for external remote control intervalometer. This is great for timelapses.

        Even shooting video at 1/10 gives a huge light boost compared to 1/30 or 1/50 required for smooth video. But 1/30 speeded up by 300% afterwards will of course look like nice smooth timelapse video footage.

  14. i’m sure you’ve mentioned this in your blogs before, but what do you do for hours on end while filming a time-lapse scene, especially when on location away from the comfort of your room? do you bring along a folding chair and a recent “book of the month” or maybe book of the week in your case? or do you sit in your limo drinking Champagne counting all you money? you or one of your colleagues should shoot a bts/making of. i envision a parody of what might actually take place. it’d be interesting to see.

    i noticed in your stills that you use a small/short “slider”. is that how you achieve your push ins or are those done in post?


    1. most of them are left unmanned, well the long ones in my hotel room…cleaner mucked up one by closing curtains covering cameras. i put do not disturb on next one. the others take about an hour or so. I tend to go into the lotus position and meditate…or just go on twitter and fiddle with my iphone!

      I think we could make a parody. lots of us will be in Chicago at weekend so may make funny film then!

      Sliders are for video only. Push ins for timelapse are all in post

  15. Hi Philip,

    In one word: beautiful! It gives me a feeling of timelessness.

    I only just started doing time-lapses with my EX3 (don’t have a proper DSLR yet and deciding between 5Dmk2 or 7D) and I only started to realize how difficult it is to do properly. And I imagine it is even harder with DSLR!


  16. Philip have I done something to piss you off? I don’t know how I would have done this but in the last 12 months I think I’ve made two posts to your blog and by the looks of it had both of them removed, or at least removed by your moderator.

    I’m happy to apologise if I need to for something,but given that we don’t know each other, and that I post so infrequently I don’t know what exactly I could have done. If my posts were objectionable I’d understand, but I’m pretty sure they were innocuous enough.

    Hoping you can enlighten me.

    Adrian Price.

    1. not at all Adrian. Only seen your recent post which just approved. Was on plane back from Dubai so wasn’t able to approve it. I mod everything and only delete rude comments. You haven’t done anything wrong!! YET!! 😉

  17. Amazing video Philip!

    How did you do timelapse on your Canons? I have a 7D & my girlfriend has a 5DM2 (very lucky, I know) but I haven’t found any camera function to do interval shooting. I’ve done it in the past w/ a Nikon. Were you just clicking away with a stopwatch, or did you have it patched into your laptop? Please let me know… I’m very curious as to how to accomplish this!

    Thanks so much for all your great work!!!

    1. hi Nick. stick in timelapse in search engine on my site and it will bring up all you need to know including post…also check out blog from about 5 days ago all about timelapse. tells you what you need for canons…P

  18. Outstanding. I’ve started to play with longer exposures for motion blur of people in daylight, trying to create swathes of motion and color without being jarring when played back at 24fps. Soundtrack was very fitting to this too, The Fountain was a visually beautiful film.

  19. WOW…Phil that was awesome, never seen Dubai look so majestic…makes me want to go out there and shoot some stuff by myself…Now if I can only get those permissions…

  20. Fantastic as always. Quick question, for the day to night shots I know you use app. priority but what do you do for white balance in camera? It seems like they start in daylight then go to incadecent. Or do you shift the color balance in post?

      1. hey Philip,

        quick question about white balance. i’ve seen you say set it to manual, which is all well & good, but you’re not there to change it on a 4 day time lapse, so have you found a good color temp. that works for those long day to night shots?

        also, when you say you’re changing in post, are you changing the white balance in magic bullets?

  21. Brilliant – very epic / powerful shots…
    Awesome dedication piece.

    Couple of Q’s:

    What lens did you go with for the city night shots ?

    – they look fantastic..
    How did you manage focus? – city seems amazingly sharp yet the water seems crisp and detailed.

    2:17 shot – Burj Khalifa ? – would love to have seen that shot go into the night!

    and yes – love the fountain and its score – perfect choice.

    If you had more time or next time you go – some out of city / wildlife / desert time-lapses would be wicked (I imagine the city lets out a fair amount of light / smoke – which inhibit clear star viewing)

    Keep em coming Phil – Tom better watch out… 😉

    1. thanks.

      long exposures and aperture set to around f4.

      Unfortunately that shot from Burj Khalifa was set to manual and being watched by my assistant. I actually didn’t think we would be allowed to be up there as long as we were so the shot just went black.

      Problem with those lovely star timelapses is they take HOURS to do each one…planning on doing some in the US over the next two months. I didn’t have a car was restricted to locations we were shooting at or my hotel room!

  22. Hi philip,

    great job ! I have a question about the GF1 (and the GH1).
    is it possible to lock the shutter in order to save the curtain ??

    excuse my poor english.

  23. Very beautiful piece. Meditative and tranquil to watch, even with all the activity of the cars and night time cranes. I love how taking away ambient sound and replacing it with a piece of music can just totally transform a visual experience. I was imagining that something like this might have been paired with an Arabic-techno track for a completely different effect. As it is, this is a touching memorial tribute. Very respectful. Thank you for sharing this!

  24. Hi Philip,
    I’ve been following your work for some time now and must say I’ve learned a lot from you, here on your website, your vimeo and the other sites you co-founded. Thanks! I recently acquired a 7D and have been blowing my mind with it, looking forward to buy a glidetrack and a viewfinder to improve my videos!!
    So, I’ve been trying some timelapses on my own (made one with a EX1 and with the 7D, wich looks much better) and I’m facing the flickering problem you comment… didn’t try the CHV plugin yet, though. I still don’t have a intervalometer but I managed to control the camera through my mac using the EOS Utility, but the interval has to be 5seg minimum…
    Now here’s something I’ve wondering about: I might have to do a 24h timelapse to show on an event in a very wide screen, I was thinking of putting 3-4 cameras side by side and shoot the timelapse in sync and create a huge horizontal timelapse in post. But since I don’t have 3-4 cameras, I’m trying to find out if it will work and test whatever I got to test with my 7D alone before I go and rent all this equipment… do you think it might work?

    Sorry for the long comment, and thanks again for all the info you have been sharing on the web for all of us around the globe

  25. Philip,

    Been following your work for a long time; I’m often inspired, but ‘Sky’ takes the cake for “whoa”-factor. Fine work my friend, all the best, JB Jr.

  26. thank you very much for the amazing video!

    I always wanted to try these but didn’t give me enough inspiration.

    After I watched your video I decided to give it a shot with my sony alpha dslr.

    Of course I will get an intervalometer but I’d like to know if I need to set a focus as manual.

    Sometimes I will leave my camera with the intervalometer on so I am sure camera will focus on something differently each time especially objects are moving.

    What do you suggest? Should I use manual focus all the time?

    What is the downside of using manual focus?

    thanks for your time

  27. Great time lapse shots and as always – beautifully edited together. You do have an exceptional feel for musical timing.

    I have on technical question. Are you sure you used the CHV Long Exposure plug-in to even out some of the time lapse flickering?

    As far as I can tell, this plug-in adds motion blur to moving objects. I can’t see any way to even out exposure.

    Thank you so much for keeping us updated on all your journeys and learning endeavors. It’s priceless!

  28. Breathtaking video, as always.

    Just a question on the music – I know, a little off topic, but do you pay a fee to use a track like that or because it has no commercial use you can use it for free?


  29. Great work.

    I’m intrigued about the quality of the air at that desert location as the distant images appear ‘sharp’.

    Was there any pollution other than the occasional sand storm?

  30. Philip, let me ask you my question again –

    How does the CHV Long Exposure plug-in help with the flickering?

    It’s a plug-in to create motion blur in moving objects. If you’ve found an inexpensive way to even out flickering on the Mac, please let us know.

    The (very expensive) Sapphire plug-in S_FlickerRemove doesn’t work that well, IMHO. I have the whole suite on my Final Cut Pro work edit station (I am an editor) and wasn’t impressed with that particular filter.

    As many people, I am looking for a de-flicker plug-in to put on my personal MacBook Pro with Final Cut Pro.

    Thanks in advance.

  31. Very nice timelapses mr Bloom.

    Did you manually take photos each 15 sec or is there an auto function or designed mechanism to shoot with 15 sec interval?

  32. Beautiful work Mr Bloom. The music and the graphic images work beautifully together. A very fitting piece to dedicate.
    You’ve inspired and really got me falling in love with my job again.
    Many thanks mate.

  33. Hi Phillip,

    Your sky video is one of my favorites. How were you able to zoom in while timelapsing? Was that done in post? Any response would help. Thanks

  34. Inspiring stuff. Puts my attempts to shame, that’s for sure!

    When you make it back to Dubai, give me a shout and I’d be delighted to take you around some interesting locations.



  35. incredible, blown away again.
    you said: “Filmed in Dubai over 5 days and nights.”
    i’d like to know, how do you backup your material, you must have a mountain if gigabites left over each time you make a new movie???

  36. Hi Philip,

    This is one amazing video. The music is quite dramatic, but these images match the mood perfectly. I especially liked the pool-shot with the skyscraper shadows ‘creeping in’. Very inspiring! Thanks for sharing.

  37. hi philip, thanks for sharing.
    can you tell me the setting of TC80? i mean the setting of self timer, interval, long & frame to make sun rise.

    and how to make one day timelaps? frame in tc 80 only 99 maxs. did you push the trigger every time when it
    reach 99 frames and do it all days long?

    i’ve done some timelaps for my sunset river trip in borneo. its my first try. i set in 2 sec in long & intreval, 99 in frames. i hit the start button every time it stopped. maybe i hit for 5-6 times. but its not work. can you teach me?


          1. thanks philips. you are the best. i will try soon. so i’ll set on 00:00:00 (self) – 00:00:15 (int) – 30:00:00 (long) – 00 (frame) to make all day long lapse. is it correct?

            now, one question again about editing. i use mbp unibody, using quicktime player 7 hidden in the utilities folder like you say, i’ve followed your tutorial & from photoframd, but still not working. always stack in exporting. quicktime error while exporting. can you tell me why?

            thanks before.

  38. There’s a beautiful stillness in the timelapse and slight zoom in draws me into the visuals even more. The shadows overtaking the swimming pool from the birds eye view is genius and tilt shift lens. One word, Stunning!

  39. Фантастически красиво! Музыка проникает во все уголки души и это небо… небо, в которое нельзя не влюбиться!

      1. In the photo “Timelaps7” who makes the pan crank addition t the tripod. So you can pan from side to side while doing the time laps. Does it work when you are filming? I would love one of those?

  40. Hey Philip. Great work. U r blazin on Google buzz and gizmodo 🙂
    I have been very impressed with time-lapse, so upgraded myself to a Canon eos 40d. Will soon try out one. Hoping you could be a guide!

    Just awesome!!

  41. Hey Philip,

    Great time lapses! I just got a timer for the GF1 and I’m anxious to try it out. 2 questions if I may:

    For the GF1, what picture size and quality setting (jpeg) are you using? Surely not RAW. It would appear that the camera wouldn’t keep up at a 1 second interval.

    Also, what film mode preset do you use? “Standard”? “Dynamic”?

  42. Hey Phil, nice work. Beautiful images.

    A quick question on this…I’m dealing with some flicker issues with some 5DmkII timelapse footage. Taking your advice above I checked out CHVs “Long Exposure.” Is that right, or is it the “Staccato” you are using here? It looks like long exposure is more for giving it the motion blur, or maybe I’m misunderstanding what they do.

    Thanks, this is super helpful and really nice work.

  43. Hey Felicitaciones…..Tienes un Verdadero Ojo Fotográfico, Ademas Super interesantes tus Videos que nos asesoran en Camaras y lentes de Alta Definición…Vale La Pena Hacerlos Tambien en Castellano….

    Un Fuerte Abrazo y Muchos Exitos!!!


  44. Hi Philip,

    One question from France (sorry for my english) : I saw panoramic and zoom movements in the video, how did you do it ? Do you use special motorize gear ?

    Thanks for this amazing video !