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Pinoy designer captures UAE’s wonders in time-lapse video

When he challenged himself to try a new art form, Filipino designer Lewis de Mesa said he also discovered the beauty and wonders of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), in a year-long project that required him to travel over 4,000 kilometers.   De Mesa is the creator of a time-lapse video that features the natural wonders of five emirates in UAE. The video, entitled “Emirates Winter,” has been viewed over 33,000 on Vimeo and 4,000 times on YouTube since it was posted on November 13.  De Mesa is a motion designer who has been living in Dubai for over a decade. He first worked as a graphic designer for an advertising firm after leaving Manila in 2001, but is now a freelancer who specializes in motion design and interactive videos and clips. De Mesa told GMA News Online that he wanted to highlight the natural beauty of the country because “Dubai is mostly known for its high-rise buildings.” A feature story about De Mesa on Gulf News said he didn’t expect his video to receive the amount of attention that it did.   The video was released weeks before the country celebrated the “40th UAE National Day” last December 2.
Discovering the UAE   “It was more of self-fulfillment to achieve this result. It was fascinated that such beautiful natural places exist in the UAE,” De Mesa told Gulf News.   De Mesa traveled to five out of seven emirates— Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Sharjah, Ras Al Khaimah and Fujairah. He was unable to visit Ajman and Umm Al Quwain because of “permission issues.”   Time-lapse videos are relatively new territory for de Mesa. “I wanted to challenge myself to do something different and big. I was doing it purely for myself and not for commercial purposes at all,” he told Gulf News, adding that it took some time before he had enough resources to buy the equipment for the time-lapse video.   One of the project’s goals was also to make time-lapse doable for other people, which is why De Mesa took time to list down the equipment he used and the exact coordinates of the locations that he went to.   A year in the making   From January to May 2011, de Mesa went around UAE to take photos of the different sites—up to 300 photos for every location for 12 seconds of footage. All in all, the 4:20 minute-long video includes 300,000 photos.   Editing took another six months, after which De Mesa sought the talents of Ryan Scully, a New-York based composer who joined the project after seeing the video.   De Mesa admitted that the project was tiring and time consuming, but said that it was still worth it. “I've seen so many beautiful places here in the UAE, plus I enjoyed all the long drives as well as being close to nature and far away from city for a while,” he wrote on the video description.   Does he have any plans to make more time-lapse videos, perhaps, of the Philippines this time?   “I’m hoping to find more time and discover new places and capture if again on video,” he wrote on the video web page. - VVP, GMA News