Last week marked the second anniversary of my movie debut which is named “Warsaw 24h timelapse”. I spent many months shooting it – since the first trials and when the idea appeared in 2012, until the beginning of 2014, when the movie screening finally happened.
I put so much effort to it I can’t believe it’s been already 2 years since that time!
More info: vimeo.com
Warsaw night cityscape (2013)
The idea for the movie appeared after I graduated from high school
I had a lot of free time before studies I spent on photography. By that time there wasn’t any timelapse movie about Warsaw and the ones from big cities around the world made a big impression on me. I decided that hey – I have some equipment and opportunities – why wouldn’t I be the one to do the same in here? I already made some trials before, so I knew how to do it right.
I knew that simply creating a movie with nice shots isn’t everything
I decided to show 24 hours in the city, from sunrise, until late night. I got inspired by Hans Zimmer music and planned all shots and tension to fit somehow similiar to score. It helped me to complete scenario and later with editing. The final score was composed by Piotr Hummel.
Some of the shots were created during winter
I remember, that once I was planning to make 3 takes, one after another. I spent over 3 hours doing it with -20 Celcius degrees and cold wind, while being 100 meters above ground. The security guard who let me go up there had to check from time to time if I’m still alive.
By the way, there is a music club on the same roof now, which is pretty funny when I remind my visits up there from the past :)
I managed to capture some amazing views of Warsaw
Many people thought , that this photo is a montage. In fact, that’s just how perspective and long focal length are working. Here you can see the Palace of Culture and Science, with Natioan Stadium visible in the background – two of Warsaw symbols. It’s one of the best photographs I’ve ever done.
Warsaw Business Center
Also, I had a lot of adventures during that time!
Once in the middle of the night I climbed on the one church tower and had to wait motionless for nearly 2 hours. A few times I had to climb 40-floors high building by foot, then scout to the next location to catch the sunrise. For a few times I took a some friend with me, to accompany me during the time I had to wait for the shot to complete. Thanks for your support, pals!
Warsaw Old Town with Royal Castle on the left
Each of 35 shots was precisely planned
I was checking the position of the sun from each spot and was awaiting for good weather. After the shot I created in October 2012 I had to wait for 3 months before the sun on the sky appeared again, with no cloud covering it :) During that time I completed my equipment, including DIY timelapse slider.
I had to gain permissions to shoot from the skyscrapers rooftops
Most of people agreed to help me – by that time I hoped the movie will be seen by few thousands of people. I wanted to create it because it’s my passion and that’s what I could give to this city from myself, and probably that’s why they decided to help me. It was very intimate and unforgettable experience to admire this city from such perspective. Warsaw was burned to ashes in 1944 and watching it now, big and beautiful, through the prism of history, was very moving.
The screening was planned for 28.01.2014
I think I would never decide to publish Warsaw 24h myself – I’m a perfectionist and I still wanted only to improve and correct it. Finally, thanks to a friend of mine, my 5 minute debut had to appear in Muranów cinema in Warsaw, during the Movie Discussion Club. I still remember how scared I was!
When I got home I published the video on the Youtube…
I would never dream of what happened next!
Warsaw 24h achieved 100k views in one week and over 500k views until now, becoming the most popular timelapse movie not only about Warsaw, but about Poland too. And it was completely independent! I appeared in most Polish media, including TV and Radio. I got many, many phone calls and e-mails – even from Poles living abroad since many years – thanking me for showing them the modern Warsaw – the City of Phoenix. Movie was shown on the fountain curtain on special shows in Warsaw, during Warsaw Uprising anniversary in Melbourne, Australia, and in University of Future Cities in Glasgow. Since that time I’m still getting propositions and have a lot of work to do.
In future Warsaw 24h timelapse will be a great historic testimony
The city is changing very fast and my movie is becoming not actual – since these two years they opened the second metro line, built new skyscrapers, and many more are developing. I captured this changes in October 2015, when I flew above the city in a helicopter. For me, Warsaw 24h timelapse is a story of how patience and determination are worthwhile, and how important it is to strive for the goal no matter what. As for now you can watch the movie on Vimeo.
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