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Abu Dhabi in all its splendour and glory

Deepa Narwani / 24 May 2011

ABU DHABI — Moving lights, rushing cars and people, glittering airplanes in the sky, reflections on the windows of skyscrapers – Abu Dhabi at night appears as a living organism. Traffic streams through it like blood rushing through the veins.

And to showcase the city in its full splendour, Beno Saradzic, Filmmaker, Art Director and Photographer, Timesand Studios has created Abu Dhabi 2011, a four minute time-lapse film that has captured the city’s spectacular vibe on screen.

Time-lapse filming is a technique where multiple photographs of a scene are taken at regular intervals. Once captured, the images are edited together to give an animated feel to an everyday scene, unlike a conventional movie.

Describing it as a ‘labour of love’, Saradzic explains why he chose Abu Dhabi as his muse. “Abu Dhabi has been my home for the past 20 years. Having worked as an architectural illustrator and 3D computer animator mostly with real estate developers, I have witnessed the tremendous and inspirational development of the city over the past two decades. Abu Dhabi was therefore an obvious choice for my first attempt at producing a time-lapse film, a film which is essentially a portrayal of the city the way I view it, as a dynamic, lively and captivating place.”

He added that although it is a short film, a huge amount of preparation went into planning the shoot. “I knew how I wanted to tell the story, how it would be paced, but getting the camera in the right place and at the right time proved to be quite challenging. As an architectural pre-visualising artist however, I quickly discovered which vantage points were flattering and showed Abu Dhabi in all of its glory.”

There were numerous filming locations all over the city but the most impressive shots were taken from carefully selected super-towers which are currently under construction along the Corniche road. It features alternative views of the luxurious Emirates Palace Hotel, the vast grand mosque, construction sites and even simple street scenes which are transformed into staggering light shows.

The film begins with glimpses of the old city and praises the efforts of the late Shaikh Zayed who built its foundations. “To talk about Abu Dhabi is to talk about Shaikh Zayed’s dream — they are one and the same. None of this would have been possible without his vision, his kind heart and determination to invest the wealth generated by the country’s natural resources into its people. Abu Dhabi was the city where he ruled this country from. This city is his shiniest diamond,” said Saradzic.

He added: “This film was a zero-budget production. I invested my own time and resources into this project. “Abu Dhabi 2011” is dedicated to the craft of filmmaking, the art of photography and the city that had treated me so well for 20 years.”

Night life is an integral theme of the film. Saradzic said: “Standing on the ground, it is nearly impossible to see yourself as a tiny part of this mechanism — instead we are preoccupied with our daily qualms, the traffic congestions and the madness of living in a modern city.

But looking onto the entire scenery at night from the 75th floor for several hours, far above all this chaos, you begin to see a bigger picture and with it, a higher purpose.”

The film took a total of eight full weeks to complete. Saradzic had no assistance during the shoots. He said: “The most challenging point was reaching the top of towers currently under construction. This required that I secure permissions and approvals as well as respect and follow strict safety instructions. This was in addition to the physical effort of standing behind several cameras for approximately six hours at a time and spending countless hours post-processing and editing thousands of captured images.”

The background score further elevates the film on an emotional level and communicates certain ideas such as ‘majestic’, ‘pride’, ‘urban madness’ and ‘promise of a future’. It has been composed by Vladimir Persan, who took a week to compose the music for a saga of a miracle in the desert and its glorious tale. The future looks bright for the creative genius. He said: “I aim to shoot a short film about Dubai and show it in from a very different and engaging perspective. I’d like to challenge common views and offer visuals that leave the spectators mesmerised and enchanted.”

To watch the film, visithttp://vimeo.com/23522211.


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