I have a fondness for photography because it is a wonderful tool to provide insight into a world we cannot see. This may be physically with technology such as macro photography, but also as social ideas and individual expression. Ideally, new insights change the way we perceive, and consequently experience the world. Hopefully, the change is in the context of “the better.” Simply, I enjoy making visible what we regularly miss in life.
This is what led me to experiment with timelapse photography. The world changes when we view it from outside of our familiar progression of matter and spacetime. We can see clouds flow like streams through mountains, or the organic rhythms of cities. But enough about my thoughts, let’s talk the art of timelaspe.
It is most important that you are prepared before you go out to shoot. If you can, scout out your location and get an idea of any obstructions you might have to deal with. Always double check your gear to make sure everything is in working order. Tend to cleaning your lenses and sensor before heading out.
There are a few essential elements you will want to have in your kit: Camera Body & Lens, Cards & Batteries, Intervalometer, Tripod.
When shooting a timelapse, make sure you have a solid tripod and shooting surface. Shoot with all settings on manual (ISO, FOCUS, APERTURE, SHUTTER). Compose your image and shoot test shots to check the framing and exposure. Did I mention you will need an intervalometer? Well, if you have a Nikon, it is usually built into the firmware. Unfortunately, Canon has not included it. However, I recommend you simply invest in a basic intervalometer for whatever camera you have. I find they are worth the money. You can buy an after-market brand for relatively cheap on Amazon.
Intervalometers are handy tools that let you set how often your camera will take a picture. I like to use settings of one every 5 seconds. This lets me have 12 images every minute and 720 images every hour. Played back at 24 frames per second and you can compress and hour of time into 30 seconds with a relatively smooth flow of motion.
Another few settings you will want to keep in mind is your ISO, White Balance & profile settings – although your WB & picture profile settings are less important when you shoot RAW. If your are just starting out I recommend shooting in JPEG to minimize post-processing and save card memory.
So now you have all these images, but how do you make them into a movie? There is plenty of software out there to choose from. However, if you have Quicktime player, you also have an excellent piece of software to assemble your images into a timelaspe movie. Check out the tutorial below on You Tube. It’s so easy a child can do it.
Now that I have all that DSLR talk out of the way…. The best camera is the one you have.
You don’t need an expensive DSLR or software to make a timelapse movie. Your smartphone can take the pictures and assemble them into a movie for you! I found a wonderful App for my iPhone for 99 cents, Time Lapse Camera HD.
Quick, simple, set it and forget it interface. You can output the video as .mov files to share and edit. Simply shoot on your phone, edit on your phone, and upload to the video streaming platform of your choice. Good times. I shot the video below out my window while at work. With your phone, you can do this anywhere!http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z51aedbdlBE&feature=plcp
The most import thing here is to enjoy yourself and experiment! Remember when you were a kid and hated to go to sleep, and couldn’t wait to wake up in the morning? Find that playful, uninhibited, and in-the-moment mentality of youthful experimentation and enjoyment again!