The Gig

Loyola Marymount University, an NCAA D1 school in Westchester, CA hired me to provide time-lapse and live-action footage for a marketing video they’ve put together to share with students, alumni and benefactors about the school’s rebranding mission. It’d been a little over a decade since their gymnasium floor was last tended to. As part of the rebranding campaign LMU had a new logo designed and launched a marketing campaign to get the word out. Capturing the contractor resurfacing 14,000 square feet of gym floor was my part. I competed against 2 other providers but was chosen for my motion-control time-lapse expertise. Thank you LMU!

The Set Up

Industrial work is a messy, noisy process, so we work to minimize these aspects and emphasize the beauty of the unfinished. To that end, my team and I installed two static time-lapse camera systems and made 4 site visits on specific days to capture sanding, stencil application, painting, buffing and clear coat application. Using motion control time-lapse tools, gimbals for floating video footage and strategically mounted GoPros, we produced clean compositions while clearly defining the narrative.

The Sound

Ambient sound is an important part of film work and for my work no less so. My motto: keep ambient work sounds low unless there’s a point to hearing it above the music. This minimizes competing sounds, but you’ll still hear something if the music volume dips to low. I employ this technique to keep the visual and audio connections tight.

Lately I’ve been using jazz music for my work as I’m a big fan of the genre. For time-lapse and video combo films, this can be a huge ask. The usual time-lapse music leaves me wanting, but it takes awhile to get the music right. I sample many, many tracks before landing on the right piece. And after the right music is cut into the timeline, then it’s time to rework many of the edits so they cut to the beat of the music. It’s a wonderfully engaging process and one that I enjoy as a project nears completion!

I strive to get my films under 3 minutes but sometimes as in this case, they clock in longer. But at 4:02, the film flows and before you know it, it’s done. That’s the ultimate goal, to watch a film, enjoy the narrative and not be aware of the time because it just flows.

Thanks for reading.



Michael Stern

My work depicts, appreciates and honors the people who build. Their specialized equipment and stunning challenges are marvels I behold and get paid to interpret. Hope you enjoy this site.
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