Lake Como, Italy – TimeLapse Video
Diego Bonacina is an Italian photographer and a filmmaker. Diego devotes himself to landscape and architecture photography as well as timelapse video. Lake Como was recently nominated the most beautiful lake in the world and Diego wanted to pay tribute in a modern way. He successfully accomplished this in his 2 minute timelapse video which captures its natural and historic beauty.
“Lake Como” is my first timelapse project. It’s a 2 minutes film, but it took 5 months, 7000 stills and more than 300 Gigabytes of data to complete it.
It all began in January, 2014. For the past four years I’ve been a landscape photographer but I’ve always thought video productions and video editing were my way. After a couple of years of studying and experimenting, I decided I was ready for an “official” timelapse project.
Living in Italy, it’s pretty easy to find beautiful places to shoot, every region has a many natural and cultural heritage and my home town is no exception. That’s why I decided to dedicate my first timelapse project to the place I love and where I live, my lake.
Also, I thought playing at home would have been easier since I knew the locations and all the other stuff. Indeed, that helped me a lot from storyboarding to the marketing during the final release. I could make more inspections, I had few people who helped me a lot and timing wasn’t an issue.
When I scheduled the shooting sessions, I planned to finish the production in May, but I shot the last scene in August.
2014 was probably the worst year ever for a timelapser in Italy. It rained more than 250 days so far (and still raining). As I said, timing wasn’t my priority since I had the opportunity to choose when to shoot, but this is not true for one exception: the festival of San Giovanni and its spectacular fireworks on Isola Comacina, a small island in the lake. That day was crucial for my storyboard, and I couldn’t miss it! Well, if you watch carefully the last scene of the film you can guess what happened.
Most of the scenes of the film were shot day and night, from the same spot, being careful not to move the camera. This means I spent 6 to 9 hours in each place standing in front of the camera and waiting. The day of the festival, it was cloudy and I knew it could rain but I didn’t have a choice. I found just the right spot and I started to shoot at 4pm. After a few minutes, a huge amount of water started to fall down in the lake. I immediately realized the rain was inexorably coming towards the island and…me!
I stopped the camera, but I couldn’t move it. So I covered it with a plastic bag and I opened my umbrella. It rained cats and dogs for 3 hours, but fortunately it stopped before night and the fireworks were amazing!
I really recommend this festival to everyone who likes nature, culture and a romantic atmosphere. As you can see in the video, during the fireworks they also simulate the island being on fire, as historical revival of what happened in 1169 AD when Federico Barbarossa allied with the city of Como invaded the island and destroyed it. If you plan a trip to North Italy on June, you can’t miss it!
Back to the film. I shot it entirely with a 5D Mark II with a 24-105mm F4 lens, except for a couple of scenes where I mounted a 70-200mm F4 lens. I used ND filters for every day scene and I also had the opportunity to test an eMotimo TB3 motion control head for the tilt and pan movements which in my opinion is absolutely a very nice solution.
The post-production workflow was a little bit tricky, but I can tell you I edited it in After Effects and Premiere Pro, creating the timelapse sequences in AE and putting them together with the music in Premiere.
“Lake Como” has been a positive experiment for my career. It’s my first timelapse work and I’ve been selected for the TimeLapse ShowFest in Madrid and now I’m having a very good response from the web. I plan to shoot other timelapses, I already have two projects I’m working on and I’m really excited about them.
Timelapse video of Lake Como by Diego Bonacina on Vimeo.