Rebirth: Time-Lapse + Archive
The Most Extensive Use of Time-Lapse Photography in History
Since March 11, 2002, Project Rebirth's time-lapse cameras have been chronicling the developments at Ground Zero from six to fourteen locations. Most notably to date, our cameras have captured the entire rebuilding of World Trade Center 7, the first building at the site to rise to completion.
Project Rebirth is one of the largest time-lapse projects ever undertaken in 35 mm film, which remains the most durable and powerful media available for dramatic and archival purposes. The roster of cameras utilized at the site includes several Mitchell GC Rack-overs, as well as three Mitchell Vista Vision Cameras, which capture a larger frame of film with increased image capacity for greater zoom and detail. These durable cameras were designed for military use and taking one picture every five minutes, the cameras process 400 feet of film for Mitchell GC's and 1,000 feet of film for Vista Vision cameras over the period of about 20 days. Due to age, history of use and other considerations, each camera is unique and requires consistent attention to ensure functionality, which is carried out during film reload and maintenance over 3-4 days per month. Additionally, cameras must occasionally be moved at the site to accommodate new construction or to capture a better angle on new stages of rebuilding. This work is overseen by our Cinematographer Tom Lappin and executed by our Technical Director, Andy Nelson, who has more than 20 years experience in the field, as well as a camera technologist.
Once the film is collected from the site, it is processed onto tape, and must be reviewed frame by frame to remove night shots and other conditions, such as sudden or inclement weather, that lessen visibility. The process of editing the film into time-lapse is akin to creating animation from still images, as these clips are seamed together to create footage showing the rise of the towers around the site.