Basic Timelapse Photography Tutorial

There’s more than one way to make a timelapse sequence. One way is to shoot with a video camera and speed up the video during post-processing. While this technique has its advantages, Daniel Norton has a better way of making timelapse sequences using still photography:

Shooting stills and then converting the frames into a timelapse sequence later has some undeniable advantages. You can shoot in RAW, which means you have a lot more options when post-processing the frames. Plus, modern digital cameras shoot at a very high resolution. These frames can be used to produce 4K timelapse sequences easily.

shooting time-lapse

Set the interval between each frame.

Most cameras have a built-in interval shooting feature. Some cameras like the Nikon D4S, for example, have a default feature that automatically produces a timelapse video right after the stills are made—very handy when you need to get something sent right away after the shooting is done. But this process does not do justice to the RAW files. For best results, use the default interval shooting process without the built-in timelapse conversion option.

time-lapse shooting technique

Set the time-frame.

There are a few other things to keep in mind when setting up your camera for timelapse shooting.

  • Have freshly charged batteries loaded on to your camera.
  • Use a battery grip for additional battery power or look for A.C. power input. This is important when you are shooting really long time-lapse sequences.
  • Also, place large capacity freshly charged memory cards. You may be shooting thousands of frames.

The Magic Formula for Timelapse Photography

Finally, there’s a magic formula to help you figure out the interval between each frame on the move. A slight tweak of the formula and you can also accurately calculate how many frames you need to shoot. You need to know two things first:

  1. The length of the event
  2. The length of the timelapse sequence

Let’s say that you’re covering an event that is about an hour long. Let’s also assume that you need to make a 10 second long timelapse video of the event. Presuming the frame rate for the timelapse sequence is 24 frames per second, find the interval likes this:

1 hour = 3,600 seconds

3600 seconds / (24 frames x 10 seconds) = 15 seconds between each frame

Tweaking the formula slightly you can figure out how many frames you need:

Let’s say that you want to make a 1 minute video at 24 frames per second.

Simply multiply 60 seconds (1 minute) x 24 frames = 1440 frames.

There you have it. The simple tips you need to get started making delightful timelapse sequences.

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