Wednesday, December 17th, 2014

Paris / New York

This week’s video is a split screen comparison of New York and Paris that’s kind of fun. If the embed doesn’t display for you, click over to Vimeo. h/t Likecool

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Cities: New York, Paris

Wednesday, December 3rd, 2014

The New York Project

Here’s a fun timelapse of New York City. Nothing particularly unusual about it, but the city looks great. Awesome in full screen, high definition. If the video doesn’t display for you, click over to Vimeo. h/t Likecool

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Cities: New York

Wednesday, October 8th, 2014

Moscow Timelapse

Here’s a timelapse of Moscow by the same guy who did the Portugal one I posted recently. This video won various awards, and it’s definitely cool. For sure watch it in full screen high definition. If the video doesn’t display, click over to Vimeo.

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Topics: Architecture and Design
Cities: Moscow

Wednesday, September 24th, 2014

Paris When It Drizzles

Paris continues its run as the city people most love to shoot time lapses of. Here’s one called “Paris When It Drizzles” by Hal Bergman. If the video doesn’t display for you, click over to Vimeo. h/t Likecool

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Cities: Paris

Wednesday, September 10th, 2014

Time Lapse Portugal

This week a time lapse video of Portugal by Kirill Neiezhmakov, featuring Sesimbra and Lisbon. The scene transition technique is very cool. A beautiful piece but my gut reaction was that the beauty seems at odds with the country’s economic malaise. Best in full screen high definition. if the video doesn’t display for you, click over to Vimeo. h/t Likecool

As a bonus time lapse, here’s another installment in a series on LA, “Time-LAX 3.” If the video doesn’t display for you, click over to Vimeo.

Wednesday, August 20th, 2014

J’adore Paris

This week back to a time lapse one can actually enjoy, this a new one of Paris by Paul Richardson, which seems to be everyone’s favorite city for time lapses. One thing I like about this one is that it actually includes some scenes from La Défense, which is usually not included in Paris timelapses. This is great for full screen high definition. If the video doesn’t display for you, click over to Vimeo.

As a bonus this week, the Urban Cincy podcast recently took at look at Seoul. Site founder Randy Simes is currently on assignment there, and he and a Korean-American friend share some thoughts about that city and it’s development. If the embedded player doesn’t display for you, click over to UrbanCincy to listen.

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Cities: Paris

Wednesday, August 13th, 2014

Enter Pyongyang: The Timelapse As Communist Propaganda Video

It’s pretty clear that, in a sense, all of the time lapse videos I’ve featured here are marketing tools. They market both the film makers who created them, and the cities featured. Clearly the genre is all about making places just seem jaw-droppingly cool.

But at what point does marketing become propaganda? That is, at what point does the sales job cross the line from legitimate to illegitimate activity? I’m not sure where that line is, but a recent time lapse video of Pyongyang, North Korea by JT Singh and Rob Whitworth (who have produced other videos I’ve featured here) is on the wrong side of it.

I’m not going to embed this video on my site, but if you want to watch it you can click to Vimeo.

As you can see if you watch it, this video treats Pyongyang as just another cool emerging world global city, complete with lavish reclaimed waterfront parks, subway commuters, neon lit skyscrapers, a thriving bike culture, smiling happy kids, international brands (DHL), and more. It’s a consciously normalizing portrayal. But beyond that note elements designed deliberately to humanize the world’s most barbaric regime, ranging from using the official name of “Democratic People’s Republic of Korea” instead of North Korea in the title and splash screen to eliminate negative associations, to a preponderance of very non-threatening looking female (or androgynous) police officers who help mothers with strollers cross the street and such.

For the record, North Korea is a brutal communist dictatorship that’s likely the world’s most evil regime. You’ve no doubt seen the widely circulated satellite imagery of a completely dark North Korea at night:

Image via NBC News

Oddly enough, Singh and Whitlock didn’t show us any pictures of Pyongyang’s thriving nightlife scene…. (The lack of nighttime scenes is telling given they are a standard part of the genre and feature heavily in Singh and Whitlock’s previous work such as their Shanghai video that actually playfully shows all the lights of Shanghai going out! Apparently the real deal is too much for them).

But that doesn’t even scratch surface of the inhumanity of the North Korean regime. Famine is a recurring reality in the country in which an estimated million people died during the 1990s alone. The country also runs a network of concentration camps in which even children are brutalized. Consider this report from a former guard:

Children were savaged to death by guard dogs in a North Korea concentration camp, it was revealed today. Three youngsters died straight away under the snarling jaws of the prison camp dogs, defector and former prison guard Ahn Myong-Chol said. But two others were still breathing when guards buried them alive.

Myong-Chol,45, spent eight years as a prison guard in the gulag camps before he fled to South Korea in 1994. But he is still haunted by the dog-attack on the children as they left the camp school. “There were three dogs and they killed five children,” he recalled at a Geneva human rights hearing. “They killed three of the children right away. The two others were barely breathing and the guards buried them alive.”

But instead of the dogs being put down, their handlers petted them and gave them special food “as some kind of reward.”

A recent United Nations report described the horrors that exist in the country. As CNN reported:

A stunning catalog of torture and the widespread abuse of even the weakest of North Koreans reveal a portrait of a brutal state “that does not have any parallel in the contemporary world,” a United Nations panel reported Monday…North Korea is a state, it concluded, “that does not content itself with ensuring the authoritarian rule of a small group of people, but seeks to dominate every aspect of its citizens’ lives and terrorizes them from within.”

Why in the world would anyone want to have anything to do with making the North Korean regime look good? It isn’t like the filmmakers simply provided a portrayal that attempted to be nuanced and acknowledging complexities or something. Rather, this is a pure play work of propaganda.

They claim not to have been paid for their work. So what? That doesn’t change the reality of what it is. But even their own accompanying text raises troubling questions about the financing behind this. Their expenses were paid by a tour company that they claim is the market leader in North Korean tourism. Certainly at a minimum this company can’t be in that business without staying on Kim Jong-un’s good side, much less help the filmmakers “gain special access to locations.”

But that’s not even worth investigating since regardless of where the money came from, they created a video that serves the propaganda aims of the North Korean dictatorship. Without a doubt it’s “cool,” but that only makes their decision worse, not better. If in fact “Amazingly, we were given complete editorial control in the making of this piece,” that only adds to their shame in giving propaganda assistance to North Korea’s dictatorship of their own free will.

Wednesday, July 23rd, 2014

Discovering Vancouver

This week’s time lapse feature takes us to Vancouver, with two video look at that city. The first is called “Discover Vancouver.” If the embed doesn’t display for you, watch on Vimeo. h/t Likecool

The next one is called “Vancouver City.” If the embed doesn’t display for you, watch on YouTube. h/t Greg Randall

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Cities: Vancouver

Wednesday, July 16th, 2014

Las Vegas Timelapse

This week back to the timelapse with a gorgeous high definition look at Las Vegas by Keith Kiska. This is one for full screen high def to be sure. If the embed doesn’t display for you, watch on You Tube. h/t Likecool

As a bonus, here’s another timelapse of Los Angeles called “Above LA.” If this embed doesn’t display for you, watch at Vimeo. h/t Likecool

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Cities: Las Vegas, Los Angeles

Wednesday, June 25th, 2014

Timelapse In Lyon

Mayeul Akpovi is back with another one of his timelapse productions, this one of Lyon, France. This one is definitely for full screen high definition. If the video doesn’t display, watch on Vimeo.

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The Urban State of Mind: Meditations on the City is the first Urbanophile e-book, featuring provocative essays on the key issues facing our cities, including innovation, talent attraction and brain drain, global soft power, sustainability, economic development, and localism. Included are 28 carefully curated essays out of nearly 1,200 posts in the first seven years of the Urbanophile, plus 9 original pieces. It's great for anyone who cares about our cities.

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Aaron M. Renn is an opinion-leading urban analyst, consultant, speaker, and writer on a mission to help America’s cities thrive and find sustainable success in the 21st century.

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