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Behind the Hollywood Sign

Hiking to the Hollywood Sign

Continuing with the series of time-lapse videos, TimeLAX02 includes photo sequences from Hollywood and the San Fernando Valley areas along with additional shots from Downtown Los Angeles and its surroundings.  Hiking to Mount Lee to capture the city during the sunset behind the world famous Hollywood Sign involved taking four long walks uphill with 30lbs of camera gear, a powerful flashlight, snake-guards and a can of bear spray (to be somehow protected against wild animals) but being up there was a totally amazing experience.  This iconic landmark is protected by a technological fortress, surrounded by a regular fence to stop visitors (and vandals) from trespassing and getting close to the sign, which is strictly prohibited. The sign is monitored 24/7 with infrared surveillance cameras.

Camera Behind The Hollywood Sign
Basic Time-Lapse Setup Behind The Hollywood Sign: Camera & Intervalometer

There is also a rumor that several motion sensors were installed in the area when the sign was renovated in 2005.  Helicopters fly around the sign all the time, day and night, but tourists always find a way to trespass the fence with the purpose of getting their photos taken as close to the sign structure as they can.  The photo sequence taken from the popular Runyon Canyon Park in the heart of West Hollywood was another interesting experience.  This place is where actors, actresses and other industry professionals go to exercise outdoors.  Unfortunately, some visitors go there to smoke despite the ever-present no-smoking signs as the park is in a fire-hazard residential area.

Hollywood Sign Warning
Hollywood Sign Warning

Taking photo sequences near Hollywood Blvd was quite an experience too, especially being out there late on weekend nights and seeing people drunk and literally “wasted”, walking like they don’t know who or where they are.  Working in Downtown Los Angeles and Chinatown was business as usual as security guards and curious people constantly approached.

Hollywood Boulevard
Hollywood Boulevard

Now, speaking about technical stuff and the video itself, for the second installment we have included more architectural photography than in TimeLAX 01 so that viewers who haven’t visited Los Angeles can get a closer look into some of the most interesting structural designs that were built in the city.  Day-night transitions and photo sequences showing the moon are also included in this video.  As you might notice, our time-lapse videos in Los Angeles are 100% urban.  If you see the sun, the moon or clouds, you will also see buildings and/or highways in the composition.  Although we enjoy time-lapse videos that showcase Mother Nature elements in conjunction with man-made structures in separate cuts, we don’t want to follow this style for the TimeLAX project because the architecture in this city has an amazing variety and there are literally hundreds of buildings that deserve to be featured.  The most difficult photo sequence was the one that shows Vine Street with the Capitol Records building in West Hollywood. Two big signs that flashed every five seconds posed a problem as they created flickering on the image.

Downtown Los Angeles from Montecito Heights
Downtown Los Angeles from Montecito Heights

The intro has fragments of announcements recorded inside a subway train.  It’s common knowledge that Los Angeles is a multilingual and multicultural city, which is why we wanted the intro to be half in English and half in Spanish.  A total of six lenses were used for this video.  The color correction applied was minimal so what you see is pretty much what came out from the camera with the exception of removing noise and adding some sharpening and contrast in post-production.  We also keep experimenting with uncommon angles and camera movements known as “hyper-lapse” to make the videos more attractive. One of the hardest parts of creating these videos besides the months of scouting, testing and shooting, is always finding the right piece of music, and of course, its synchronization with the footage.

Ralph.

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