Creating the Georgia Dome Time-lapse

A few weeks ago, the Georgia Dome contacted me to see if I would shoot a massive time-lapse of the stadium’s transformation from an NFL football game on a Thursday night to the SEC Championship Game two days later on Saturday afternoon. Being a huge Falcons fan and longtime season ticket holder, I was definitely in!

I got a chance to tour the Dome before setting everything up so I could see what I was in for. I decided I would set up two cameras on the catwalk high above the action and leave them there for three days. I would then take my third camera on a tripod and walk around the stadium before and during the game to get other angles of the action and the crowd.

On Thursday, November 29th, the New Orleans Saints came to town to battle the Atlanta Falcons for a primetime game on the NFL Network. The game started at 8:20PM, so I got to the stadium early to set everything up. I put my D300 with a fisheye lens on a corner of the catwalk using a Gorillapod. I then had my D7000 with a Tokina 11-16mm set up at the 50 yard line with a Manfrotto Magic Arm and Super Clamp. I shot everything in RAW to maintain high quality in case I wanted to do some movements in post. I also wasn’t sure how much the lighting would change inside from 8PM to mid-afternoon. The bad thing about shooting RAW in this situation is that the cameras were shooting nonstop for three days straight. Lots and lots of megabytes. Gigabytes, actually.

I wasn’t going to be able to get up on the catwalk once the game started, so I needed to set everything up to last at least the duration of the game. We also wanted to see the Dome fill up in the final video, so I would start the time-lapse at 6PM when the gates opened. After some quick math, I decided to shoot both cameras at 23-second intervals, which would give me a little over six hours of shooting and I wouldn’t hit the maximum exposures of 999, which is all the Nikons allow for in interval timer shooting.

After those two cameras were set up, I took another D7000 with a Tokina 11-16mm and a Nikon 24-70mm and walked around the exterior of the Dome to get some shots of the crowd coming in for the game. Once the game was about to begin, I went inside and tried to get as many different angles of the action as I could. Being such a big fan of my Falcons, it was definitely hard to focus on shooting rather than watching the Birds beat the Aints. (Ahhh, what a great night that was!)

After the game was over, I went back up to the catwalk to swap out for fresh batteries and memory cards. I changed my settings to 30-second intervals so that the cameras would last for eight hours instead of only six. I ended up having to go back to the Dome every eight hours to change out batteries and cards. During those eight hour breaks at home, I imported all the images and started the editing process so I could get a headstart on everything.

On Saturday, the Alabama Crimson Tide took on the Georgia Bulldogs for the SEC Championship title. I went back to the Dome at 8AM to do a quick swap, and then back again at noon to begin shooting. The game didn’t start until 4PM, but I knew there would be a huge crowd tailgaiting. This was SEC football, after all. The sky was beautiful that day, so I got some good shots of the Dome with plenty of clouds going by. I went into the stadium at around 3PM to start getting interior crowd shots, and then spent the remainder of the game walking around the club level to find the best angles of the field.

After a little more than 48 hours, I was done capturing all the photos I needed. I ended up with more than 30,000 RAW images. There were a lot of clips that didn’t get used because I couldn’t fit them into the final video. 

Here are some photos of my setups at the Dome as well as a few other randoms.











48 Hours at the Georgia Dome

Finally finished my time-lapse of the Georgia Dome, spanning a little over 48 hours, two football games, and a massive transformation of a 70,000+ capacity stadium. Lots of photos, lots of hard drive space, lots of editing… but lots of fun to do. Hope you enjoy it!

48 Hours at the Georgia Dome from David Kosmos Smith on Vimeo.

Georgia Tech vs. Tulane Basketball Time-lapse

Not long after Georgia Tech asked me to shoot a time-lapse of one of their football games, they asked me to shoot another one of the school’s inaugural basketball game at the newly renovated McCamish Pavilion.

I went to the arena a few days before the game to find some good vantage points. I set up my D300 + Tokina 11-16mm lens with a Gorillapod in the press box, and then I walked around the arena during the game with my D7000 + Tokina 11-16 and a tripod.

It’s been a lot of fun to shoot these sports events as time-lapses. They’ve been quite challenging because you really have to be on your toes, and I was constantly running from point to point trying to get shots of the action. Little did I know that I would soon be doing another sports-related time-lapse! I’m currently editing a big one that spanned three days. LOTS of photos to stitch together (30,887 to be exact) and I’ll hopefully have it ready here in the next week. Stay tuned!

In the meantime, here’s the basketball time-lapse. Hope you enjoy!

Georgia Tech vs Tulane, Men’s Basketball from David Kosmos Smith on Vimeo.

Georgia Tech football game time-lapse

Recently, I was asked by the Georgia Tech Athletic Department to shoot a time-lapse of one of their football games. Sounded like a lot of fun, so I took them up on it. It was a lot of fun, a little challenging, but all-in-all a good day.

I set up my D300 in the press box with my Tokina 11-16mm lens. I then walked around the stadium with my D7000 on a tripod trying to get closer shots of the field, the players, the fans, and all the action. 

Here’s what I came up with. Hope you enjoy!

Georgia Tech vs. BYU from David Kosmos Smith on Vimeo.


So I finally finished my time lapse of Europe. As you may remember, Inna and I spent three months in Europe last summer, traveling to ten different countries while making Lithuania our homebase. I ended up shooting over 30,000 images to use in a time lapse, but I guess somewhere along, I put them all on the backburner while editing my “real” photos from the trip. So I recently got back to them and started the long process of putting it all together.

I did some initial processing in Aperture and then exported all the images as JPGs in their original size. Then I stitched each time lapse sequence in Quicktime and then brought them into Adobe Premiere Pro CS6, where I fixed any flicker issues I had and applied some pans and zooms.

It ended up taking me about two weeks or so to put everything together, but a lot of that time was spent applying adjustments to 30,000 photos in Aperture and then exporting them out, and also rendering in Premiere. (However, I do want to say that Premiere blows Final Cut Pro out of the water! Can’t believe what I’ve been missing!)

At any rate… here it is! If you go to the video’s page on Vimeo, you can read some more details about it. I hope you enjoy, and thanks for watching!

EuroLapse from David Smith on Vimeo.

Behind the scenes of my time-lapse video, "Destination"

I’ve played around with time-lapse in the past, but I’ve never put together an entire video. So while I was in Destin, Florida for a few weeks, I decided to give it a go. 


Shooting the time-lapse itself was a blast. I decided to make it a tilt shift video, so it was fun to try and find subjects to shoot that might look good as miniatures. Unfortunately, some of the angles weren’t ideal for tilt shift, and some of the shots were too close up to the people, so they didn’t quite look as miniature as I wanted. 

I think my favorite shots are the single anchored boat and the woman sitting by herself on the pier. That lady looked a little down, and she definitely had some things on her mind, so it was kind of interesting to watch her sitting there. 

In all, I think I had about 13,000 stills that I took that day. Obviously, I didn’t use a lot of them for this video. Some had horrible flickering issues, some had bad angles, and others just didn’t make for good tilt shift shots. Speaking of which, the sequences from the boat ride were also some of my favorite, but obviously were not tilt shift. I ended up taking a shot every second, not knowing how long it was going to take us to get to our destination, but it ended up being way too many shots. So I had to set the time lapse for 30fps and I still ended up cutting out about 75% of that entire boat ride. 

The flickering was my biggest issue while editing this in post. I couldn’t figure out a good way to solve this issue, and after reading a ton of tutorials and reviews on deflicker plug-ins, I came across a solution. It wasn’t the quickest way to solve this problem, but it did help a lot. A gentleman named Chris on the forum wrote up a Photoshop script. I tried it out and it worked pretty well for most of my sequences with flicker, but not all. However, I will say that I probably didn’t use it to its fullest potential, so it may work even better than it did for me (I was in a rush because I wanted to get this done before I left Atlanta for three months to go to Europe). So here’s a link to the thread with the deflicker script. Make sure you read the entire thread because there are multiple versions of this script available for download, each one an improvement on the previous one. 

At any rate, I had a blast making this video. I know I probably missed some steps somewhere, either while shooting or in post, but I’m planning on doing a lot of these in the future, so hopefully I’ll become more efficient and put out better quality in the end. I hope you guys enjoy this one and please let me know if you have any questions or suggestions on how I could’ve done something better. Thanks for watching!

(By the way, the gallery above are frame grabs from the video itself, so apologies for the quality. The uncompressed still shots were actually pretty nice.)