Montreal STM Metro Appears to be like Like A Retro Spaceship In This Hyper-Lapse Video

  • Photography student Ben Portaria put together a hyper-lapse video of the Montreal metro that makes its brutalist beauty look otherworldly.
  • We spoke with Ben to find out more about the project and his experience with it.
  • Watch the video below.

The Montreal metro is a beautiful thing, and as much as we Montrealers can get a hate on for the STM every now and again, we really would be nothing without it. Plus, the Montreal metro really is an architectural wonder, with no two stations looking quite the same. Every station, from Côte-Vertu to Honoré-Beaugrand, uses space differently, emphasizing lines and movement wherever possible. Sure, every once in a while we have to deal with someone pooping on the platform, or bringing their duck onto the train (but look how cute it is!), but at the end of the day the metro is a staple of Montreal life and there is a lot to appreciate about this underground world.

Which is exactly what photographer Ben Portaria did with his hyper-lapse video showing the Montreal metro looking like a retro-futuristic dreamscape from something out of Bladerunner.

Portaria is a Dawson photography student who shoots beautiful nightscapes and otherworldy portraits both in Montreal and abroad.

In the video below, he manages to capture the eerie brutalism of the Montreal metro while still showcasing its strange aesthetic beauty that all Montrealers will recognize instantly. 

The hyper-lapse required over 4000 images in order to create the 1-minute video and it will truly make you feel like you’ve entered a spaceship that was designed like Montreal’s metro.

Portaria shared the video to YouTube on December 3, 2019, and incorporates video with music and even audio clips of the metro’s messages.

It took Portaria 41 hours of work to complete the video when you factor in the shooting, editing and all. His Premiere Pro crashed 5 times in the process.

Some stations are easy to spot, like Parc, Place Saint-Henri and Outremont… what other metro stations can you recognize?

READ ALSO: 24 Photos That Prove The Montreal Metro Is An Architectural Wonder

At the end of the video, Portaria includes a little note that says, “I had the opportunity to talk with a couple of police officers that were trying to stop me from taking my photos I had to remind them the rules of the STM. Again.”

I asked him about this altercation and he explained, “Well I was photographing my hyper-lapse and the cops that were on stations started coming in my direction, I was like, ‘Weeeeellll I’m getting kicked out.'”

“They started asking me tons of questions then I had to prove to them that I was a student and at the end, I showed them the rules of the STM about photography and then they couldn’t do anything […] But yeah they were just doing their jobs.”

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Société de transport de Montréal

The rules that Portaria is referring to can be seen in the screengrab above, which he keeps saved on his phone for these such occasions. The full rules around taking photos and videos in the metro can be found on the STM’s website here.

You can see more of Ben Portaria’s photos on his Instagram page here or check out his other videos on YouTube here.

To learn more about the wonderful world of underground architecture in Montreal, read my article that showcases Montreal’s beautiful metro stations in 24 photos. 

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