Page 140 - Simply Abu Dhabi Magazine V

Basic HTML Version

The intricate technique of time lapse filming is a carefully mastered skill for which Slovenian
born Beno Saradzic has become globally renowned amongst the time-lapse, photography and
filmmaking communities. The Time-lapse technique is fairly simple – a number of photos are
taken of one scene at regular intervals, over a period of time then taken to an editing suite to be
sped up – giving the viewer the impression that time is flying by. Despite the apparent simplicity of
the actual technique, the process of putting it together is a lengthy and painstaking one, hence why
the photographer needs a real enthusiasm for their subject matter. As an exceptionally talented
filmmaker and photographer living and working in Abu Dhabi, Beno has an infectious passion for
his time-lapse film production and his work has received great critical acclaim.
Capturing a Changing City
Using the complex time-lapse filming technique, Beno
Saradzic produced Abu Dhabi 2011, taking thousands
of pictures at fixed locations to show the movements in
a city that has altered beyond recognition over the past
50 years. Beno’s short time-lapse film set in Abu Dhabi
is rapidly becoming a local internet phenomenon with
dramatic scenes that capture the city of Abu Dhabi at its
most dynamic. In just minutes of footage, it shows planes
landing at the airport, the sun setting over the Corniche
and the shifting colours of Emirates Palace’s dome. The
film cleverly and magically transforms the ordinary aspects
of everyday life into something exciting and extraordinary.
Thus the usually perceived hindrance of busy traffic in
a small city becomes something mesmerising, as do the
lights flickering on and off in the residential apartments.
Opening with a striking montage of black-and-white
photos and video footage of Abu Dhabi from the sixties,
in fewer than four minutes, this enchanting piece of
production shows sequences from different vantage points
in the city that rapidly evolve into present-day images.
Despite its brief nature it required 21,000 images and
countless hours of hard work. Watching the short film
clip seems to fill the viewer with awe as they marvel at the
wonder of life in this beautiful city, capturing the vibrant
energy of the dizzy heights of the architecture and the
bright lights. Totally transfixing, the film has promoted
a sense of national pride as Abu Dhabi’s population
realised what a truly special and fascinating city they lived
in. A remarkable masterpiece, we simply had to find out
more. We were honoured to have the chance to find out
what inspired Beno Saradzic and discover the intricacies
involved in his stunning time-lapse production.
Let’s Meet the Man behind the Magic
Is time-lapse photography something that you’ve always
been interested in?
Since arriving in Abu Dhabi, I have worked as an
architectural illustrator, a pre-visualisation artist and a
3D CGI animator. Since 2007, I’ve been a filmmaker,
art director and photographer at TimeSand Studios but I
had no experience in this method of cinematography. In
just eight weeks I went from being a complete newcomer
to becoming a time-lapse photography expert. It is a
medium which has a profounding hypnotic effect on
the audience. It’s exciting, spectacular and surprising.
Through a process of trial and error, I literally learnt on
location and my skills improved on a daily basis.
What motivated you to use Abu Dhabi as the subject for
this film?
Having spent half my life in Abu Dhabi, I consider it to be
as much of a home to me as my native country of Slovenia.
Under the leadership of the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan
al Nahyan, the founding father of UAE, this country
underwent a dramatic transformation after the discovery
of oil and from the desolate and forbidding desert sprang
an innovative, ultra-modern country with futuristic cities.
Since 1991, I have seen this incredible city completely
transformed from humble origins into a vibrant and
bustling metropolis, home to some of the world’s tallest
towers. That is quite a story – a miraculous one that I felt
compelled to tell.
What was it about Abu Dhabi that you hoped to
Having lived in the capital for over two decades, I have
come to view it as a living, breathing organism. I work
in the city myself and have seen its residents constantly
darting around. The people and the traffic are the
lifeblood pumping through the streets and alleys of this
busy city. I wanted to encapsulate the rapid movement
of city life and challenge people’s perceptions of the place
where they live and work.
This stunning time-lapse film certainly represents Abu
Dhabi in a different light.
It was my intention to change people’s perceptions, to
amaze them. We are hard-wired to view the world in
a certain light so the film set out to alter perceptions.
Changing the way people look at things, the reflections of
cars speeding by on the windows of flats suddenly take on
the image of sparkling diamonds.
The film shows Abu Dhabi from some awesome angles.
How hard was that to capture?
It took quite a lot of determination to gain access to
some of the buildings where filming took place. I had
to contact the developers’ marketing departments,
project management offices, construction sites and safety
departments before I was allowed on top of the structures.
I was fortunate in that I managed to secure permission to
film many of the sequences from some of the city’s tallest
buildings, including the as-yet-unfinished Trust Tower, in
Abu Dhabi’s Central Market. Aldar Properties were very
supportive which enabled me to show Abu Dhabi from
new heights to take the viewer on a moving journey.