High Roller Las Vegas: A Time Lapse Tour of the World’s Largest Observation Wheel

In the world of video storytelling, less is always more. How do we engaged our viewers and communicate everything we need to in as few seconds as possible? By manipulating time we can create drama by speeding it up or slowing it down. Using time lapse photography we can compress an entire day into 3 minutes or less. Think, “A Day In The Life,” or in this case, a day, a sunset and a night compressed into 2 minutes, 26 seconds.

The High Roller Las Vegas is the world’s tallest observation wheel. Our story is about how the High Roller dominates the Las Vegas skyline and the breathtaking views of that skyline from the High Roller. The High Roller ride takes about 30 minutes. When you are actually riding inside the High Roller the experience is amazing. The challenge was to make a video about that amazing daytime, sunset and nighttime experiences without putting the viewer to sleep. The answer was time lapse photography.

It was the July 4th weekend and Las Vegas was starting to fill up. Caesars Entertainment granted us all access to their properties and a private cabin on the High Roller for as long as needed. During the daytime the air conditioned cabins of the High Roller were a welcome relief to the 112 degree oven known as Las Vegas in July. It was so hot I had to stand over my camera gear to create shade and keep the camera from melting. Even at 10:00 o’clock at night it was still 100 degrees, but there was a nice breeze that cooled things down to a comfortable 99 degrees.

Production stats: 11 rides, 2 days, 1 person crew, 28 time lapse sequences, over 11,000 individual RAW images, 112 degrees during the day, 100 degrees at night. The RAW photo sequences are processed through LRTimelapse, Adobe Lightroom and converted to 4K video in Adobe After Effects. Editing for 1920 x 1080 delivery with 4k content offer additional creative opportunities.

Unique production note: Shooting inside a glass bubble during the day can present some challenges because of reflections. Gear and people need to be strategically placed so as not to end up in the shot. Shooting at night inside a glass bubble is even crazier. The High Roller is lit up at night by about a gazillion LED lights and I think they all reflect inside the bubble. In hindsight and with a larger crew I would have draped the inside of the cabin.

Using time lapse photography for video storytelling offers many creative opportunities. The nature of time lapse photography allows us to compress time and see the world in a fascinating way. The ability to compress time lines (a day in the life) allows us to tell stories in a visually engaging way and editing in 4K RAW offers extensive flexibility.

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