How to Shoot Photos for a ‘Space-Lapse’ Animation Around a Tall Building

Back in July, we shared a series of creative animated GIFs and a music video that show space-lapses over great distances in San Francisco. The creators Kevin Parry and Andrea Nesbitt have just published the video above that teaches how you can do the same thing with your camera.


The most challenging part of the project is the planning phase. You’ll need some careful planning to scout out the locations you’ll be shooting the photos from. The tutorial recommends using a screenshot of Google Maps and Photoshop to figure out a circle around which you can shoot 36 photos from different locations.

When shooting the photographs, make sure the framing is as consistent as possible in each one. It helps to align certain portions of the building with certain autofocus points in your viewfinder for personal reference. You’ll want to shoot two shots from each location in order to overcome a nasty strobed look in the final animation.


The final step simply involves aligning the buildings in Photoshop, adding some motion blur to the foreground objects, and then turning them into an animation using a video editing program.

Here’s one example seen in the music video: