Photographer Celebrates Africa’s Cities in Entrancing Timelapse Videos

A photographer has captured a series of stunning timelapse videos of vibrant cities in Africa to contrast the usual imagery seen from the continent.

Mayeul Akpovi tells PetaPixel that “we’re used to seeing the great African plains and savannahs in the media, and not enough urban landscapes.”

Akpovi set his camera on sub-Saharan cities like Johannesburg in South Africa, Cotonou in Beinin, Lagos in Nigeria, Kigali in Rwanda, Lomé in Togo, and Abidjan in the Ivory Coast.

Creating a Timelapse Video

For his latest timelapse video filmed in Cotonou, Akpovi spent 13 days shooting footage during which time he shot a total of 45,000 photos — that’s 1.5 terabytes of disk space.

He used an extensive list of cameras, including a Canon 5D Mark IV, a 5D Mark III, a Canon 17-40mm f/4, a Canon 34-700 f.2.8, a Canon 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6, a tripod, and a gimbal.

But after all the photos have been taken, the nearly 50,00 photos must be assembled into a sequence — a task which takes even longer than shooting the photos. Akpovi spent 14 days on post-production, rendering a 38-gigabyte video sequence.

“The video timelapse project I have created captures the breathtaking beauty of Cotonou (Benin Republic),” he says.

“Through meticulous planning, creative execution, and countless hours of dedication, I have compiled a visually stunning piece that showcases the essence and uniqueness of Cotonou.”

Akpovi will only create one of the laborious videos if he has funding or has saved up enough money to fund it himself. His Johannesburg, Lagos, and Kigali all received funding from the NewImages festival based in Paris, France.

How to Make a Timelapse Video

In PetaPixel’s guide, Alexander J.E. Bradley explains that a video is made up from 25 single photos per second, and when placed back-to-back, it tricks our mind into seeing motion.

But when we take one photo every minute and then play it back at 25 frames per second it results in a magnificent hyper-realistic compression of time.

Akpovie is from Cotonou, Benin and is a computer scientist as well as a photographer. More of his work can be found on his website, Instagram, and Twitter.

Image credits: All photos by Mayeul Akpovi.