Welcome To Taj – Timelapse

 Welcome To Taj – Timelapse

Different people have different views of the Taj but it would be enough to say that the Taj has a life of its own that leaps out of marble, and also referred as a monument of love. Taj Mahal is pinkish in the morning, golden in the evening, milky white when the moon shines and the intermediary variants during different hours of the day and during different seasons in a year.

Taj Mahal being a world heritage site and a monument of national importance, which has been the attraction for tourists from across the globe. As said “Light not a candle to the sun” will perfectly fit if we intend to describe its grandeur with words.

2 People | A World Heritage Site

200 Days  | 35k Photographs


A Dream to Fulfil…

Inception of Welcome To Taj – Timelapse

Ours is the first attempt to showcase Taj with Timelapses. Our effort to show Taj Mahal via timelapse was an exciting challenge for us. Earlier we have shot timelapses in cities and in wilderness. But our timelapse knowledge and experience was put to test while planning for the shoot.

The idea to make Welcome to Taj: First Timelapse film on Taj, conceived in one of visits to UP Tourism department while discussing our previous timelapse film Welcome to Lucknow

It looked a far-fetched dream to even get an opportunity to take on this challenge. Just the thought of being able to take this on increased our adrenaline levels. But before we could even think of a single frame to shoot we had to get all the required permissions.

Behind the Scene | Welcome to Taj Timelapse

Behind the scenes – Welcome to Taj Timelapse from Timestance on Vimeo.

Getting permissions for Taj Timelaspe

We decided to go on alone with taking permissions from individual concerned departments. One of us camped in agra for 2 weeks, going alone was an uphill task as without any reference we struggled explaining our idea to the authorities and security personnel. 

We used our existing timelapse works to present our idea. We spoke less and asked for their 5 minute time to show our timelapse works and it worked beautifully. It reduced the number of questions and enquirers we had to go through. 

Guided by ADM Agra office, after two weeks we got permissions for shooting in two phases. we still needed to be verified at various security posts/offices which eventually wasted our 1st day. 

We did shooting for the next 3 days in awe and amazement of Taj from Yamuna bank. Our day started at 4:30 in the morning to shoot sunrise from Shivaji Park and ends in Yamuna bank behind Taj Mahal after sunset.

Welcome to Taj - Timelapse : Permissions for shoot. (Video url:http://timestance.com/welcome-to-taj-timelapse). ©Timestance 2016

Permissions for shoot. (Welcome to Taj – Timelapse). ©Timestance 2016

Shooting Full Moon

Permissions were taken coinciding with full moon dates. It was a major task for us to track exact angle of full moon rise from the Yamuna bank. We used various applications, studied blogs, browsed websites to ascertain it. Even though we wasted our first full moon shoot, as we were at the wrong place but it did give us an idea to timelapse it for the next time. Keeping that view in mind we scouted various places in advance to film moon from a better angle with the help of Starwalk iOS application. 

Welcome to Taj - Timelapse : Lunar Eclipse Behind Taj Mahal. (Video url:http://timestance.com/welcome-to-taj-timelapse). ©Timestance 2016

Taj Lunar Eclipse (Welcome to Taj – Timelapse) ©Timestance 2016

The timings of moon rise was calculated carefully to shoot during the blue hour after sunset and before it’s pitch dark. Some of the times moon came up over horizon after it was dark and made us increase exposure upto 3 sec (not good for a crisp timelapse). 

On April 6th 2015, we arrived an hour in advance with our complete arsenal positioned at two different places so as to not miss the blue hour moon rise. 

We could capture perfect red quarter moon behind Taj. As the moon rose above the horizon we realised it is a Lunar Eclipse (what the ****, sh**, damn).  We got lunar eclipse, but our thirst to capture full moon from a better angle didn’t fulfil, so we decided to timelapse some more moon rises in upcoming months from a better angle/perspective.

Welcome to Taj - Timelapse : Lunar Eclipse Behind Taj Mahal. (Video url:http://timestance.com/welcome-to-taj-timelapse). ©Timestance 2016

Lunar Eclipse Behind Taj Mahal. (Welcome to Taj – Timelapse) ©Timestance 2016

We must shoot little more

From what we shot in the first two phase we rendered a small trailer of the film and realised that we are short of Hyperlapse, good clouds movements and evening shots. After every phase we came back with new learning’s and we had to plan for another shooting phase. We faced enormous challenges, finances, weather conditions, getting security clearance for the shoot (even with all the necessary permissions).

By then permissions were over and going again after it would take same time which eventually held us back for a month. During the course of time we realised that we are not the only one admiring Taj and its beauty but others too and thankfully a senior and humble govt official. We requested for help with references of our work and after some days a landline number flashes on our phone.

After this, we were not given a free access pass to Taj like anyone would assume, but it cut short our struggle for getting permission for next phase. Apart from help, it made us realise the quality and importance of work what we were doing and left us more confident than earlier.

Welcome to Taj - Timelapse : No Tripods allowed inside Taj Premises . (Video url:http://timestance.com/welcome-to-taj-timelapse). ©Timestance 2016

No Tripods allowed inside Taj Mahal Premises . (Welcome to Taj – Timelapse ). ©Timestance 2016

Capturing EID celebrations inTaj was another opportunity we didn’t wanted to miss, for which we put a request in advance with the authorities. But arriving a day before in Agra made things complicated and we can only get permissions at 7PM after a debate.  Quick and coordinated efforts of Agra Administration made it happen who understood the importance of the event for this timelpase video.

We thank District Magistrate Agra for enormous support to our vision. Some of the cool shots wouldn’t have been possible without his permissions.

The final shoot completed in 5 phases, which was initially planned in 2 phases only.

Welcome to Taj - Timelapse : Evening Blue Hour from Mehtab Bagh Yamuna Bank . (Video url:http://timestance.com/welcome-to-taj-timelapse). ©Timestance 2016

Evening Blue Hour from Mehtab Bagh Yamuna Bank (Welcome to Taj – Timelapse ). ©Timestance 2016

Capturing every expression of Taj 

A person who visits Taj Mahal can only witness few of the colors of Taj. We wanted to cover Taj in every lighting condition and from all possible angles in our 4 minutes clip.

We also realised the Taj mahal is more than an architecture marvel, it captures peoples emotions, of awe, wonder, surprise and most importantly Love. And there are all walks of people who come to witness this Wonder of world. Our film would not be complete without including emotions and feelings of all those people.

The main focus of Welcome to Taj – Timelaspe is not only on the monument itself but it show the entire Taj Complex  as majestically dazzling as it looks from the main gateway along with the glorious views of the mosque on the sides, the four minarets, tourist movement, their expressions, the richly carved designs, fountains, birds and its beautiful gardens which complement the grandeur of the entire structure with subtleness.

Welcome to Taj – Timelaspe will leave you with memories of Taj if you have visited, and if you haven’t, it will leave you craving to visit Taj.

For us making this film gave fresh perspective to follow our passion. And such close interaction with Taj Mahal marked the marvel of human spirit deep in our hearts. 

We got enormous support from our Family and Friends for this project, we deeply thank each and everyone for their constant support and encouragement.

Welcome to Taj – Timelapse film was screened during Taj Mahotsav 2016, this year marked 25th anniversary of Taj Mahotsav Festival.

Welcome to Taj - Timelapse : Screening during Taj Mahotsav 2016 . (Video url:http://timestance.com/welcome-to-taj-timelapse). ©Timestance 2016

Welcome to Taj – Timelapse screening during Taj Mahotsav 2016 . ©Timestance.com 2016

Note: All the Hyperlapses shot in the film were totally hand held & needed precise and coordinated movements. 

Camera and Equipment Used for Welcome to Taj – Timelaspe

Welcome to Taj - Timelapse :  Equipment used (Video url:http://timestance.com/welcome-to-taj-timelapse) ©Timestance 2016

Equipment used. (Welcome to Taj – Timelapse). ©Timestance 2016

  • Slider : 6 feet Dynamic Perception Stage Zero
  • Motion Controller : eMotimo TB3 Black Pan-Tilt
  • Cameras : Canon 5D Mark II & III, Sony A7s, GoPro Hero 4
  • Lenses Used : Canon 16-35mm f/2.8, 50mm f/1.4, 24-70mm f/4, 70-200mm f/2.8, 100-400mm and Tamron 150-600mm
  • Softwares used for editing : LRTimelapse, Adobe Lightroom, Premiere CC, AfterEffects CC, Photoshop CC, Mocha Pro
  • Apps used: Starwalk iOS App, PhotoPills iOS App
Directors: Anuj Nigam | Nilesh Ukey




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