Highway Traffic Gets Reorganized by Color in Hypnotic Video

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Cy Kuckenbaker is back to reorganizing mobile objects by color — and this time he's shifting his attention from airplanes to motor vehicles.

The filmmaker's first video in his "San Diego Studies" series received more than 3 million views on YouTube and Vimeo combined. The clip showed four hours of departing airplanes in less than 30 seconds. Kuckenbaker kept the real-me motion of the planes but placed them closer to each other. The final piece looks surreal; 70 planes are shown landing at San Diego International Airport in a continuous stream.

"I had no idea that it would get the response that it got," the adjunct professor told the Vice Creators Project in a video on YouTube. "You know, it's just one of those situations where it's like, 'OK, this works. So let me see how far I can take it.'"

Kuckenbaker then focused his camera on San Diego's oldest freeway, State Route 163, for a mere four minutes. The documentarian used the same special-effect technique, chroma key, to condense the footage and place the cars in a color pattern. Kuckenbaker explained that the process involves isolating each car individually and animating it frame by frame.

"It's conceptually super simple," he said. "I think it's one of those patterns that's constantly around us. We just never make the observation."

Kuckenbaker said he created the series "to reveal unobservable patterns in San Diego." He's already filmed motion in air and on land — so what should his next video concentrate on?

Here's the unedited traffic video, just to show how much work Kuckenbaker did. Tell us what you think on Facebook, or on Twitter. And here's a previous video from Kuckenbaker, a stunning time-collapsed video of airplanes in San Diego, that became a Vimeo Staff Pick.