Sunday 16 December 2018

This time lapse video shows the astonishing change in the Seattle skyline

Footage recorded from the city’s Space Needle documents how fast buildings have appeared in the surrounding area thanks to the tech boom.

The video shows new builds popping up all over the city (Space Needle/Ricardo Martin Brualla)
The video shows new builds popping up all over the city (Space Needle/Ricardo Martin Brualla)

By Grace Rahman and Edd Dracott, Press Association

A wobbly 360 degree camera that sits atop Seattle’s most famous landmark has provided a stunning insight into how quickly the city has changed.

Footage recorded from the top of Seattle’s iconic Space Needle shows buildings being knocked down and rebuilt, and storeys climbing higher and higher into the sky over just a few years.

Viewers likened the video to watching a real life version of civilisation building games like SimCity or Cities: Skylines.

The time lapse was created from the Space Needle’s panocam footage by Ricardo Martin Brualla, who used two panoramic photos per day for the last two years to create the video.

As explained in a blog post, he stabilised the footage to hide any knocks to the camera by the wind, and then smoothed it to avoid variation caused by changes in weather and brightness.

The finished video shows just how quickly buildings spring up in the west coast city. But Seattle has a record for this kind of thing – the 605ft tall Space Needle itself was finished in just 400 days in 1961.

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Brualla began the project two and a half years ago, when the camera had only been mounted for a few months and little change was visible.

“I picked up the project a few months back, and realised how fast Seattle was changing,” he told the Press Association. “It’s fascinating.”

Despite the dramatic change of the city’s skyline, some of his favourite moments are much smaller details.

“I get excited by observing a really simple change, like the cruise ships appearing like ghosts in the Seattle waterfront, as they only stay for a day in the city a week.”

The ‘ghost’ of a cruise ship can be seen docking in the Summer months (Space Needle/Ricardo Martin Brualla)

Brualla said he hadn’t noticed the video’s likeness to SimCity until viewers mentioned it.

“I also like the connection to HBO’s Silicon Valley intro,” he said.

As well as the Space Needle, Seattle is known as a hub for technology giants, and many of the buildings “growing” in the video are leased by Amazon. Brualla himself works for Google.

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And for his next project, he wants to do something of Google-level proportions – a generation-long time lapse of the world.

“Not sure how, yet,” he says – but we’re sure he’ll find a way.

Press Association

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