Living as nomads and traveling across Europe on a budget of less than 35 euros per day, recent college graduate and photographer Luke Shepard and his friend Henry Miller managed to brilliantly capture hundreds of years of architecture in one stunning video.
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As with so many creative projects nowadays, the video started out as a Kickstarter. Shepard needed the funds that would allow him to purchase the right gear to make his “Nightvision” project achieve the look he envisioned. Sheppard offered a variety of incentives for contributing, including digital copies of his video, t-shirts or postcards from the field.
Smithsonian.com recently had the chance to interview Shepard via email about the highlights and lowlights of creating “Nightvision” and what the future holds for the recent college graduate.
Why did you choose these buildings?
My main priority when choosing buildings to capture was diversity. I wanted to include buildings of all different types and from all different time periods. Aside from that, there were limitations on time and budget. We had to choose a path through Europe that was efficient, which sometimes meant we had to skip incredible structures that I would have loved to include. We often spent only a night or two in a city before we were hopping on a train to the next destination.
Tell me about the Kickstarter that helped you create “Nightvision.”
A few years back I created a video focused on the prominent monuments and buildings of Paris titled ‘Le Flaneur.’ When making the video there wasn’t the stabilization technology in software that exists today. It was this new software, new equipment and a refined technique that was going to take my image sequences to another level. I didn’t have the funds to bring my idea to life and found that Kickstarter was a great option. In about 30 days I was able to raise almost $20,000. It was unbelievable generosity of 174 people that brought my project into existence and I am so grateful to them.
How did you achieve the timelapse effect? What kind of gear did you use?
The video is composed completely of photographs. The primary gear that I used was a Canon 5D Mark III, several Zeiss / Canon lenses and a tripod. When shooting an image sequence, I would manually move the tripod and aim the camera with as much precision possible before taking each photo. The distance between each picture depended on how fast and far I wanted the camera to move. Keeping the distance consistent, along with helping to lift and move the tripod, was Miller’s role during the shoot. The timelapse effect is a product of the amount of time this process takes. In post-production, I string the images into a sequence in Adobe After Effects where I am able to stabilize them.
What is your background? Are you a photographer by trade?