We had a very special oppurtunity this year as seniors at Freestyle. We got the pleasure of being the first class to try out the innovator project! The innovator project was designed to give us as students freedom to do what we please with our schoolwork and try out new skills we never discovered before. We were challenged to create our own rubric which we had to meet requirments for each month. The teachers pushed us to explore something we haven't tried before.

We also had to make a research paper on the topic of our choosing, related to our innovator project. I explored the topic of how time perception changes with our emotions along with other different ways it can change.

Click above to read my research paper.

My Project

I decided to explore the photography area of timelapse, I was really interested in learning the process. My rubric stated that I make a timelapse that is ten minutes long showing change over time. I divided the work into three different due dates spread a month apart from each other then began.

I started by bringing my Canon Rebel T5i camera into the Santa Cruz mountains with an intervalometer and a tripod. The intervolometer automatically takes pictures at set intervals. I set the interval between three and twenty seconds. I put it closer to three seconds when I was timelapsing cloud sequences or something moving constantly. When timelapsing something like a sunset I put it closer to twenty seconds because I wanted to get the entire sunset. I took at least twelve different trips into the mountains to get timelapsed sequences, however only a few of them were actually good sequences. After two months of progress I realize I won't have enough good footage to create a ten minute presentation of only timelapses. So I changed up my project a little bit and decided to make a unique and creative way of showing of the good timelapses I have. I did this by creating an animation in After Effects. The animation uses the instrumental for "Runaway" by Kanye West. I made the animation dance to the beat of the song while displaying timelapses.

Innovator Reflection

Our senior year was the first year Freestyle chose to introduced the innovator project. For this project we were allowed to pick a topic we were interested in with no restrictions. We had to create our own rubric for the project and also a research paper. For the research paper I looked into the topic of how our time perception changes as we age. This topic relates to my project because as we age time changes our bodies and minds just as it changes objects in the outside world such as clouds, sunsets, and sunrises. I worked alone on all of my innovator project, but I did have some help editing my paper by Darya Darvish and Connor Leak.

I chose to pursue timelapse photography and created a rubric around this topic. In the rubric I decided I would create a ten minute time-lapsed presentation showing off the change of time. Our rubric had to incorporate twenty first century skills, including video literacy, technological literacy and social and civic responsibility just to name a few. At first this project was really daunting to me because I had a really hard time figuring out what I wanted to timelapse and where to go to create these timelapses. After a lot of consideration I decided to start going into the Santa Cruz mountains and take timelapses of cloud sequences and sunsets over the ocean from on top of the mountains. I would drive up Page Mill road and go into the open space preserves to find breathtaking views.

Once I found what I want to make a timelapse of I setup my camera on a tripod and attached an intervalometer to it. For the camera settings I set everything to manual so no settings would change automatically in between shots, which would create an ugly flickering light effect in the final timelapse. Once all the settings were correct all I had to do was sit back and let the intervalometer take pictures for me every five to twenty seconds. The time in between each taken picture differs based on what you are taking a time lapse of. For instance when taking a time lapse of a cloud sequence the best interval for this would be something on the lower end such as five to ten seconds in between each shot. The smaller interval picks up objects moving at a somewhat fast rate showing a lot of movement over a shorter amount of time. I used the higher numbered interval when taking a timelapse of something moving more slowly over time such as a sunset. Sunsets happen over half an hour to a hour, and in order to get all the different hues of light associated with the environment you have to set an interval of ten seconds and up to thirty seconds. The large photo size of time lapsed photography with an HDR camera makes for really high quality HD time lapses. Shooting all the time lapse sequences took about two months and I ended up with around twelve different sequences to choose from. After looking at all the footage I created I had a hard time deciding what I wanted to put into my final project.

I set the bar high in my rubric by saying I had to create a ten minute presentation. I made the final decision to change to switch up my project a little. Instead of the ten minute presentation I wanted to make a unique and creative way of displaying my sequences. I did this in After Effects and made an animation that acted as the display case for some of my best time lapses. The animation used the instrumental “Runaway” by Kanye West, and was a space environment with time lapse sequences floating in planets riding up rays of a sun with a clock in it. I chose my best three time lapse sequences for this animation. The first time lapse I chose was my favorite and it was a sequence of the clouds during sunset on top of a mountain looking over the ocean. At first the colors in it are normal with the sun just about to set. When the sun finally sets the entire environment lights up with rays of light creating beautiful hues of fiery colors such as white orange and red. With a first timelapse this intriguing I was hoping to grab the viewer's attention and get them excited for the rest of the animation. The time lapse after this one is from the same day and gives a better look at the setting sun and the colors it was giving off. It was a close up of the sun setting over the oceans. Most of the sequence is overtaken by different shades of orange white and red resting in the sky above the ocean. The final time lapse sequence is of a pathway on the side of a mountain looking over a valley. The pathway is in the bottom of the shot and the middle-upper part of the shot is a cloud sequence happening above the middle of the valley. After viewing the third and final sequence the animation zooms out and pans up to the sun at the top of the flares showing the clock inside of it turning faster and faster.

This was the first time freestyle chose to do this project and overall I think it was a success. If I could do my project over again I would try and get better quality time lapses. The time lapses I created looked good but there was a lot of different techniques I could’ve used to make them more professional. For instance I wish I knew how to fix light flickering for timelapses, because a lot of my sequences had lighting issues. In the future I will definitely make more time lapses, I want to do photography in college and really enjoy the process of making a timelapse. I was really excited about the way my project turned out and was blown away by what other people created. Even though it was hard to venture out and do a project never done before I’m glad freestyle gave us this opportunity and I hope other classes get to try out this project as well.

Here is some pictures I took while making my timelapses.

This is a picture of a cloud sequence over the ocean. I edited it in LightRoom to give the image more of a warm feeling to it.
This is a still of a timelapse of a waterfall I thought about putting in my project but ultimately didn't think it fit.
I took this still from a grass valley focusing in on the ocean.
This picture was from a cloud sequence with a powerline in the middle of the frame. The clouds passing the powerline in the background looked really cool. I added some effects in Adobe Light Room to make this picture more colorful and lively.