I have been fascinated with time lapse for a long time, and conceived of this project before we purchased the property that would eventually become Terrapin Gardens Farm — even proclaiming in a thread on MetaFilter that I would one day make this film.
That being said, there wasn’t a lot of thought that went into creating this film, and I wish there had been. The system was hacked together using a very old JVC VHS-C (GR-AX930) analog video camcorder attached to the eMac on my desk via a piece of video capture hardware I bought for under $75 that converted the analog signal. The video was captured and uploaded to the Internet every 2 minutes — 24 hours a day — by a copy of the always reliable EvoCam.
The main drawback of this setup was that the eMac only supported USB 1.1, which meant that I was limited to 320×240. Shortly after finishing the video portion of this film I was able to upgrade to an iMac with USB 2.0, but alas the farm had been built, and time waits for no one, and I wouldn’t change a thing. At least the iMac made turning the footage into a film much easier! For that I used Apple’s iMovie ’09.
The film itself was hacked together as well. The camcorder has a faulty RCA video port which means that at times the video wouldn’t transmit and I would be left displaying only a green screen. It was unpredictable when this could occur. The bright side of this is that the film would have been even longer had I not lost so much footage.
Using EvoCam I uploaded the still images to the Internet every 2 minutes, and simultaneously stitched together each image to a Quicktime movie file — hosted locally — for each day. Once I had accumulated all of the daily movies for a year, I painstakingly imported them to iMovie, edited out the green screens, most of the night scenes, and any other glitches. Each clip was then converted to allow me to speed it up or slow it down. I tried to slow the clips down when something “interesting” was happening, and speed it up to save final play time.
However, it was important to me not to make the film too short. A year goes by fast enough, and a short play time might not have conveyed the seasons here in Vermont. While I was editing the film I was listening to my iTunes library in order to select songs. I tried my best to capture the mood.