The beginning of the end of the iconic St. Petersburg Pier was one year ago. Tampa Bay video production company CMR Studios was set to document the demolition with three strategically located time lapse cameras. It began in August of 2015, the waterfront site was supposed to be cleared of the inverted pyramid and approach in about six months. That initial prediction was way off. As a result the three solar powered camera installations have been shooting an image every five minutes for, thus far, a year. That totals some 315,360 images that have now been edited into a dramatic time lapse video that belies the months it has been underway. The result is an edited time lapse video of just a minute and a half.
Adam Weber, the photographer and producer of the project, visited each camera on a weekly basis to perform maintenance and offload the images to create the video. That included climbing onto the roof of the Birchwood Hotel on Beach Drive in downtown St. Petersburg. That camera provided a dramatic elevated clear view of the entire pier. Another camera was placed at the St. Petersburg Marina for a water level view of the south side of The Pier and another at the Vinoy Marina captured the demolition on the north side. The three locations insured that all the action would be captured and shown in the final edited video.
Incrementally throughout the year the images were processed and edited to delete periods of inactivity. And even though the cameras were mounted firmly, camera shake that would not be visible in normal speed video became very apparent. So the thousands of images had to be processed and stabilized.
Taking the process even further, Adam selected images from each camera that matched the lighting conditions and color from frame to frame and represented dramatic changes in the structure to create GIFs from each angle that are just a few seconds long.
The production is not yet complete. Filming continues of the demolition of the approach. Then the cameras, and Adam, will get a rest before capturing the construction of the new pier to bring this multi-year time lapse video full circle. The video will become part of the historical archives at the St. Petersburg History Museum which sits on the approach to The Pier.