A Time-Lapse Series Imagines American Cities Without People

Ross Ching's 'Empty America' series begins with a tour of San Francisco's most famous landmarks, unobscured by crowds. 

Ross Ching's Empty America series begins with a tour of San Francisco's most famous landmarks, unobscured by crowds or moving cars. There's no traffic on the Golden Gate Bridge and tourist destinations are free of tourists. You might recognize the effect from Running on Empty, in which Ching cleared the busy freeways of Los Angeles to make a point about the "love-hate" relationship between humans and their cars. The project was inspired, he says, by the still photography of Matt Logue (check out the Empty L.A. series on his site). The new video, below, kicks off a series of time-lapses produced for Thrash Lab. Stay tuned to the YouTube channel for future episodes. 

Ching reveals how the effect works in this making-of video. "Believe it or not I didn't close off every street in San Francisco," he explains. Instead, he painstakingly layers still images and erases the cars one by one in Photoshop, and then composites the resulting stills with moving footage in After Effects.

For more work by Ross Ching, visit http://rossching.com/

Via Viral Viral Videos. 

Kasia Cieplak-Mayr von Baldegg is the executive producer for video at The AtlanticMore

Cieplak-Mayr von Baldegg joined The Atlantic in 2011 to launch its video channel and, in 2013, create its in-house video production department. She leads the development and production of original documentaries, interviews, and other video content for The Atlantic. Previously, she worked as a producer at Al Gore’s Current TV and as a content strategist and documentary producer in San Francisco. She studied filmmaking and digital media at Harvard University.

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register with Disqus.

Please note that The Atlantic's account system is separate from our commenting system. To log in or register with The Atlantic, use the Sign In button at the top of every page.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

What Happened to the Milky Way?

Light pollution has taken away our ability to see the stars. Can we still save the night sky?

Video

The Faces of #BlackLivesMatter

Scenes from a recent protest in New York City

Video

Desegregated, Yet Unequal

A short documentary about the legacy of Boston busing

Video

Ruth Bader Ginsburg on Life

The Supreme Court justice talks gender equality and marriage.

Video

Social Media: The Video Game

What if the validation of your peers could "level up" your life?

Video

The Pentagon's $1.5 Trillion Mistake

The F-35 fighter jet was supposed to do everything. Instead, it can barely do anything.

More in Video

Just In