A beginner’s guide to time-lapse photography
11/08/2012 | Guest
Whatever your level of experience as a photographer, there’s good chance that you’re already familiar with time-lapse photography. The basic principle behind time-lapse is to take photographs over a number of minutes, hours, weeks, months or even years, and shrink them into a video of just a few seconds / minutes. This can bring often-imperceptible processes to life – you can watch a seed germinate, grow, and blossom into a flower in a matter of seconds, for instance.
Before you attempt your own time-lapse project, you need to make sure your gear’s up to the job. You’ll definitely need a tripod and an intervalometer (many modern DSLRs have an intervalometer built in) – this little piece of tech will take all the hard work out of the process by ensuring uniformity in the spacing between each shot. Alternatively, you can hook your camera up to a laptop and run software (such as Nikon Camera Control Pro) that will do this for you. Always remember, choosing shorter intervals will help to ensure the final result is as fluid as possible.
If you’re not sure whether to shoot in RAW or JPG format, remember that you’ll only need RAW if you plan to do significant post-processing of your images. For beginners, JPGs will usually be fine, and they’ll take up less space and save more quickly.
Once you’ve set up your camera facing the view you want to capture, place it on manual mode and select your chosen aperture, exposure time and white balance. By locking these settings, you ensure the final edit will look nice and smooth. To avoid what is known as ‘flicker’ (the drag from when the shutter moves) use an aperture under f/8 and aim for under 1/50th of a second shutter speed. Then use your camera’s intervalometer, or an equivalent piece of software, to manage the sequence of shots you want to take.
You can save yourself hours in the editing process by simply thinking ahead. Make sure you’re happy with the way the scene is framed. Work out what time of day will provide the kind of light you want. Practice with different settings and different lenses to see the effects.
There are a number of affordable software packages available (such as Quicktime Pro) which will allow you to condense your photos into a short video sequence. Once that’s done, you can think about adding a soundtrack, and creating something really impressive.
Once you get the hang of time-lapse photography, you can even think about combining it with other techniques like tilt-shift, as demonstrated in this ‘Miniature Manchester’:
This article was provided by Vivid Photo Visual