L.A. as a Ghost Town: Video Renders Urban Landscape Sans Traffic, Pedestrians

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Viral Video Imagines Los Angeles Without Any Traffic

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Viral Video Imagines Los Angeles Without Any Traffic

Could you imagine the perpetually busy streets of Los Angeles without a single car, bus or truck?

Russell Houghten could, and he put his imagination to work directing a nearly four-minute video that shows a side of modern L.A. that’s likely never been seen outside of make-believe.

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In the video titled “Urban Isolation,” some of the city’s most recognizable streets and heavily trafficked highways -- which are among the most congested in the nation -- are rendered utterly devoid of traffic or pedestrians.

A lone skateboarder can be seen roaming the quiet streets, the rasp of his skateboard on the pavement the only natural sound in a desolate urban landscape.

“The traffic’s terrible ... so I was thinking, how cool would it be if like traffic didn’t exist, basically making a ghost town out of Los Angeles,” Houghten said, explaining the concept.

As of Tuesday night, the video has been viewed more than 291,000 times since being posted to Vimeo on July 15, and Houghten is getting plaudits for his idea and execution.

“dang man im intrigued by how you executed this!” one enthusiastic poster wrote, to which Houghten replied: “Lots of masking in adobe after effects.”

In a behind-the-scenes video, Houghten explained that, while viewers don’t see any cars on the streets in his video, they were actually there during filming – even when the skaters were on the freeway with cars whizzing by at 80 miles per hour.

“There were definitely some sketchy times shooting some of these shots,” he said.

He used an editing program to remove the cars in a slow, tedious process that took hundreds of hours.


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