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Hollywood Nights

Hollywood Nights

We are back with a mini virtual tour of the Entertainment Capital of The World: Hollywood.

First of all, a big thanks to everyone who has sent us emails with comments about our previous videos and a very special thanks to David (Australia), Jessica (Brazil), Aleksandra (Ukraine), Ine Kristine (Norway), and the staff at the Los Angeles Mayor’s Office for all your support. It really means a lot!

This video includes photo sequences from the Hollywood Boulevard, the Sunset Strip and the Hollywood Hills but we also included the Hollywood Tower, which was added to the National Register of Historical Places in 1988. Each one of the areas came with its own set of difficulties.

The Boulevard is the most crowded and difficult place to take photographs (except at 3am). Imagine working on a time-lapse sequence. Most passersby do not care if they hit your tripod, and when that happens you know it’s time to start all over again. Besides, it is illegal to block sidewalk traffic in Hollywood, therefore having a tripod on the Boulevard for too long is prohibited.

The Sunset Strip is where people go to bars and leave wasted at the end of live music shows. You can see a lot of drunk people walking around on weekend nights. A lot!

Sunset Strip - West Hollywood
Sunset Strip – West Hollywood

And the Hollywood Hills is where the most ridiculous parking regulations have been set in the entire Los Angeles County, thanks to the neighbors in the area who are fed-up with both tourists and local visitors. From Mulholland Drive to Lake Hollywood, parking restrictions are the same.

This is how the neighbors of "The Hills" try to discourage visitors from going to the sign
This is how the neighbors of “The Hills” try to discourage visitors from going to the sign

Another thing that became a challenge was the number of huge commercial billboards that were impossible to avoid in some spots to get a good shot. In view of this I decided to replace the content of such billboards with original digital abstract art of my own during postproduction.

Hollywood Boulevard
Hollywood Boulevard

I worked around 60 nights between 2014 and 2015 to shoot this video. During that time I had the opportunity to meet a number of people. I remember Athena who was walking on the Sunset Strip on weekend nights, selling candies and chocolates to fund her creative project. There was a “vampire” girl from Colorado who is the most mysterious and dark person I have ever encountered in my life. Angie, a filmmaker from Georgia, who was on vacation with two friends approached me and asked what I was doing. We ended up having a great conversation while the camera was working. Then there was the guy who wanted to kill me when I was photographing the Chinese Theater because he thought I was taking many pictures of him. A drunk girl who could barely walk asked me if I love what I do for living (fortunately, her boyfriend was sober). Another drunk girl asked if she was in my way while I was moving the tripod for the El Capitan Theater hyperlapse sequence (not shown in this video) and ended up saying that I was the one getting in her way (the effects of alcohol, I guess). A local storeowner was convinced that I was an undercover FBI agent taking pictures of the area. And who can forget the always friendly and courteous staff of the Church of Scientology with their stress tests on the Boulevard?

Panoramic View of Hollywood Boulevard
Panoramic View of Hollywood Boulevard

Now let’s talk about the technical stuff.

Introducing Hyperlayers:

Blending a hyperlapse photo sequence with a traditional one creates a cool effect as it adds a dynamic dimension to the scene. I got similar results by adding movement to a layer behind a main photo sequence. Sometimes this can be too much for the eye so it is not applicable to everything you shoot. With this technique the scenes get some sort of surrealistic look. The only problem is that the footage will always be too complex for video compression algorithms. One of the hyperlapse photo sequences that show the stars on The Boulevard was shot using a fisheye lens. The rest were shot using an ultra wide lens at 12mm.

Hollywood Boulevard Hyperlayers
Hollywood Boulevard Hyperlayer

For the photo sequence that starts at 1:23 I wanted something different that could match the music so I “suspended” four frames to simulate slow motion, something I now refer to as the “frame suspension” trick.

The scene showing the Chinese Theater was created with two photo sequences that Randy put together to simulate a super zoom.

And my final words go to those who have never visited Los Angeles yet and want to move here. This city is big which means lots of opportunities for everyone, especially in the tourist and entertainment industries. However, living in La La Land can be troublesome as well. Los Angeles will make you think that all your dreams can become true at the blink of an eye but that really never happens. No matter what you do, people will always compete with you and will try to kick you out of the game when they have the opportunity to do so; therefore you must stay focused and for your own good don’t get blinded by the millions of lights, if you know what I mean.

See you around.

Ralph.

3 thoughts on “Hollywood Nights

  1. I have just seen the shots of Venice Beach. They are sensational and I hope you are ok with me loading some on to Pinterest. Looking forward to any new videos you may be releasing.
    Power and peace to you
    Dave

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