Time Lapse by Robert Lyons

Posted by on Oct 18, 2011 in Viewseum | 6 Comments


This week’s Viewseum exhibit is one of Robert Lyons’s many timelapse films. This particular film explores the difference between a quiet country life and the energy of a fast-paced city. Timelapse is one of the most unique tricks you can pull off with a film camera. You can capture things that a human eye can’t capture, like the cloud transformations shown throughout the film.

Some of the city imagery include scenes of New York’s local art and animation community (keep an eye out for Indie King Bill Plympton hard at work). Some scenes are from Bob’s own career as a cameraman, both in animation and special effects (and yes, that is the USS Enterprise in front of the blue screen, you curious Trekkies).

I admit some sentimentality in posting this film, because of a recent article that details the end of motion picture film cameras. It is sad, but not surprising. Bob’s film experiments remind us that there is a beauty to celluloid that can’t be replicated in the digital age.


  1. Dayna
    October 18, 2011

    What an interesting juxtaposition of images, Bob! I really enjoyed this film. Thanks for posting it Emmett.

  2. Robert Lyons
    October 18, 2011

    Thank you Emmett for sharing this with ASIFA on aNYmator Viewseum and for such a well thought out write up. As with the previous film of mine that was posted here “Rites”, i can offer some little known inside trivia information about the film for those curious enough to want to give it a more thorough scrutiny. In addition to the more well known celebrities that appear briefly in the film mentioned by Emmett in his eloquent description (Bill Plympton and the starship Enterprise) there are a few others of some notoriety. For a moment in the spotlight towards the end of the film in the movie theater shot was the chairman of the media arts dept. of SVA (our hosts for many an ASIFA event), Reeves Lehmann. In the shot of the Klingon bird of prey, spaceship model of Star Trek fame, you can briefly see NY stop motion “Sex Life of Robots” animator, Michael Sullivan in a red shirt, and Academy Award winner for special effects on the film “The Matrix”, a very young John Geata, in a black cowboy hat. There could be others but probably for only a frame or two, that’s the nature of time lapse. Have fun scanning through to find the hidden celebreties. Enjoy. RL

    • Robert Lyons
      October 18, 2011

      Oh one more thing, the small still frame on Viewseum for this film (not the larger one of Grand Central Terminal interior)is a still from the film of NY film maker Rick Rodine, who was working as my Oxberry animation stand assistant at the time, the shot was in the Oxberry room at Liberty Studios that officially closed it’s doors after about four decades as one NYC’s premiere animation effects house this year. Rick is married to Lisa Barnstone, a stop motion animator who worked at MTV in NY on “Celebrity Deathmatch” and other shows.

  3. Emmett Goodman
    October 18, 2011

    Thank you for the trivia, Bob!

  4. Morgan Miller
    October 19, 2011

    I love all of Bob Lyons’ time lapse pieces. This one in particular.

  5. Robert Lyons
    October 20, 2011

    Dayna and Morgan: really appreciate the kind words, thanks.