The historically neon-dominated megacity of Hong Kong plays muse to architectural photographers, aerial filmmakers, and as of last night's Planet Earth II season finale, David Attenborough. While Attenborough and the Planet Earth team are masters at filming wildlife, they enlisted hyperlapse artist Rob Whitworth to zoom out on the illuminated metropolis for a segment about the effect of electric light on city-dwelling animals, their first look at a man made environment.
Whitworth's impressionistic journies through Barcelona, Dubai, and Pyongyang have earned him a distinct, instantly-recognizable style, even in the wide world of timelapse filmmakers. "By moving time-lapse cameras through cities we created 'hyperlapses' that condense space and time to give a feeling of just how busy cities can be," the BBC describes his process. "Then by using transitions between shots, rather than the conventional cut in the edit, we were able to go on a continuous, seemingly impossible, journey through the urban environment."
Planet Earth II is the combined effort of 22 cameramen and over 40 production staff, who embarked on 117 expeditions in 40 countries over the course of 2,089 shooting days and capturing more than 50 species. We've watched iguanas race with snakes, sloths search for true love, and baby turtles hatch—apparently with aid from the Planet Earth crew—throughout Attenborough's six-part spotlight on a natural world rich with drama.
Below, watch an extended cut of the Hong Kong hyperlapse without Attenborough's narration.
Planet Earth II Episode 6, Cities was the season finale, but the BBC is airing a compilation episode called "A World of Wonder" on January 30, 2017. Find more of Rob Whitworth's work on his website.