Timelapse film of Sydney Harbour bridge filmed over one night with 5Dmk2, Gh2, Canon S95, iphone 4, AF101!


A very camp pose from me from the epic room corner window!

Since I finished my room with a view project back in October (although I only cut it early Feb) I haven’t really done much timelapse at all. Not that I am sick of it, just taking a much needed break from shooting timelapses every where I go, although it is a wonderful way to document my travels and I really should do them for everywhere I stay still as it will make a great way of remembering where I have been.

I will be doing a round up of my month in Australia shortly but on my last night thanks to the awesome Sebastian TR he pulled a few strings with his contacts and got me a fantastic view at the Shangri-La Hotel in Sydney with an absolutely epic view of the Sydney Opera House and bridge. As soon as I opened the curtains and saw the view I knew I had to make the most of it. So I set up my Canon 5DmkII with the wonderful 24mm TS V2 on my Miller DS20 tripod and my GH2 with the 7-14mm F4 lens on it using a little manfrotto tripod. Both of them had the awesome Lensskirt around them to stop nasty reflections from the window and were set to wide open aperture to avoid the slightly dirty outside windows. Do this whenever you can as it hides a multitude of sins!

Shangri-La Sydney: My room 3513 was on left corner just to side of the big window

I also used my iphone 4 using the “Timelapse” app…that’s all it is called. Don’t render the video inside the phone, or if you do make sure you save original photos as rendered video is low resotion…

The quality of the stills is WAY higher than the video of the phone so it was a great extra angle to use.

I also used the my favourite point and shoot the Canon S95, it shoots awesome stills but has no timelapse mode that I can see, but you can shoot in video mode the miniature effect which does a fake tilt shift which you can position and I told it to play back at 200x. Worked a treat. I used it on two shots.

The last camera I used was my video camera the Panasonic Af101. The interval mode is not great to be honest but it worked fine. I had it quite high ISO for the night shots and forgot to drop it for the daytime shots, whoops. But it still looked good. It just really needs a slow shutter mode like the Sony EX cameras.

canon S95

Do listen to my commentary below the video as it explains which camera is which and how I did the movement in the shots etc…Play commentary first before playing video and stop and start the video when I tell you! You can adjust the volume on the vimeo player with it’s volume control. Ignore my first PRESS PLAY direction, wait until 5 minutes 50 seconds into the commentary before you press play!!

Oh and do check out this awesome 360 view of my room done with the “360 Panorama” app on the iphone4, bloody awesome!!

3513 A view of the Sydney Opera House from Philip Bloom on Vimeo.

Sydney Opera House Timelapse commentary by PhilipBloom


  1. Philip, Simply stunning. This has to be one of your best timelapses yet. Amazing to see those vessels coming in and out of the harbour. Go on then, which camera produced the most visceral visual results?! Bloody well done ol’ chap!

  2. What is always intriguing to me is how some of the timelapse shots look miniatures. It gives a very surreal look to me. I like it, I just can’t describe “why” it looks that way. Anyone else get that impression?

    Excellent work, btw.

  3. Can you boost volume up a bunch on your audio commentary please.

    Almost double it.

    I am on a older laptop and yes I know most laptop speakers are horrible… at least give the speakers a chance to ruin the audio buy increasing the volume. thank you!

    Other than that I love the audio commentary on your videos and would like more of it when you have the time.

  4. Amazing stuff Phil, knew you would do Sydney justice.. – come back and get some different weather in the future though!

    Still cant believe how fast you got all this together – you are a machine. That audio commentary shows your dedication hah!

    Love the ship returning track in on the 5D footage ( wouldn’t have guessed that! ) as well as the 47-1:02 masterful shot.

    How was the render-time with QT pro on that 5K photojpeg quicktime export?? sounds epic…!

  5. Hi Philip,

    What’s the small tripod on the left in your setup frame? I’m looking for something super portable and light – this could look like the right thing.
    Thanks for any info on this.

  6. Viewing this on the big screen at the Converge festival yesterday did it so much more justice; nevertheless, it still looks awesome.

    It was great to finally see you speak in person, and especially entertaining to see you debate with the guy from Photographer Monthly. Hopefully (having been inspired by a lot of things over the last two days) I can send you a link to something I’ve created in the near future, and/or that I see you at the next Convergence.

  7. Just did a timelapse yesterday for a job and wish I had listened to your generous commentary beforehand. Thank you Philip for giving away your knowledge so kindly!

    Did you have all your cams on mains power? I got about 3.5 h out of a GH1 battery taking a still every 30 sec – does that sound about right or too short? Must get another battery for it.

  8. Outstanding work, love the commentary Philip.

    One question on the GH2…

    Does the lack of a mirror give you much more actuations than on the canon’s? It seems there is still a shutter which can ware down on time lapse but the lack of a mirror could help it be more resilient before failing. Pure speculation here.

    Been using my Vari ND with the GH2 and the slow shutter on manual focus mode to 1/2 on video mode then speeding up with ok results. Resolution suffers compared to stills but file-size is kept in check.

    Best Sydney shots Ive ever seen thank you!

  9. Hi Philip,

    great work, i could watch that harbour even in slo mo 🙂

    I have one question: I am going to buy panasonic AgA 101, I found this website http://www.gobalmedilpro.com, its based in New Zeland, and the price is 3500 Eur, which is much cheaper then here in Europe. Are there any differences between cameras selling in Europe and New Zeland, or they are technically exactly the same?

    thank you


  10. Great job, I like how you used an array of different cameras to shoot this video. It really shows that its not what you shoot with but what you put in front of the camera that matters.

  11. very cool man, I really liked this one.

    Will you do some more videos on composition, aesthetics, more conceptual stuff? It’s great

    FYI just to get off my chest – You know what REALLY helps your videos guys? more than that $3,000 tilt shift lens, or the new tripod legs, or lens-skirts?

    …a plan. an idea. experience. motivation. just putting it out there.

    sorry but I’ve just had my ear talked off about gear (which is fine, obviously you need tools) by a guy who’s $10k invested in a hobby, and hasn’t got one damn thing to show for it. not one video. makes me sick.

    anyway… great video

  12. Hi Phil

    You said you were shooting on the 5D all night. Thought there was in issue with it overheating?? How many hours was “all night”?

    And in your opinion- what gives the best looking image with lens the same on all? 5DmkII, 7D, AF101, GH2?? Thanks!! I’m looking to shell out a few grand so your input would be very welcome.

  13. Philip,
    Another great job!
    Tip: When you plan your next time lapse photo shoot, you may want to try Room 77 a hotel room search web site. It seems to be a Google Earth meets Google Maps mash-up. You can get a preview of the view out your hotel room window in advance! This may help save time & ensure you get the room number you want in advance. http://www.room77.com/ Hope this helps.

  14. Thanks for this! Was really cool to have the running commentary, although I did manage to get lost once (or thrice).

    Will have to start doing mine with aperture priority over manual. Always end up with a very small amount of usable stills my way.

    Thanks once again, big help!

    (may i suggest if you do another running commentary,((please do!!)) could you throw in a few more time references “you should be at about 1,28 now” etc to help simple folk like me navigate my way back to where i should be!)

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