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Time-lapse video: Mulholland Drive bridge removal during Carmageddon

Times video journalist Jeff Amlotte spent the weekend camping out in his pickup truck along the 405 Freeway to record images for a time lapse video of the partial demolition of the Mulholland Drive bridge. The bridge is being replaced in stages to make way for a widening of the freeway below. The freeway was shut down for about two days and the expected traffic tie-up was dubbed Carmageddon. Here Amlotte tells how he did it:

Two video cameras were used, a Canon XF305 and a Sony EX1.

The cameras were set using the interval recording function. The Canon, which was the establishing shot, was set to record six frames every two minutes and shot continuously for 48 hours, creating one video clip that was just over 6 minutes long.

The Sony was the “roaming” camera. It was set to record six frames every 20 seconds and shot for 40-45 minutes creating a single clip approximately 25-30 seconds long.

The clips were sped up 500% in Final Cut Pro with the exception of the opening, closing and falling pillar shots.

There were a total of 21 different angles shot throughout the weekend though not all were used in the final edit.  There were a few times when recording began that action would happen for the first five minutes then stop or move out of frame, causing it to be a boring angle. It was nearly impossible to do close-ups because no one area would be worked on constantly for 40 minutes.

All through the planning I knew I wanted to use  “Flight of the Bumblebee” from the opera “The Tale of Tsar Saltan” by Nikolai Rimsky- Korsakov for the music in the video. And having never listened to the opera before I wasn’t sure how long the recognizable “Bumblebee” piece was. So, without even listening to the piece first, I set out to make the video 3 minutes long. But because of my miscalculations on interval recording, the video came up short by half. I was delighted to discover the orchestral interlude was about a minute and a half long itself. I consider myself lucky it all worked out.

See more photos from the Carmageddon weekend and full coverage.

Photo: Amlotte at the Mulholland Drive bridge on Friday night. Credit: Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times


  1. July 18, 2011, 12:01 pm

    So cool. Thanks Jeff!

    By: Justin Dorfman
  2. July 18, 2011, 9:57 pm

    recalculating – great job

    By: demandequality
  3. July 19, 2011, 6:40 pm


    By: amyzents
  4. July 22, 2011, 11:20 am

    Very nice piece! Love the editing choices.

    By: mfearing
  5. July 24, 2011, 7:05 pm

    Great to see


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