‘Sea to Sky’ time-lapse film debuts

BAR HARBOR — When Will Greene finished “Acadia,” a five-minute film of time-lapse images of Acadia National Park for a senior project at Mount Desert Island High School two years ago, he didn’t know what to do with himself.

“Whenever I see a good night or nice clouds, I go out,” he said last week. “So when I finished the film and didn’t have anything specific to do that for, I was kind of lost.”

So he decided to get to work on a sequel.

“I wanted to spend more time in the park with my camera because that’s what I love to do.”

Greene is now a student at Middlebury College in Vermont. For the summers of 2016 and 2017, he worked for Friends of Acadia with fellow MDI alumni Matt Lambert and Emma Forthofer as the Acadia Youth Technology Team.

“It’s been a total blast,” he said. “And it allowed me to do time-lapse as sort of part of my job. So I’d go to work and take pictures in the park. And then I’d go home, or maybe not even go home, and go back out and take more pictures in the park. It’s pretty cool to be able to have a job doing what I love to do.”

He finished and released “Acadia II: Sea to Sky” last week, just before heading off for a semester abroad program in Patagonia.

“The theme came to me over the course of the summer: start with the ocean, explore the mountain streams and ponds of the island and end on the mountaintops.”

The new film includes footage from many more locations in the park than the 2015 project, including the western side of MDI, the Schoodic Peninsula and Isle au Haut.

“I know the park a lot better now,” Greene said.

The time-lapse sequences took between 20 minutes and 8 hours to make, he said. A special track allowed the camera to pan and move while synchronizing with the shutter so as not to blur any images. An interval timer took the individual frames anywhere from two minutes to 30 seconds apart. During daylight, the camera’s automatic exposure was adequate. At night, each frame required an exposure of 30 seconds to capture details of the stars and planets.

Special computer software “stitched” the images together like frames of a movie. Anywhere from 12 to 30 frames were needed for each second of video footage. Greene then experimented with the playback rate and other metrics to create each clip.

“For the first project, I think I took about 60 time-lapses and used 50 of them,” he said. “Over the past two summers, I’ve shot about 160 time-lapses, so I only used a fraction of them in the movie.”

Some of the time-lapse shots were taken by Lambert, who also accompanied Greene on many off-the-clock photo outings both summers. The two lugged heavy equipment and also talked and watched the stars together.

Jack Sasner, also a member of the MDI High School class of 2015, composed the music for both the original project and the sequel. “The music is tailor-made,” Greene said. “We’d go back and forth with it; it was an amazing experience, I think, for the both of us.”


Liz Graves

Liz Graves

Reporter at Mount Desert Islander
Former Islander reporter and editor Liz Graves grew up in California and came to Maine as a schooner sailor.

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