Thanks to an idea by Steve Sullivan, the multimedia director at The Sun, videographer Christopher T. Assaf embarked on a challenging time-lapse video experiment. A camera, clicking every 15 minutes from Oct. 26 until Jan. 11, photographed the final construction of the new Everyman Theatre and its preparations for the opening performance of ‘August: Osage County.’
Watch the video and read more about the process.
The Everyman Theatre company recently moved from its space on Charles Street to a new, historied home at 315 W. Fayette. The building dates to 1910, when The Empire opened as a vaudeville theater. During the following 80 years the building had life as a Yiddish theater, controversial burlesque showplace, parking garage and The Town Theatre, a 1,500 seat cinema which opened with a premiere of ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ attended by Jimmy Stewart and Frank Capra. The dilapidated movie house closed in 1990 and the space fell further into disrepair.
My first challenge was to find a camera that not only had the capability to fire from a built-in intervalometer, but could last long enough on battery power to not need constant attention. After some research and experimentation, I settled on the Nikon D7000 with a Nikon NIKKOR 18-200 f/3.5-5.6. This is the camera kit the photographers and multimedia staff use for shooting video.
In my collection of equipment, I had a Super Clamp with a 486 RC2 compact ball head, both by Manfrotto — a combination I usually use for mounting electronic flash units. This allowed me to attach the camera to almost anything, including the theater rigging.
The camera battery needed replacing approximately every seven days. This was done with the help of Everyman’s Laura Weiss and construction foreman Tab Kramer. For some Murphy’s Law reason, a purchased electric power adapter for the camera failed to work, necessitating the weekly visits.
The camera died a few times during the process, as three long holidays and Super Storm Sandy kept me away, as did the normal vagaries of news that make for an unpredictable schedule. At only one point did the camera unexpectedly not work for more than a day or two, and that was when I forgot to reset the intervalometer settings, instead hitting resume and allowing the camera to hit the 999 photo maximum buffer.
The camera was set to fire every 15 minutes, 24 hours a day. This comes out to 1,000 pictures each week. With the camera operating from Oct. 26 to Jan. 11, I had 5,647 pictures total and used 2,820. To keep the run time reasonable meant cutting down most of the nights to 24 or 30 images. I also eliminated some of the inactivity to keep the running time close to three minutes.
BALTIMORE SUN: Everyman opens new theater with ‘August: Osage County’