Mirror City Timelapse Photography

Mirror City Timelapse from Michael Shainblum on Vimeo.

When I first started Mirror City, I wanted to create a video that was completely out of the norm. I wanted to showcase something unique and artistic, which takes Timelapse photography in a more abstract direction. Mirror City is a visual story through some of the great American cities: Chicago, San Francisco, San Diego, Las Vegas, and Los Angeles.

These clips were all processed from their original form, into the kaleidoscopic visuals that you see in this video. Many people visit these large cities every day, and all of these places have been shot and filmed, but I wanted to emulate these urban landscapes in a way that nobody has ever seen before. I wanted to put man-made geometric shapes, mixed with elements of color and movement to create less of a structured video and more of a plethora of visual stimulation. – (Original Video Description)

Thoughts About The Timelapse Film

The inspiration for Mirror City spawned from my interest in mirroring images and symmetry. Before I ever became a photographer or filmmaker, I would mirror digital paintings and create strange abstract pieces. I was actually going to keep Mirror City a private video and not release it to the public. I was not sure if people would appreciate the concept and understand what I was trying to do.

I guess I was scared of the reception that the timelapse film would have. In my head I imagined people saying “Wait? What is this? This isn’t a nature or city timelapse!”. But when I showed the video to a few close friends, they said I absolutely needed to share it. So I set out to license the song and finish up the final touches on the film. I had no idea it would be one of my most popular creations and influence so many others to create similar content.

Sometimes the content we least expect is the content that will resonate with people the most. If you feel good about a piece you are working on, even if it doesn’t quite fit in. Chances are people may really like it. It’s important to branch out as an artist and try not to stay in a “Safe Zone”. Challenging yourself as an artist and getting creative is an important element of growing as an artist. Share your unique vision with the world and do not be afraid to take risks. I am so glad I was able to share this video with the world and not hide it in uncertainty.

Chicago Mirror City Timelapse Film

The video starts off with simple mirrors and recognizable architecture, as the video progresses, so does the visual stimulation, showing the real abstraction of the piece.
I have worked on this piece for an extremely long amount of time. I have spent time mirroring images and videos for the past five years, and I have been working on this specific piece for about four months. I felt it was time to combine city timelapse photography and the simplicity of a kaleidoscope and create Mirror City.


Music: Bassnectar
Track: Bassnectar – Butterfly (ft. Mimi Page)

Motion Control Gear Sponsors:
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(All clips and photos are available in the original and mirrored format)

Shanghai China Mirror City Timelapse Film


  1. Rebecca Muir

    I will be showing this to my high school darkroom photography class as an inspiration for a Kaleidoscope project they are doing. I love it, great work 🙂

  2. really nice work, kind of psychedelic!

  3. William Hentosh

    This is an amazing piece of video artistry. It could very well be another awarding winning entry for the Sundance Film Festival. Hope you consider pursuing such an effort.

  4. William Hentosh

    This is an amazing piece of video artistry. It could very well be another award winning entry for the Sundance Film Festival. Hope you consider pursuing such an effort.

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