Although hockey is the University of Denver’s biggest sport, I don’t follow it very closely, being pretty monomaniacal in my attention to Pioneer men’s basketball. But on Thursday afternoon, as I visited the LetsGoDU blog to promote my exclusive interview with Denver’s AD about conference realignment, I noticed that Denver had a big, multi-sport home weekend coming up: the rivalry hockey game against Colorado College was sandwiched in Friday between the basketball games against Seattle on Thursday and Idaho on Saturday. I knew this meant Magness Arena would be going through multiple conversions: from basketball to hockey Thursday night, back to basketball Friday night, and then back to hockey (which is sort of the arena’s “default setting”) Saturday night.
Having witnessed the beginning of the arena’s basketball-to-hockey transition many times, it has occurred to me before that it would be fun to make a time-lapse video of the conversion sometime, but I had always conceived of it as a single-night thing — and I had never gotten around to actually doing it. Now the thought crossed my mind: why not a multi-day time lapse of this remarkable back-and-forth weekend? I reached out to Mike Kennedy at the SID’s office, and after I promised to give the university a license to use the raw footage for promotional purposes, he agreed to let me leave my equipment up in the press area all weekend. Like Thorin Oakenshield, he could not guarantee its safety, nor would he be responsible for its fate. :) But he said I could take the time lapse, and DU staff wouldn’t disturb the setup during the big hockey game Friday night.
So, after interviewing Bradley-Doppes during the end of the Seattle game, I went upstairs to press row and set up the camera. More specifically, I used my old iPhone 4 — now a glorified iPod touch, as it’s been replaced by my new iPhone 5 and doesn’t have cellular service anymore — with the Timelapse Camera HD app. To make the iPhone camera’s view wider, I took a wide-angle lens that’s designed to attach to my old Canon PowerShot camera and literally taped it to the phone using black electric tape. I then balanced the lens on a large wad of duct tape so it wouldn’t fall over. The result was rather kludgy, but totally workable:
I pointed the camera toward the north end of the arena…
…and left a note explaining what the heck was going on (phone numbers redacted):
And then I went home — after the Seattle game was over, but before the dismantling of the basketball court had begun in earnest — and hoped for the best.
As it turns out, in addition to the repeated transitions from basketball to hockey and back, the time lapse captured parts of four athletic events: the big DU-CC hockey game on Friday, which ended in a 1-1 tie that clinched the Gold Pan for Denver; the Denver-Idaho basketball game on Saturday, which DU won 74-58; a high-school basketball game immediately afterwards between Denver East and Highlands Ranch, which East won 73-54; and, at the very tail end of the video, a practice (possibly a scrimmage?) of the Peewee AA Jr. Pioneers youth hockey team.
That youth hockey event was happening when I arrived Sunday morning — with my three daughters, ages 1, 3 and 5, in tow — to pick up the phone and assorted equipment. After overcoming some difficulty getting into the locked press area with the help of a friendly DU staffer who we happened to run into, I was relieved to see that the camera had neither disappeared nor fallen over, and then I was delighted when I viewed the video, which turned out great. The rink/court is a little bit overexposed, but that was basically necessary for the stands to not be too dark. All in all, it captures the transition and the surrounding events really well, I think.
My time lapse video recorded for 60 hours and 6 minutes (that’s 2 1/2 days), recording one frame per minute. It plays back those snapshots at 20 frames per second, which results in each hour of real time lasting 3 seconds in the video. The video is thus 3 minutes long, at 1200x normal speed. You can view it above, via Vimeo. (It’s also on YouTube.)