Filmmaker Creates a Time-Lapse Using 852 Instagram Photos Taken by Strangers

An Instagram ‘short film’ time-lapse has been making its way across the Internet recently, simultaneously demonstrating the creativity of the filmmaker who created it and the lack thereof of the smartphone photographers from whom the content was crowdsourced.

Dubbed simply ‘Instagram Short Film,’ the time-lapse was put together by filmmaker Thomas Jullien, who dug through countless Instagram shots of monuments and other famous locales before settling on a total of 852 photos — taken by 852 different users — for his time-lapse.

The final, crowdsourced product is really fun to watch and impressive to boot, given that all of the photos you see were in fact taken by different users. For Jullien, it amounts to “creat[ing] structure out of th[e] chaos” that is Instagram.


But you’ll probably arrive at another conclusion as well: all of our Instagram photos are eerily similar. That’s great when you’re trying to create a seamless, crowdsourced hyperlapse journey around famous landmarks, but it stings a bit when you realize that your photos of *insert famous monument here* probably look the exact same as everybody else’s.

Check out the video at the top to see it all for yourself. And, next time you’re framing up the Arc de Triomphe, maybe look for a more unique and interesting vantage point… you won’t make the cut for the next “Instagram Short Film,” but that might not be a bad thing.

(via Gizmodo via PopPhoto)

Image credit: Arc de Triomphe by LoboStudio Hamburg

  • Samcornwell

    Bravo to the creator. He’s done what we’ve all been saying for ages will be possible one day. With the ubiquitous flow of photographs and instant accessibility online this sort of project will get more and more common and maybe even eventually automated. I look forward to seeing more.

    Great job, Thomas!

  • Meekohi

    Very cool :) Makes me think of PhotoSynth for Instagram!

  • anon

    There should be a “seizure” warning with this one.

  • Jake

    I’ll disagree with your first paragraph and say that this says less about the lack of creativity of Instagrammers and more about the uniformity of taste in humans. This video could easily be a statement on how people see and appreciate images in very similar ways – if it looks good, it looks good.

    Of course, since this is really just a collection of 852 particularly selected shots out of the millions that are uploaded, it doesn’t actually say anything at all beyond the “monkeys with typewriters” argument.

  • Mantis

    Cool idea, but I couldn’t watch it for more than a few seconds. It gave me a headache.

  • Ian

    Talk about having some serious time on your hands! The result is pretty cool but I can’t imagine how long it took to find some of the sequences where the photos are used to simulate movement. I’m sure ‘tags’ helped a lot but still. Impressive work in the end.

  • Mike

    It is not a creativity when creator start using material that has not been created by him. And what about copyright issues?

  • Matias Gonua

    Google streetview + panoramio?

  • Thomas Lawn

    As soon as I heard the Black Keys, I started thinking about what a pain in the ass it would’ve been to license all of these photos (and the song). Then I read this:

    “The video consists of 852 different pictures, from 852 different instagram users. If you are one of them, shout and I will add you to the credits.”

    Clearly, this guy doesn’t even care enough to record who he lifted the images from. What a bummer.

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  • Marty

    “all of our Instagram photos are eerily similar.” Ya, especially the ones chosen for for their similarity. WTH?

  • JulesD

    This sounds like 852 cases of copyright violation.

  • ramanauskas

    “Crowdsourced”. Is that what we’re calling it now?

  • ramanauskas

    I wonder if he licensed the song? HAHAHAHAHA, I slay me sometimes.

  • Thomas Lawn

    or 853 – that song sure isn’t free.

  • Amanda

    Much like Pinterest, Instagram probably has some sort of clause in their Terms of Service/Privacy (who ever actually reads those anymore?) that once the photo is uploaded it is now partly Instagrams image, or some sort of thing like that. A photographer I follow had an issue with her copyrighted work winding up on Pinterest (by the pinning of her followers and then it getting repinned by others because it looked cute, etc). She had to go through this whole big thing with Pinterest and they gave her a hard time. She wind up having to get legal council to back her up in getting her images removed from Pinterest.

  • WarDamnPhil

    Brilliant. Absolutely brilliant.

  • Photo DeLux

    They mostly look the same… because each shot appeared to be replayed at least twice.

  • Rob Elliott

    This is not a time lapse, by any definition this is a montage of photos.

    The photos are not of all the same location, the photos are not placed in time sequence, nor do they show the passage of time.

  • Omar Salgado

    Now we have home-timelapsers. Why not since there are screenshooters and even “artists” that find and curate the images from Google maps.

    We don’t need a camera anymore. Photography is dead.

    No, not really: what is dead, and ironically very alive, is the ingrained model of what a photograph should be. This timelapse shows that to the perfection.

  • bikesales

    The images are owned by the photographer, not this guy who took them from Instagram…

  • bikesales

    So, stealing other people’s photos is okay?

  • Jim

    Absolute hideous! instagram filtered “photos” are to photography what texting is to fine writing. No serious photographer I know touches those things. To make a film celebrating this crap is an affront to the craft.

  • Mark Wheadon

    Hey, hold that camera steady would you? ;-)

  • Zulu

    he learn how to use #hashtag… :D

  • Frank


  • Christian Varga

    Since when has Instagram been targeted at “serious photographers”? Instagram has a purpose, just like texting. I seriously doubt you indulge in “fine writing” every time you simply want to organise dinner via sms.

  • Xico Fininho

    Nice to see it.