30 second time lapse of airplanes landing at san diego airport
30 second time lapse of airplanes landing at san diego airport 30 second time lapse of airplanes landing at san diego airport
dec 03, 2012

30 second time lapse of airplanes landing at san diego airport

an image by ho-yeol ryu which prompted cy kuckenbaker to create a video timelapse of plane landings



american film professor and photographer cy kuckenbaker has captured every airplane that landed at san diego international airport between the hours of 10:30am and 3pm in a time-lapse video. the concept was born from an image by ho-yeol ryu at hannover airport – showing a herd of the massive machines in one visualization and kuckenbaker wanted to capture the unusual flight path that brings planes very low right over the center of the city of san diego, causing them to drop behind a hill the make the runway. to create the video he would shoot the planes on a cloudless day individually then isolate the image of the plane and composite each one together in a timeline with adobe premier.

a video of the planes in timelapse



kuckenbaker describes his method in more detail: ‘I locked the camera (canon 7D with a EF-S 17-55 f/2.8) on a tripod and shot the planes with 1080p video at 24fps with an exposure I’d tested the day before (50/s, f/13, ISO 100) that would keep the sky deep blue with no blowout for a good chroma key. to give the video a sense of temporal change as the planes fly by I did an 8 hour time-lapse under a bridge nearby shot at the same angle and composited it over the planes. without it there’s no sense of time passing. I used an intervalometer to shoot about 800 images with the same exposure as the video. once I had it posted as a regular video clip, I keyed the sky out of it as well. I put everything together in adobe premiere, which challenged my system since I needed 40 video tracks to stack all the airplane clips together.  the last piece was to put a new sky back in — a still image with depth and clouds that’s panned using key frames in premiere.’

kuckenbaker wanted to capture the unusual flight path that brings planes very low right over the center of the city of san diego


  • Awesome images, it’s really hard to believe that are that many planes leaving San Diego.

    corkway.com says:
  • awesome!! Brilliant work!! Thanks for sharing

    antonita says:
  • Why not!

    Really fun, and looks cool!
    Love that kuckenbaker has indepthly described the whole process.

    jameshaybrown.com says:
  • landing? looks like they’re taking off…

    Bruno de Paris says:
  • Very cool. Fortunate that clouds cooperated completely.

    Mike Wilkinson says:
  • Are you went mad there?..on the first foto a Hannover Airport is shown..with numerous european airline companies..and planes taking off as Bruno said.

    Alex the Greek says:
  • It is Hannover airport in the first picture. It even says so in the pictures. 🙂

    Kristofer says:
  • No big deal. It’s photo shopped. Anybody can do photo shop. But good idea and fascinating airplane images no matter in San Diego or Hanover.

    nelsondreyes architect says:
  • Very, very good. A lot of work went in to this.
    And yes, thank you for the in depth description of your method.

    I have to laugh when someone kisses off the photo process with, PHOTO SHOPPED.
    Do my years in the darkroom mean nothing? Oh! you did that in the darkroom.
    Darkroom or photoshop – they are both excellent tools.
    Seldom is the finished photograph untouched by human creativity.

    Dan says:
  • I’ve had this image on my computer for a couple months! How was it taken last week?

    Jon says:
  • Hanover Airport has not the capacity of the airport in San Diego … not so Europeanists
    Hanover Airport can not handle such amount
    This is the San Diego airport…

    Mike says:
  • san diego airport The airport served 17,250,265 passengers

    Mike says:
  • when planes are landing the back goes down 1st then the front. so it might appear as if they are taking off, but that may not be the case.

    sheema says:
  • San Diego, no doubt. The only airport with the “Hangover” department. Notice the “g” behind the blue Tui airplane.

    Issue resolved. you’re welcome.

    Vaykart says:

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