Timelapse Photography!

Hello everyone! Welcome back to this week’s blog post, I hope you are ready and super excited for this one because I know I am! This week I put a lot of my focus and energy on Timelapse Photography. I have seen many photographers use this technique and I think it is the coolest thing.

Many of us these days have a timelapse setting on our phones that will create a low quality example but will get the job done.

However handy and will get the job done, you want something that is going to export and look as if you are standing there, and I am going to give you some tips on how to create a timelapse that is easy and fun.

But first maybe I should explain to you what the Timelapse Technique is.  Timelapse photography is a cinematography technique where the frequency at which the film frames are captured is much lower that which will be used to play the sequence back. When you play this sequence at normal speed, time appears to be moving faster and lapsing. Where objects and events would normally take minutes, days, hours or even months to be viewed to completion we can speed up the frame rate; which is what you are seeing in the video. You are seeing a 38 second sequence that started as a 45 minute filming.

Timelapse Gear: 

  • Tripod: In order to get a steady timelapse you are going to want a solid platform. It is important that no matter what tripod you use, you always need to remember to weigh the bottom down. Nothing is worse than being 10-15-60 minutes into a timelapse and a big gust of wind comes by and knocks your camera and your project over. So always be safe rather than sorry.
  • Intervalometer: An intervalometer is an automated camera trigger that is used to capture hundreds of photos at precise intervals. Remember a timelapse is a series of photographs taken in sequence so this is what keeps you from standing by (touching/bumping/moving) your camera with a stopwatch to take photos at every interval.
  • Camera: Well duh, thanks Audrey. You can use any camera your little heart desires. A DSLR will be the easiest to use however if all you have is a point and shoot, it should work, just be sure that your intervalometer can sync. And of course you could always just use a GoPro and download the app to your phone and BAM you have an easy peasy timelapse that now all you have to do is bring the images into a video editing software.
  • ND Filters (Optional): Like sunglasses for your camera, neutral density(ND) filters reduce the intensity of light without altering its color. less light allows us to use slower shutter speeds in bright environments.

Common Timelapse Intervals: 

  • 1 second intervals:
    Moving traffic
    Fast moving clouds
  • 1 – 3 second intervals:
    Slower moving clouds
    Moon and sun near horizon (or telephoto)
    Things photographed with a telephoto
  • 15 – 30 second intervals:
    Moving shadows
    Sun across sky (no clouds) (wide)
    Stars (15 – 60 seconds)
  • Longer Intervals:
    Fast growing plants (ex vines) (90 – 120 seconds)
    Construction projects (5min – 15min)

Timelapse Tips: 

  • Frame interval > Exposure time: your interval MUST exceed your exposure time. A good rule of thumb is to keep your exposure at about 60% – 80% of your interval to give your camera enough time to clear the image buffer before the next frame is taken.
  • If you have relatively constant light, shoot in MANUAL mode
  • If your light will change consider shooting in APERTURE PRIORITY mode
  • Select an ISO setting: When shooting in manual mode DON’T FORGET to set your ISO to a specific value and remove it from automatic control. Keeping a low ISO setting will result in less photographic noise but will require a brighter scene.  A higher ISO results in a sensor that is more sensitive to lower light situations but, it also subjects your final images to more random noise.
  • Select manual focus

Creating the Timelapse movie: 

So now you have a ton of images and you need to creating the timelapse movie you have been dreaming of. You are going to have to bring in all of your images into a video editing software to stitch together your masterpiece. You can also add multiple timelapses together to create a more interesting composition. Below is a list of some of the suggested software that I was told but if you have any suggestions please leave them in the comments below.

  • Aftereffects
  • Premiere Pro
  • Quicktime Pro

I hope these tips and tricks will help you in the field and if you have any questions, comments or suggestions please leave them in the comments or email me directly and I will get back to you as soon as possible. I hope you all have a wonderful week and I will see you next time!



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