thanks for the considered words lightworks.
i must say you are right on too much hdr effects visible on the left side of the shot although, there were a few important things to take in consideration. first the time available and above all very limited production budget. plus we had to respect a certain color code. colors required by the client- the bank, which were sometimes sort of forced into the shot when not available in front of the camera.
let's face it story telling with time lapse is in general not very favorable over all, and i'm sure most people wouldn't even consider to go there. but it was the only way to make the clients budget work.
so when time was rushing towards the deadline, little things started slipping late at night, or better said early morning; very very long days, sometimes straight till freshly shaven clients stepped into the edit room for an approval the next morning.
after shooting, pretty jet-lagged after visiting texas china and amsterdam, we had only 6 days to finish off line, music and vo, color correct and on-line. the first days were mainly spend on uploading those huge files of thousands of stills ( only 1 was 29,3 mb) selecting and administrating and checking which of the available exposures created the best hdr effects. overall storing and selecting all that data was a hell of a job- we finished everything in 4 k. somewhat off an overkill, but anyhow... that quality looked really impressive though, with all that fine detail a hdr frame gives you. seeing that in 4K is a treat for the eye!
that made it so tempting to go for that sort of drawn non-realistic look - which if i'm honest i do like for certain things. for that very reason china looks great.
the plan was to continue and fine tune this type of production process (story telling with time-lapse shots with available lighting finishing with hdr postprod), with shooting foreground separately against a key color and do a composit with the time-lapse background the next time in order to have more tools and better coverage for actors and story telling...
would have added extra costs for a studio day though, although because of simplicity with tiny crew too. but as usual in advertising, there was no next time :-(
one of the reasons to post this work here, looking for a client who would like to us to use this fine tuned process one more time and shoot the hell out of it. Canon? :-)
anyhow thanks for the sweet words, appreciated.