Amazing Timelapse Captures Shanghai Tower Construction

By Isabella Farr, March 4, 2016

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For those of us who are new to Shanghai, the Shanghai Tower already holds a familiar spot in the city's skyline. However, for those who have called Shanghai home for the past few years, the tower, which first underwent construction in 2008 and topped out in 2013, seemed to pop up overnight.

READ MORE: Watch the Shanghai Tower go from 0 to 128 stories in this 10-second GIF

Joe Nafis recorded the construction of the Shanghai Tower starting from 2009, using hundreds of thousands of photos and over 1,000 hours to put them all together.

Nafis kept a camera in one spot for four years, allowing him to capture an unobstructed view of Lujiazui and the Shanghai Tower as it was being built. In addition, he took thousands of photos from around the city and added in aerial footage from Livinov Lalama and Stan Huang. The result is this impressive video.

Writes Nafis of the project on Vimeo:

Construction had already begun when I arrived in the city in 2009. The site was a large hole in the ground with construction crews milling around pouring concrete for the base. I began exploring the city looking for views and locations that would serve as groundwork for this video. In 2011, I secured a location with unobstructed views of Lujiazui where I could just glimpse the tower peeking behind the 185m (607 feet) Aurora Plaza. I maintained a camera there for the next 4 years until the tower was completed. In the meantime I took hundreds of thousands of photos from various viewpoints around the city filling up around 8TB in the process. In all, over 1000 hours were dedicated to this project in exploring, shooting and post-processing. I used a variety of Canon cameras, lenses and motion control equipment to shoot. LRTimelapse ( was used for de-flickering while Adobe After Effects and Premiere were used for editing.

Nafis was the animator behind Bored Bloke Studios' delightfully funny video "How to Be a Successful Laowai in Shanghai." Check out his Vimeo profile here and his website here.

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