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Using Long-Exposure Photos for a Real-Time Video of the Milky Way


When we see video of the Milky Way, it’s usually not video per se — more often than not it’s a time-lapse. That’s because the exposure time needed to capture the Milky Way in most situations makes shooting a standard video a challenge. One production company decided that technology had advanced far enough to give it a try though, and what they came up with was quite cool.

The video comes to us from Uncage the Soul Productions, and rather than showing the Milky Way in the typical time-lapse fashion we’re used to seeing it, they decided to capture the heavens as close to real-time as possible. The final product is called Nightly Wonder.

“We love the night sky, and we love the challenge of capturing and presenting it to you,” writes the production company. “Now, we excitedly present a jumping up a level in night sky media: video of the stars!”


The “video” — which seems to be a cross between video and stop-motion photography — was possible because of the jump in low-light capabilities that cameras have experienced over the past several years. Combine those advances with some “tools and techniques” that the production company is keeping close to the vest for now, and you get real-time video of the Milky Way.

It really is different to see people walking around in the shots and pointing up at the sky. It might not be something you realize is missing in a traditional night sky time-lapse, but it adds a human element that makes the video feel more personal.

Cool as it is, Uncage the Soul is quick to mention that this is just the beginning, a “proof of concept” as it were: “Ultimately, we want to help push the collective goals of what’s possible and speed up the process of getting to a place where we’re all comfortably shooting amazing video out under the stars long past sunset.”

To see more from Uncage the Soul Productions, head over to the company’s website or visit its Vimeo page by clicking on the corresponding links.

Thanks for sending in the tip, Paul!