Time-lapse Test

This week I finally got around to trying out some time-lapse photography. After a bit of reading up on the subject, I realised it’s not as easy as setting your camera on interval and hoping for some good results. The more planning you put in, the better the results will be.

The maths. 

You can start by working out how long you want your final production to be and how many frames per second you want the video to play at. Anything from 23 to 30 frames per second will give you a smooth video like feel. Multiply these numbers together and you work out how many frames you need. I started out wanting a 60 second video to play back at 30 frames a second. This would mean I needed 1800 frames to make the final video.

I knew I wanted to shoot 24 hours, that is 84600 seconds. So 84600/1800 would mean that I needed to set my camera to shoot every 48 seconds.

I have a Ricoh GR with a built-in interval timer, unfortunately it only allows adjust every 5 seconds so I set the interval to 45 seconds. This means I would get 1920 frames so I would end up with a slightly longer than one minute video.

The Set-up 

You might recognise the view from my Panorama blog a few weeks ago, it’s a good place for trying out the time-lapse as the hospital construction site and sunset views always provide something interesting to look out. You will need a tripod to make sure your camera does not move for the duration of the shoot, this would be very distracting. Also if your shoot is going to last for a long time consider using a power adapter so that the battery does not run out. Make sure you have turned off your auto-power-off feature. You should set your camera file settings to a low-resolution, this will make post-production easier but still make sure you have a SD/CF card large enough to store all the images you will be taking.

Post Production

I used Adobe Photoshop CS4 Extended to create the final video, this is a relatively simple process. Have all your frames in one folder, open the first frame of the sequence using the command+O or Ctrl+O. This will give you the option to tick the image sequence option which will then open a dialogue box asking how many frames a second you want in the final video. Then using the render video option you can chose various file formats and sizing options before exporting your video.

The result

Singapore Time-lapse, 24 hours in just over one minute. from Rob Dawson on Vimeo.

This was a good first try for me and makes me want to try out some more. I would like to get the Canon TC-80N3 so that I can try it with my DSLR and I think I need to spend some more time in post production.



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