The Colombo skies are known for a lot of things: dramatic sunsets, double rainbows, doomsday clouds and, of course, the ever expanding Colombo skyline. What better way to capture their beautiful intensity than a timelapse video? Last week, the folks at Mathawaada, one of Sri Lanka’s pioneering blogs turned digital media collective, set out to do exactly that.

This is just one of a series of eye-popping timelapse videos produced by Mathawaada, as a stepping stone to something bigger: a Baraka-style non-narrative documentary film featuring the numerous exotic locales scattered around the island.

According to Mathawaada cofounder Naveen Marasinghe, making timelapse videos is an art and a discipline that requires a fair bit of patience, but when done right, it can be a very rewarding experience.

“For a 10-20 second video, you need to set it up for about 15 to 20 minutes. It’s longer for night shots, as the shutter speed needs to be higher. Basically, for one second of footage, you need around 24 shots,” explains Naveen.

For example, if you need to shoot moving clouds, it is advised to keep a 2-4 second interval between frames and take about 400 shots.

Post processing, he adds, also takes a lot of time.

While the perfect shot is never easy to get, says Naveen, you can’t afford to make mistakes while shooting.

“Once you set it up and the camera starts taking pictures, there is no turning back. So it takes a bit of practice to get it right,” he says.

Mathawaada has been making timelapse videos (among other things) for about a year now. What started as a popular and somewhat controversial blog on Kottu.org in the blog’s collective heyday (circa 2009/2010), has now diversified into video production and digital marketing with the aim of promoting art and creativity freely to the public.

“We consider this a collaborative project where anyone can become a part of our work and work under Mathawaada,” says Naveen.

Citing the Qatsi trilogy and Timescapes as major influences, Naveen speaks about his own foray into timelapse video production.
“Personally, I’m fascinated by time-lapses and would like others to share the same experience in a Sri Lankan context. Plus, if done right, it can be visually stunning. For us, it’s also a continuous learning experience, so this whole exercise is to become part of something bigger,” he says.

Click here to get in touch with Mathawaada.