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Ten of the Best: Shanghai Timelapse Videos

Shanghai in hyperspeed!

Shanghai in hyperspeed

These days, it seems every week a new time-lapse video hits the internet showcasing another world city in all its neon-lit glory. Given that Shanghai has become almost the de facto standard of the 21st metropolis in the eyes of many, it comes as no surprise that the city I’ve called home for the last twelve months has seen its fair share of time-lapsed adoration over the past couple of years. The skyscrapers, the lights, the traffic and the thousands of people rushing everywhere, are everything a time-lapser could ask for as raw material for their latest video.

Choosing ten different videos without repeating myself wasn’t easy. Once you’ve seen one shot of the same traffic-streaking flyover, you’ve seen them all. As such, I’ve tried to choose videos that each show a different side of Shanghai than the one before. I don’t know how these guys do it, and I dread to think how long each video takes to produce, but for the sake of keeping our collective time online boredom-free, I’m glad that they do.

Which one do you like best?

1) Shanghai by Artem Pryadko

In the latest, and arguably the best, Shanghai time-lapse currently out there, Belarusian photographer Artem Pryadko hits every point on the Shanghai landmark map. One of the growing band of eastern European videographers turning their lenses on Asia, it seems if they’re not taking GoPro photos from the top of skyscrapers, they’re making amazing videos like this. The Bund, Pudong, Jingan Temple, Yuyuan Garden and all the rest are here and unquestionably stunning. Go Belarus!

2) This is Shanghai by Rob Whitworth

It couldn’t really be anywhere else. From the opening shot, this video from expert timelapser Rob Whitworth, takes you on a two minute tour of Shanghai the futuristic megacity of so many hyperbolic newspaper articles. Roads, lights, roads, traffic, skyscrapers, roads, people, lights. It’s a perfect summary of my first year in Shanghai. There are shots in this that will leave you wondering how they did it. Welcome to the Inception of time-lapse videos. Enjoy!

3) From the 23rd by Joe Nafis

Filmed from his 23rd floor apartment, this timelapse from American videographer Joe Nafis, shows Shanghai for what it really is – one of the fastest growing cities in the world. Shot over the course of two years, the video shows the evolution of the Shanghai landscape below, complete with rising skyscrapers, bulldozed apartment blocks, and plenty more to marvel at. Amazing!

4) Welcome to Shanghai by Kirill Trifonov

Russian photographer Kirill Trifonov mixes timelapse and regular footage in this video that shows that Shanghai isn’t just spaghetti roads and gleaming high-rises. There are actually people in Shanghai too – people that do things that Shanghai people do. There’s kite flying and tai chi, a bit of outdoor dancing and old town wandering. It’s a nice mix of people and infrastructure, the old and the new.

5) Shanghai in 100 seconds by Johannes Heuckeroth

A mixture of timelapse and slow-motion footage in this one by German photographer Johannes Heuckeroth. 100 seconds of Shanghai with some cool shots of a backlit Pudong that should inspire anyone with a camera to get out there and capture it themselves. Cool tune too.

6) Shanghai Time-lapse by Joe Nafis

The second video on the list from Mr Nafis, this one demonstrates exactly why I visit East Nanjing Road as seldom as I can. It also makes you wonder how these guys got access to all of their lofty vantage points, looking down on the action. Excellent work, Sir!

7) SHANGHIGHSPEED by Tiny Carousel

It’s not all steel and neon in this Shanghai timelapse from Tiny Carousel. There are back streets and old town alleys before the video gives way to the shiny newness of Pudong. There’s even a trip to Zhujiazhao watertown to enjoy. Mr Carousel tells us that all 6148 images used in the video were taken manually using a Sony Cybershot and a tripod, standing in the same place, taking one picture every twenty seconds for up to 4 hours at a time. That’s dedication!

8) Shanghai Cityscape 2014 by Alan Lu

Blue skies above Shanghai! This guy really picked his days. Technically, it’s a great video, but I can’t help thinking there’s plenty more to Shanghai than some of these videos are showing us. Still, you can’t argue with the title. It’s the Shanghai cityscape all right.

9) Industrial Shanghai by Hugo Ciss

A change of pace in this one by Hugo Ciss. This is one of three he’s currently got on Vimeo, and it’s a welcome change to the glossy Shanghai guidebook scenes we’ve seen already. It’s three minutes of abandoned buildings, darkened factory works, and a reminder that Shanghai, on top of everything else, is actually the busiest container port in the world.

Cities in Time-Lapse: Industrial Shanghai from hugociss on Vimeo.

10) Timelapse Shanghai 2012 by LBXXX

The last video on the list, it’s another good video, but I included it mainly for the music – a fantastic piece, but one probably better suited to the helicopter assault scene in Apocalyse Now rather than an urban timelapse video. Still, you can’t say it doesn’t give it that extra je ne sais quoi. And it’s still some excellent time-lapsing.

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