Time Lapse Photography

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Barnzee, Mar 18, 2011.

  1. Barnzee macrumors regular

    Oct 15, 2010
    Oak Harbor, WA
    So I was considering time lapse photography as a possible future endeavor. I've seen some really neat video's using this technique, and I was wondering if I could get some pointers from some one who has experimented with it before.

    What sort of extra equipment do I need other than my my DSLR and Tripod?

    Are there any special Camera Settings?

    I'm wanting to do a night horizon to start, with an emphasis on the stars. What kind of settings would I use for that?

    Sorry for the noob questions, any advice?
  2. Grasher macrumors member

    Jul 16, 2009
    I've done a bit of time lapse recently. The most important thing (obviously!) is to get the camera to shoot at regular intervals. If this feature isn't on your camera then get hold of a remote shutter release with this functionality. Only other thing would be to set the focus to manual.

    If you're shooting at night you need to keep an eye on conditions. I set up a great dawn shoot, had the camera on timer etc but didn't think about the fact that the morning dew would fog up my lens! I've heard of people sitting by the camera with a hair dryer to counteract this.

    I actually bought a compact specifically to use rather than my DSLR for time lapse. This was for two reasons:

    1. I was concerned about racking up the number of shutter activations on my DSLR (for a 30 second movie you're talking 1,000 shots). This was probably unfounded paranoia though.

    2. I wanted to be able to leave the camera out for hours at a time without worrying about weather damage or theft. I got a Pentax Optio W90 for $210. It's fully waterproof and shockproof, which means that it can do double duty as a take anywhere compact. Best of all, it has interval shooting built in. For $200 I won't be that bothered if it goes missing. It's also a little easier to gorillapod it to a tree or similar.

    Software-wise I use Time Lapse Assembler - all I do is dump the jpegs in a folder, point TLA at it and it comes up with a nice movie in about 30 seconds or so.

  3. Laird Knox macrumors 68000

    Jun 18, 2010
    I was working on a custom PTU and shutter release. I never really got it all put together. There was always a short in the wires somewhere. It has been a bit of an ongoing project.

    In addition to the focus I would suggest setting the camera to manual or aperture priority mode. You don't want it changing the depth of field on you. :)

    I never got the PTU working but here are a couple I did some time ago with a group I ride with. More of a test than anything.


    The second one isn't too exciting but I like the movement of the trees and clouds. It was taken over several hours. If you look close you can see that the camera was in full auto mode. The perspective changes a few times.

    Night shots can be fun but now you will likely have to have the camera set to bulb mode or a fixed shutter speed so you can pick up the stars. Unless you have one of those nifty cameras that has ISO settings somewhere in the stratosphere. ;)
  4. munkees, Mar 18, 2011
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2011

    munkees macrumors 65816


    Sep 3, 2005
    Pacific Northwest
    here is a good site, the the FAQ is great


    I done a few time lapse videos http://vimeo.com/20734785

    I use a canon T1i, you do not need fancy expensive lenses. I shoot in aV that way I get to set the f stop to a better value, and let the camera work out iso and shutter (you could also set the iso and leave the camera to work with just the shutter speed).

    Things I have learned

    do not use auto settings, it leads to flickering
    set the focus using autofocus, then turn it to manuel so there is no AF.

    see my first time-lapse, it has flicking.


    extra gear needed,

    large SD card, do not shoot raw, I shoot at small on my camera, it turns out about 3.7MP, with is enough for 1080P, 8MP should be the max.

    I use

    Shoots Timer Remote Control RS-60E3 intervalometer (cost $13), which I purchased from amazon, it does unto 99 shots or infinity.


    I live in the pacific northwest, and the last 2 months (could be longer), it rains and rains and rain etc, so I have not got out to shoot some more.

    equipment I am looking at for the future, is a turn table for my camera and a dolly/slide, both motorized, I will build these myself to save $$.

    currently I do not have a tilt shift lens (i do tilt shift using an aperture plugin), but the 2 lenses I will by this year is a
    Canon EF-S 10-22mm and a Lensbaby Composer for tilt shift.

    my next shoot I will try to do stars, it all about learning, reading, asking and practice, practice, practice

    for processing of images:

    I use aperture for an post production of the images, so I can do all the shots in a batch.

    1 shot every second for an hour is 3600 pictures.

    I use Quicktime 7Pro to sequence the images into a movie, this is an awesome tool, my first time lapse I imported nearly 4000 pictures into iMovie, and it take a lot more processing.
    I used iMovie so I can edit different clips and add music (which I make in Garage band using loops).
  5. flosseR macrumors 6502a


    Jan 1, 2009
    the cold dark north
    Personally I am still working on timelapses myself. I have sone some but never assembled them.

    I like nightshots because where I live I have a lot of very clean nights with very little noise pollution.I would love to do an assembly like the Chilean antennas found here:

    I have the equipment just never the time :)

    Bad excuse..

Share This Page