Bonus Skyrim Xbox 360 Timelapse

Keeping it Tamriel.

Here's a small weekend Digital Foundry bonus. Last week we published our Skyrim: World in Motion timelapse, based on 1080p captures acquired from the PC version of the game running at ultra settings. However, before we began work there, we experimented a great deal on the Xbox 360 version which we received several days ahead of release.

The work we did was abandoned when it became evident that the PC game would offer us improved resolution, superior visuals and greater control over the way time passes - meaning that a single shot which would take around 1.5 hours to capture on 360 could be acquired on PC in around a third of the time.

However, the fact is that we acquired around 25 hours of 360 capture across a number of different shots, and it would have been a shame just empty the recycle bin and say goodbye to all that work, so we spent a few moments editing them together to see what we could come up with.

A montage of timelapse shots captured from the Xbox 360 version of Skyrim. We aborted work on this and concentrated on the PC version so we could enjoy higher resolution, higher quality shots, and other advantages. However, it seemed a shame to waste so much time and effort, so here's a bonus edit of our initial work when putting the article together.

The original captures were acquired at two frames per second, with the video headers tweaked to run the clips at 60FPS, giving us an instant speed-boost. These files were then imported into Adobe Premiere Pro, where we sped up these videos still further by a factor of 500 per cent, giving the fast, dynamic motion we see here.

The decision to go for PC was the right one - we were able to get far more impressive vista shots with a much improved view distance, and the computer version isn't subject to some of the other limitations that we see on console, such as the selective anti-aliasing that seems to be wiped out by the processing of transparency effects. You can also see that even in this hyper-accelerated state, the movement of the dynamic shadows across the environments is significantly choppier than it is on PC.

Overall then, while the results aren't as impressive as what we saw in our final PC video, this Xbox 360 "alternative take" is an interesting companion piece - and in terms of its handling of the passing of time, its atmospheric rendering effects plus the beautiful Aurora Borealis, the console game still delivers some superb visuals and an absolutely compelling game world.

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