LAS VEGAS SPRING PRESERVE
The Las Vegas Springs Preserve has been our largest time-lapse project to date, and the most complicated. Instead of a hotel that would rise 27 stories in the sky, the Springs project is spread out over 180+ acres. Much of it is trails and gardens and live exhibits, all set on the site where the "original" Puebloans, an ancient people, lived. The site is the the center of Las Vegas, and the home of the Las Vegas Valley Water District, which is where all of the water for Las Vegas was found before the springs were sucked dry. The springs were the reason that human beings in the early 20th century thought they could live in the middle of the desert valley that was hospitable to none. The railroad came, then gambling, then the dam....and the rest is history. You can check out the Springs Preserve site and see some history and a lot of other cool things.
The buildings at the Springs Preserve, and indeed the whole project was very un-Vegas like. In other words, there were no implosions to destroy the old, but a preservation of the very oldest in the valley on the original site of the water that allowed Las Vegas to be built here.
The buildings to be built at the site were to be "built green" and designed to "achieve certification from the U.S. Green Building Council's Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) program, a rating system that assesses a building's ability to meet sustainability goals", basically to save money and natural resources. The project included buildings made of rammed earth, concrete, hay bale and using recycled materials, passive cooling, reclaimed water, and electrical energy created by solar panels. They even covered the parking lot with solar panels to make electricity and shade from our 115 degree summer sun.
The project was going to be so spread out, there was no way to cover it with just one camera and because it was flat desert there were no high structures that are usually available to put a camera rig. After surveying the site we also found that one of the most important needs for us, uninterrupted power, was not going to be available. The answer was to build our own steel tower that would hold two camera housings pointing in two different directions and power them with solar panels. The tower had to be at least 18 ft in the air and sturdy enough to not move in the wind. We had to pour a 10 by 10 slab of concrete that was 10 inches deep that became the base of the tower. The solar panels were placed on top of the housings where they could collect sun and protect the housings from the worst of the desert sun.
The Springs Preserve also required much more "ground footage" because the things of interest, like the making of the haybale and rammed earth walls couldn't be seen in an overall of the site. What we call "ground footage" is actually a cameraman on the ground with a tripod doing short bits of time-lapse of a particular action, like a close-up of a plasterer or welder. This way we were able to show some real interesting parts of the construction in close-up to cut away to when the final film was edited.
The Springs Preserve construction film spanned 20 months with our cameras still shooting during the opening concert.in June of 2007. The Nevada Museum began construction at the Springs shortly after opening and we were asked to move one of our cameras to that part of site and photograph its construction for a year and one half. The Museum will be finished in 2009.