Washington Square Park – New York City Hyperlapse Case Study


Another spot that I decided to visit this past Friday was Washington Square Park in New York.  I had my tilt-shift lens but quickly realized once I got there that no vantage point existed to leverage this lens.  I decided to try out a hyperlapse around the fountain.  I noticed that blocks on the ground were evenly spaced in a circle around the fountain which is perfect for a hyperlapse since it would be a constant circular motion.  I was going to do 180 degrees of rotation with one photo for every block.  I ended up shooting 88 photos (steps) in this sequence.  In retrospect, perphaps two steps every block might have been better for a slightly longer sequence but this still turned out decent.  I focused on the center block of the structure and kept that location constant in the frame during the whole sequence.  I also made sure my path was free of any obstacles (such as a light post which I made sure my path was in front of).  Typically, a obstacle in your path will distort the video either by your stepping or the editing.  My camera was in Direct Sunlight white balance with ISO 320, f/13, and 1/200 second shutter speed. I was using my kit lens (18.0 – 55.0 mm f/3.5-5.6) at 18 mm.  I was hoping to keep the entire fountain and arc in the frame the entire time while accounting for cropping for the 16:9 4K frame size.

Once the video is shot the next part is editing.  Sometimes editing can be pretty easy with Adobe After Effects Warp Stabilizer but other times it can be tricky.  Rotating around a fountain is usually tough because the water can trick warp stabilizer.  To show you how I edit the videos here is the original sequence at 24 fps with no editing besides color corrections in Lightroom and LRTimelapse.

At first, I tried to apply Warp Stabilizer and the result is below.  The result is 90% good there is some bounce in the arc and at the end there is some zoom distortion or jello-ing in the background.

So what I had to do was first manually stabilize the video with motion tracker for position first and then rotation second, each independently.  I then used Warp Stabilizer after that to get the final result.  I usually use YouTubre videos for some tips and this is a great one that describes some of the features and work required for difficult editing of hyperlapse video.


Thanks for reading! Let me know if you have any questions!

Leave a Reply