Twelve years ago, filmmaker Frans Hofmeester embarked on the greatest work of his life: becoming a father. Every week, the Dutch video artist would hover over his newborn daughter Lotte's crib and capture stills. Those weekly photo shoots continued, even as Lotte began sitting upright, her features growing more defined by the day.
Over a decade later, Hofmeester had taken 600-plus photos of Lotte, tracking the minutiae of her development in ways that albums and scrapbooks simply can't capture. Stringing each photo together with the editing tool Final Cut Pro, Hofmeester created a remarkable time-lapse video of Lotte's evolution from newborn to tween in under 3 minutes. In the video her emotions run the gamut, from curiosity to bleary-eyed frustration to wide-eyed enthusiasm. The only thing that remains unchanged is a baby blanket. The keepsake that Lotte lay on as a newborn remains in the background of every photo throughout her 12-year journey.
Since Hofmeester posted the video to Vimeo last week, it's been viewed over 1 million times and become this week's mandatory viral distraction.
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Now a father of two, Frans has also released a time-lapse video of his 9-year-old son Vince. As with Lotte's short film, it's a work in progress. Frans said he wants to continue documenting his children's development, in a comment he posted to his Vimeo account. (Getting a teenager to pose regularly with her baby blanket may pose a new challenge.)
Video: time-lapse tracks pregnancy in a minute
Since the dark ages of viral videos, time-lapse has held a special place in viewer's hearts. One of the earliest examples was in 2006, when photographer Noah Kalina condensed photos of himself taken everyday over a period of six years and set it in motion on YouTube. It's since been viewed by more than 22 million people and rocketed the photographer into full-fledged, commercial-grade fame.
More recently, a 10-year-old girl named Natalie became the subject of a similar photo project, when her parents tracked her development in photos from her first days to her 3,650th. Unlike Kalina's video which journeys mainly through an adult's various stages of facial hair and sad eyes, young Natalie's evolution is more profound. As with Lotte, she radically reincarnates from year to year, personality stretching through her skin, until the only thing left from her earliest days is her smile. All that, in a matter of minutes. Even in real time, it feels the same.
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