Photographer Julian Tryba’s Boston “Layer-Lapse” Takes Timelapse Photography To A New Level

Time-lapses have been around for years now and some of the novelty has started to wear out for me. Although it is quite fascinating to watch major city time-lapses, especially clips incorporating motion achieved through the use of a motion control system, “layer-lapse” videos take the tired time-lapse to a new amazing level. I have never come across the term “layer-lapse” and wondered what the video will look like. This amazing piece of work combines seamlessly the audio track with the visuals, creating an immersive video where the images cannot be separated from the music. Photographer, Julian Tryba, recently captured Boston by creating a “layer-lapse” video.

Boston Layer-Lapse from Julian Tryba on Vimeo.

Traditional time-lapses are constrained by the idea that there is a single universal clock. In the spirit of Einstein’s relativity theory, layer-lapses assign distinct clocks to any number of objects or regions in a scene. Each of these clocks may start at any point in time, and tick at any rate. The result is a visual time dilation effect known as layer-lapse.

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To learn more about this project, my background, and my gear, please visit:
Motion Control: Kessler CineDrive

Technical Information:
Hours Spent Shooting~ 100
Hours Spent Editing~ 350
# of Drafts/Iterations~800
Photos Taken~ 150,000
Data~ 6TB
Avg # of Layers/clip ~35

Music: A big thanks to Alex Adair for making the song “Make Me Feel Better” and giving me permission to use it.

Locations: Port of Boston, Hancock Tower, Memorial Drive, MIT Stata Center, Harborwalk, Wharf District Park, Chandler Plaza, Convention Center, North Point Park, State St., Boston Commons, Pier 4 (, Greenway, Customs Tower, Boston Harbor Hotel (, and Deer Island Park

Canon EOS-6D

To create such a stunning video, Julian spent 100 hours taking 150,000 photographs. He consequently spent over 350 hours editing and went through over 800 iterations of the video where he incorporated on average 35 layers per clip.  Besides spending time in photographing and editing, Julian prepared well in advance as planning and pre-production are key.

Boston Layer Lapse Photography

In Julian’s words:

“I have had the sequence setup in Premiere Pro for many months and it has been a matter of filling in the clips one by one. Before going on location, I decide which piece of the sequence I want to fill in. I like to listen to the few seconds of music I will edit that clip to. Then I head over to a map I have been working on that contains all the shooting locations in Boston I have in mind.”

Taking thousands of photographs is the easy part of creating a “layer-lapse”.  Incorporating motion in a “layer-lapse” can become challenging as consistency, accuracy and repeatability are a must. The CineDrive system allowed Julian to achieve his vision as according to him, “the CineDrive system is one of the fastest and precise motion control system available. Layer-lapses rely very heavily on repeatability which is one of CineDrive’s greatest strengths. The layer-lapse is achieved by doing the same exact motion control movement multiple times (5-10), so the more precise the motion control system, the better.”

Shot with the Canon 6D camera using the Canon 16-35mm f2.8 II lens almost in entirety, the “layer-lapse” can be considered a 4K video. With a full frame 36 x 24 mm CMOS image sensor with a resolution of 5,472 x 3,648 that makes up for the 20.2 effective pixels, the Canon 6D is a beast of a photographic camera, despite the fact that in video mode it maxes out at 1080p and has no 4K recording mode. However, with a creative time-lapse sequence one can get creative and get the most out of the camera.

Regardless of the tools used to create the “layer-lapse” video, vision and creativity are most important. I think Julian emphasises this point brilliantly, explaining that, “learning the basic technical portion of time-lapse is not that time consuming, it can be learned in a matter of weeks by watching lots of tutorials. Things that are extremely difficult to master are creativity, developing your photographic eye, as well as creating a personal style that is true to yourself.”

To learn more about the Boston “layer-lapse” project, Julian Tryba, software and gear used on the project visit

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  1. Henry Eckstein January 9, 2015
    • Ogy Stoilov January 10, 2015

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