A writeup on how I made the short film on light pollution. 

PLANNING

  • First the idea, followed by scouting for places to shoot at every level of light pollution using http://darksitefinder.com/maps/world.html and http://www.cleardarksky.com/csk/faq/2.html

  • I wanted the film to be less than 3 mins.

  • Detailed planning on Google sheets with various possible locations with the video time for each. I, then, calculated how long I'd have to shoot given approximate exposure times. Once I decided on music that resonated with my thoughts, I started adjusting sequence times to fit the tunes in the music. For example - the jump from level 6 to 5(my favorite)

  • For every location, I spent hours planning the shots/frames on Google Maps Street View, Satellite View and anything else I can find about the location taking out any guess work. I, mostly, look for an interesting foreground.

  • Ironically, finding locations to shoot at higher light polluted areas was more difficult(levels 7,6,5). Most places restrict being there after dark. You'd get a ticket or car get towed.

  • Planned trips to the farther locations around New Moon. I shot between May 29th and August 5th.

  • Stellarium to decide the time of shoot and check on Milky Way’s position

  • Weather - Wunderground, Weather.com, Google Weather - check for cloud cover, wind and sunset time

GEAR

  • 2 Canon 6Ds paired with Rokinon 24mm f1.4 and Rokinon 14mm f2.8. One 6D rented from Borrowlenses. Three $45 Dolica tripods with 5lb dumbbells suspended off the center column hook for stability

SHOOT

  • Try to visit the location during the day to plan

  • Start before it's entirely dark. Focus, compose frame, wait for it to get dark. Ensure all settings are manual(White balance, Bulb mode, RAW, full battery, lots of space on memory card, turn off image review - drains battery)

  • Once it's dark, take test shots. Zoom in to check for focus, stars streaking. 

  • Setup intervalometer - interval = exposure + 5 secs. Set N = infinity 

POST PROCESS

  • Lightroom - Adjust tint, reduce noise

  • Photoshop - S curve

  • Adobe premiere pro for putting together the images and creating the video

  • Music licensed through www.musicbed.com

Last but not the least, a lovely wife that accompanied me to the darkest of locations and supported and motivated me throughout this project :)

I'm glad this film has got so much attention. It has got people talking about light pollution all over the world. I hope it makes a difference. May be one day, we'll start seeing more stars :) Thanks for reading.