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Timelapse tales with the EOS 5DS R

Timelapse tales with the EOS 5DS R

© Matthew Vandeputte

March 2016

Belgian filmmaker Matthew Vandeputte is rapidly emerging as one of the leading exponents of motion timelapse photography. CPN Editor David Corfield caught up with him to find out how technology, social media, and Canon’s high-resolution EOS 5DS R have helped take his work to exciting new heights...

A literal highpoint for Vandeputte happened last year from the observation deck of Dubai’s Burj Khalifa, the record-breaking skyscraper standing as the world’s highest. With the early morning mist rolling in off freshly warmed desert sands, Vandeputte witnessed a spellbinding few moments as the weather played its ace card. “I couldn’t believe what I was seeing,” he remarks. “Mists like that happen very rarely and I just happened to be in the right place at the right time to capture it. I was so overjoyed!”

“It was a once in a lifetime experience,” he continues. “Percentage wise it was ridiculous odds but to have it happen while we were on the observation deck was amazing. I had all my cameras there and I was running around like crazy shooting as much footage as I could – with a massive smile on my face.”

He’s got good reason to smile. Vandeputte is part of new breed of photographers and videographers using innovative creative approaches and embracing new social platforms to get their work out to a global audience. And with a large following, so commercial possibilities increase. Like the recent trip to Dubai.

Dubai – a dream location

“The trip was an Instagram campaign for Tourism Dubai and I was one of the influencers invited to go. Because of my social media reach and with YouTube as my primary outlet I felt I could offer more than just a stills photographer.”

© Matthew Vandeputte

Please click on the image above to watch a stunning timelapse of Dubai, shot on the EOS 5DS R.

“Engagement on Instagram is very low, you see,” he explains. “You tap the picture to like it and then move on. But with video you get a much higher viewing duration, which is obviously great for a tourist authority trying to sell a location. I made 13 videos and total stats were 72,000 minutes watched. The hyperlapse edit has close to 25,000 views. So that was really good compared to a couple of thousand likes. My average viewing duration is four and a half minutes. People get immersed.”

“Tourism Dubai brought nine other people along to shoot for social media. We would visit three or four locations in a day, which put me under a lot of pressure as a timelapse photographer because it was very difficult to set up in the limited time available due to the group itinerary. It was a very challenging shoot but I was pretty excited how the edit turned out.”

Vandeputte shot 28,233 RAW files, the end result consisting of 56 timelapse clips taking up over 1.6 Terabytes of storage. Of course, a lot of that data was due to the camera’s high-resolution sensor and the resulting files the EOS 5DS R creates. But he’s not complaining because the quality puts his work into a different league compared to most.

“The fact that I can shot 50 Megapixel stills means I can create the equivalent of 8K video. It’s a fabulous camera, and it allows me to travel without a long lens because if I need a tighter shot I can just crop in.”

“Of course the consideration you must make when shooting timelapse with the EOS 5DS R is storage,” he advises. “Over the last few months I have invested in two RAIDs along with a bunch of other fast mobile drives for edits on the road.”

© Matthew Vandeputte
© Matthew Vandeputte

Matthew Vandeputte’s latest motion timelapse experiments have seen him embracing the visual possibilities of drone filming.

Where stills photographers would pack up and move on after capturing the shot, Vandeputte’s job is only half done. His workflow is more involved than most, and with a 50.6 Megapixel EOS 5DS R chunking its way through his 64Gb CF cards, that’s an awful lot of data to shift in post-production. But it’s in ‘post’ where the magic really starts to come to life...

“In terms of workflow, I used to go from RAW to JPEG to video files but now I have a faster system,” he explains. “I go straight from RAW file to 10-bit Pro Res video. Most of the colour correction happens on the RAW files in Lightroom, and these get exported in Adobe After Effects to Pro Res video files which might get touched up with some minor colour tweaking in my editing software.”

Time stands still for no man...

Vandeputte is as adept at identifying social media trends as he is behind a camera. And one of the trends he has been quick to embrace is drone photography.

He explains: “It’s like re-learning photography and filmmaking all over again as the perspectives offered from a drone are so unique. It’s an interesting road, looking for those new angles. Learning to fly smoothly first is the obvious fundamental and then learning to choose angles and camera settings is the next most important thing. I feel confident in flying now and I can shoot video pretty much second nature.”

© Matthew Vandeputte
© Matthew Vandeputte

A still from Matthew Vandeputte’s Dubai project. Taken on a Canon EOS 5DS R with an EF11-24mm f/4L USM lens at 11mm; the exposure was 1/250sec at f/11, ISO 100.

“The drone is more of a side gig at the moment, however,” he explains. “I am looking to get my license to fly commercially because in Australia you are not allowed to fly for money. So I bring the drone on my personal projects and all the footage goes on my Instagram site. People just eat it up. They love seeing those new creative angles.”

Vandeputte uses the world of social media to fuel his commercial applications. He’s become so successful at it that he doesn’t even advertise. “A lot of my work comes from word of mouth and from my social media reach. Slowly but surely the social media side has grown. A year ago I had 11,000 followers and now I’m close to 33,000. Across all platforms my reach is about 55,000...”

“I’m in a great position because I know video very well now and I can shoot, edit and produce films even on the day for clients. And the timelapse stuff is still pretty unique in those social media spheres, so having the knowledge and the speed and being able to deliver a unique package of content that no one else can offer is very valuable.”

“I do feel a bit odd that I don't market myself at all,” he laughs. “I mean, I don’t do ads, or have anything running online to sell me as a timelapse shooter. I haven’t pitched a single project; it has all come to me which is incredibly exciting but maybe I am just going through this amazing streak of good luck!”

© Matthew Vandeputte

Please click on the image above to watch a stunning timelapse of Australian skies, shot on the EOS 5D Mark III before he made the move to the EOS 5DS R.

“Moving here to Australia was definitely a good move,” he reasons. “I moved here for love with my girlfriend and arrived at just the right time. If I was in New York or LA I would have to have Google ads everywhere but over here I noticed that there was a huge void that I could fill up. Meeting tourist boards and tourism operators is what it’s all about. People look at my work and want me on a campaign – and because I’m not a native Australian I still look at the country with tourist eyes. That helps me, I think.”

An eye – and an ear – for detail

One of Vandeputte’s passions, along with his films, is the music that goes with them. Sound provides an essential aural backing to the visual. It’s a hugely critical area and he has devoted considerable time to getting it right.

“Sound is so important to me. I spend a lot of time looking for music and I have a sponsorship now with, which gives me access to its tracks. My big challenge is looking for music that has the vibe to what I’m shooting and one of my biggest bugbears is listening for hours for the right piece of music. I hate wasting time. In fact, I went to a music class this week because I’m considering making my own music, which will be great if I can manage it. The vibe and beat that I can cut to is so important.”

As with the soundtracks to his films, Vandeputte has also chosen his publishing route carefully as well. “I know that social platforms change and I don’t work with Facebook so much now as the engagement has dropped. I’m on YouTube these days because it is by far the biggest platform out there for what I do. It will always have millions of users and I made the switch from Vimeo – which arguably has a more relevant audience – as I wanted to put a face on myself as a brand and as a video influencer and now it’s growing. People like seeing a face and a personality. I’ve had 2.2 million views on my channel so far and I’m up to 7,000 subscribers, so I must be doing something right...”

Biografie: Matthew Vandeputte

Matthew Vandeputte

Matthew Vandeputte is a Belgian motion timelapse and hyperlapse photographer living in Sydney, Australia. After discovering the timelapse technique a number of years ago, he went on to specialise in hyperlapse photography and social media content creation. Matthew gets hired by brands and destinations to create unique, highly engaging visual content for their ads or campaigns. Recent projects involved clients such as Microsoft, Canon Australia and Tourism Dubai.


A still from Matthew Vandeputte’s Dubai project. Taken on a Canon EOS 5D Mark III with an EF24mm f/1.4L II USM lens; the exposure was 1/5000sec at f/2.2, ISO 100.