Distilling days into seconds, the best time-lapse videos compress time with extraordinary results.
Travel videos have exploded in the last few years and one format we’ve always got time for is time-lapse. Benefitting from the patience and dedication of filmmakers who spend weeks, months and even years capturing stills of cities, night skies or rural landscapes, audiences get the thrill of watching the magnificent results at high speed playback.
Often accompanied by epic soundtracks, these short pieces allow us to view our world at its most epic and revel in the beauty of a setting sun, melting ice or rushing clouds in a neatly sped-up package.
Here are some of the best time-lapse travel videos we’ve found online…
The clouds of the Canary Islands
Transforming clouds into foaming seas and tumbling waves, this evocative time-lapse video by Daniel Lopez captures the movement of the sky over the Canary Islands in a way rarely seen before. A Spanish archipelago found off the west coast of Africa, the location offers the perfect combination of clear skies and climate, making it ideal for observing the universe. For those with an interest in stargazing, guided starlight excursions run on various islands to help you discover what lies in the night sky. This video was shot on the island of Tenerife, more than 2,000 metres above sea level, over one year and documents all possible shades, colours and stars.
While time-lapse videos are often associated with soothing, calming visuals, this insight into life in midtown NYC offers a contrasting pace. Capturing the movement, people, life and infrastructure of the most populous city in the United States, it takes viewers onto the subway, through central park, into Time Square and in a NYC cab. Rushing through streets, punctuated with neon lights and streams of traffic, the piece finds moments of natural simplicity amid the hustle as day turns to night, clouds pass overhead and lights twinkle on the water.
The dancing lights of the aurora borealis
A theatre in the sky, the aurora borealis is a natural light display resulting from the collision of energetic charged particles with atoms in the high altitude atmosphere. This video was shot over a week in and around Kirkenes and Pas National Park, bordering Russia, in temperatures around -25 degrees Celsius. While spectacular in real-time, the time-lapse view injects even more life and colour to the brilliant sky as the unearthly lights dance in front of our eyes. Travellers keen to experience this natural phenomenon for themselves can also head to Alaska, northern parts of Canada, Iceland and northern Norway.
America’s great spaces
Three friends put their jobs on hold to spend two months travelling around the country in a Dodge caravan with breathtaking results. Travelling across 32 states and into 13 national parks, photographer Shane Black and his companions captured around 10,000 images that are woven into this beautiful piece that takes in the Milky Way, a lightening storm flashing beneath a star-studded sky and many, many sunrises and sunsets.
Documenting the city of Dubai
Shown in all its contemporary glory, this Dubai time-lapse by Dimid provides a unique view of the city’s glittering skyscrapers, complex road networks and endless desert surrounds. The warmth of the air is felt through the video’s tones and the central role the Dubai Creek plays in daily life beautifully unfolds. The city’s unique architecture, with its distinctive curves and sails, is juxtaposed by a setting sun, as viewers are whisked through the city from every angle.
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