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Scene from "UW in Motion"
Charles Johnson’s “UW in Motion” hyperlapse video puts some extra zap into campus scenes. (Charles Johnson via YouTube)

What is hyperlapse? Like the bullet-time realm of “The Matrix,” hyperlapse videos provide an unorthodox perspective on time and space – and you can see the result in a two-minute clip created by the University of Washington’s Charles Johnson.

The technique captures time-lapse videos of an environment, with an additional twist: Instead of remaining stationary, the camera moves through the scene, making it seems as if you’re soaring through a speeded-up space-time continuum.

“If you follow my work, you know that for the past six months I’ve been getting into hyperlapse photography,” Johnson, a videographer and editor for University of Washington Intercollegiate Athletics, said today in a Facebook post. “I’ve been slowly collecting hyperlapses of the UW campus to make an official UW hyperlapse edit, and I’m glad to [be] finally able to release it in time for the UW 2017 Maker Summit!”

Johnson’s video hits the high points on the Seattle campus, including a football game at Husky Stadium, a basketball game at Hec Edmundson Pavilion, cherry blossoms in the Quad, students swarming through Red Square, and much, much more. Zappy editing and a quick-ticking soundtrack knit the scenes together into a whole.

The 2017 Maker Summit, set for April 22, highlights maker technologies ranging from leatherworking to 3-D printing and laser cutting. You can learn the basics of sewing, or try out augmented reality with Microsoft HoloLens and HTC Vive headsets. More than 110 student projects will be on display in a Maker Summit showcase, and there’ll be showings of short films created by UW’s aspiring moviemakers and musicians.

Johnson’s hyperlapse was among the submissions. So how do you make a hyperlapse movie? He explained the process in an email to GeekWire:

“To actually make the video, I just used my GH4 [camera], a monopod, After Effects and Premiere. I didn’t use drones or any fancy tools out there right now. I would go to the spot, take a picture in RAW with a fixed point in the composition, take a step forward and repeat. Sometimes I would plan the time of day, weather and the trajectory I would take throughout the location to get my final product.

“Then I take the the final piece and edit the RAW photos. I used two programs to achieve this. If it was a sunset or sunrise, I used a program called LRTimelapse to edit them. This lets me set a different shutter speed to get the right exposure throughout the shot by using a special algorithm to smooth out that process. If it was the same manual settings throughout, I used Adobe Bridge.

“Then I arranged the rough sequence in Premiere to how I roughly wanted it by using speed ramps and setting up for creative transitions. Sent it over to After Effects for warp stabilization, lighting effects, masking, and sometimes adding post motion blur.

“I pretty much started teaching myself hyperlapse photography 6 months ago because I wanted to add a fresh, new element to my visual storytelling. I currently work at Husky Athletics, hence the access to the fields, and started doing side projects for them. Once I was pleased with the stuff I made for them, I started branching out to do my own thing around the UW campus. From the start, I knew I wanted to do a hyperlapse compilation of the campus, since I could offer a unique perspective not seen before because of my access through the athletics department.

“At first it was going to be a simple compilation, but after I got more material I started to add a simple narrative. Relating the theme of time, thus the clocks of Denny Hall at the beginning and the end quote, and traveling through a college campus through hyperlapse. At first I didn’t really have a deadline set and was going to release it when I got jaded enough, haha. But then I saw the 2017 Maker Summit was taking video submissions, so I sent it over for a deadline.”

Check out the video, either online or at the Maker Summit. Then feel free to follow Johnson on Instagram and take your own dive into the Matrix … er, Hyperlapse.

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