Storm Highway by Dan Robinson
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                   Tuesday, October 2, 2007 - 2:11PM

IntoSummer phase II - Summer to Winter stages

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As I posted about a few months ago, 'IntoSummer' was originally an effort to create a series of high-definition time-lapse season change videos documeting the transition from winter to spring. With that segment complete, I'm focusing on a second phase to complete entire four-season time lapses. Spring 2007 in West Virginia was a little unusual, with an early warm spell followed by a sudden and prolonged deep freeze in April. The result was an early greening of vegetation that was cut short and even retrograded by the cold snap. Due to the cold weather, spring storm season travel and the Raleigh move, I never actually got to shoot the final stage of the summer transition, that is, all of the scenes with full summer greenage. My return to Charleston yesterday happened at just the right time for the continuance of the 'IntoSummer' project. Even though autumn has arrived, today the trees are still in full late summer green and just about ready to begin their annual fall color show. So, this afternoon I shot all eleven scenes in preparation for the summer-to-winter transition sequence. By November, this phase should be complete, yielding eleven full four-season timelapse sequences. I'll probably abandon the 'IntoSummer' name since this project is now comprising all four seasons.

Here are screen captures from three of the sequences showing the progress so far. Each sequence is made up of seven stages, but to save space here I'm posting just three of each - the first stage (winter scene from March 17), the fourth stage (budding trees from March 25) and the most recent stage shot today (full summer green). The next stage will be filmed once the leaves begin to change color in about a week.

Scene #10: Downtown Charleston from Spring Hill Cemetery ridgetop

Scene #6: Lone tree in front of wooded hills

Scene #1: Shadowlawn residential neighborhood

With the recent purchase of a new quad-core computer, I now have the horsepower to begin assembling the full 1080i HD stages of the season change timelapses. The challenge will be making the fine adjustments to make all of the stages line up with each other, which will involve both slight rotating, shifting and resizing of each stage. Even though I'm using printouts of frame captures along with landmarks to line up the scenes as much as possible when they are shot, it is nearly impossible to get perfect alignment every time. The end result will likely mean that I will lose a portion of each frame to produce the lowest common denominator, but still have enough for acceptable HD resolution. Once I have this process down, editing in additional stages as they are shot will be easier. I'll update this blog with the progress on this project as I go.

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