Time Lapse Photography

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by pmxperience, Nov 14, 2013.

  1. pmxperience macrumors regular


    Aug 12, 2011
    United States
    I'm an amateur photographer trying to expand his horizons. The project this time around is time-lapse photography. I've seen some amazing video presentations and I would like to try my hand as well.

    Does anyone have any good links, resources, recommendations, tips, tricks they would like to offer in order to help me get started?
  2. NeGRit0 macrumors 6502a


    Apr 19, 2008
    Las Vegas, Nv
    If you still shoot Canon like your signature says, I would look into Magic Lantern. Especially if you are wanting to do sunrises/sunsets.
  3. diamond3 macrumors 6502a

    Oct 6, 2005
    http://www.prestonkanak.com is a good resource for time-lapse tutorials.

    Magic Lantern firmware as recommended by Negrit0 is an excellent tool for creating a time-lapse since it has an intervalometer. It free and works with most Canon DSLRs.

    Honestly, going out and practicing is what will help the most. Watch a few tutorials to get an idea on time between shots, but for the most part you're taking a picture.

    As far as the post production process, that just depends on what software you have at your disposal.
  4. Astroboy907 macrumors 65816


    May 6, 2012
    Spaceball One
    Depends on where you want to go with videography and all that, but I do recommend Magic Lantern as said before, but if you want to get more involved and in depth (e.g. motion controlled pan/tilt/shift time lapses), than I would look into projects and products such as an Emotimo TB3, Merlin, or a GigaPan and perhaps a dolly (Chronos, MX1) of some sort (I can tell you a lot more about this as I am trying to build my own diy motion control rig).

    I've wanted to do this stuff for a while but engineering my own rig is kind of a pain :D

    A link:
  5. nburwell macrumors 601


    May 6, 2008
    Time-lapses are great, but they are also time consuming as well. I'm currently working on a time-lapse project, and while the taking the images part is pretty straightforward, it's the putting it all together on your computer that is quite challenging; especially working with software you have never worked with before.

    A intervalometer is a key tool for time-lapse photography. Like others said, you can download the Magic Latern software to your camera, or you can buy a dedicated intervalometer like I did. If you want to add some motion to your time-lapses, look into systems from Kessler Crane and Dynamic Perception. Be forewarned: the systems are pretty expensive (as an alternative, you can rent the gear, but it does require a bit of a learning curve).

    When you dump your images to your computer or external HD, I usually catalog my RAW files by date so I can keep track of the shots I already took.

    From a software perspective, I edit my RAW files in Lightroom 5 and then use Adobe Premiere and After Effects to put the time-lapse together. Alternatively, you can use LRTimelapse (which I believe was or still is a free time-lapse software program).

    I find a lot of inspiration through the time-lapse videos on VIMEO. If you're ever looking for time-lapse ideas or techniques, then VIMEO is definitely the place you want to look.

    Best of all, have fun doing it. Yes it's time consuming, but in the end, it's all worth it once you see the final time-lapse film.
  6. fitshaced macrumors 68000


    Jul 2, 2011
    All good advice.

    I'd add to start off small such as shooting clouds in daylight. It will help you get a sense of timing and help you calculate intervals, shot count, etc.

    Also, the best advice I can think of is to keep everything on your camera as manual as possible. Any change in exposure by the camera will result in flickering and possibly even movement. So, camera in manual mode and lens in manual focus (set the focus first and then set to manual).

    Cover up the view finder with the black piece on your canon strap. You'll find that it fits nicely over the viewfinder once you take the eye piece off.

    Good steady tripod on steady ground away from anything that might knock it.

    A wireless remote to avoid camera shake. Some come with intervalometers. i'd avoid the gadgets that allow smartphone control as they usually want line of sight to the front of the camera and sometimes don't allow you to stray too far away from the camera without the sequence stopping. There might be others that work very well.

    Never change battery/memory card in the middle of a sequence. Ensure your battery is full (use a battery grip with two batteries if possible) and that you have enough capacity on your memory card.

    I suggest using raw format which will allow you to have more control over images (obviously) but this requires more time in processing and quite a bit more memory card space.

    Use Quicktime to bind your images together if you have no other tool. I believe the 'Open Image Sequence' was removed from newer versions of Quicktime but you might still be able to download version 7 which has this. Otherwise, there are other free tools, some that are really garbage. I use Final Cut Pro X which makes it incredibly easy to compile a time lapse.

    When you get into it (it's quite addictive), you'll need to scope out locations, content before your shoot. You'll look for what movement is in the scene, what are the potential objects that will need to be excluded (by composition) and best time of day to shoot. You'll also need to consider the appropriate exposure.

    If you are going to be creating a lengthy move, make your clips quite short as otherwise, it will get repetitive and boring.

    Be as creative as you can be. It's a very satisfying process when it's all put together.
  7. CaptainZero macrumors newbie

    Jun 14, 2013

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