‘Blackout City’: a Timelapse Inquiry Into What London Looks Like at Night Without Lights [VIDEO]

In 1994, during a blackout in Los Angeles, people called 911 to report strange clouds in the sky. The strange clouds were actually part of the Milky Way. Two decades later, this blackout inspired photographer and timelapse filmmaker Nicholar Buer to create the video, “Blackout City,” which imagines London with just the stars to light up the night.

On the video’s Vimeo page, Buer writes about the LA blackout:

It made me think about how the lights from cities have made many of us lose our connection to the night sky. We live in a fast-paced, man-made world, whereby it is all too easy for us to become disconnected from the natural world around us, isolated from what is actually real.

Buer believes that a starry night sky is one of the most beautiful phenomenon in nature. But what would a city as bright as London look like at night if every single light were turned off? “Blackout City” explores this question.

None of the footage here is computer generated. Starting in 2013, Buer began capturing city shots during the day and the night skies from dark locations in South England. Buer processed the daytime images to transform them into nighttime scenes and also processed the starry images to make them more true to what the naked eye witnesses in a blackout. He then combined them to create “Blackout City,” the experience of what it would be like if London turned off all its lights at night.

Buer continues:

The film’s agenda [is] simple: to inspire people to get away from the city lights, go somewhere quiet on a star-filled night and simply look up.

Whether or not the film motivates you to look up, it’s definitely generating buzz. That’s no doubt because “Blackout City” makes the invisible visible while opening our eyes to the wonders of the night sky with London as the setting.

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