There have been plenty of timelapse videos floating around the interwebs lately, and they’re inspiring many photographers to give the medium a go. As with any photography, getting the lighting correct is crucial. Jay P. Morgan gives a walk through of the lighting setup he used when making a timelapse video:
While your timelapse photography will probably be little different from Morgan’s, there’s still plenty of sound advice in the video. Some of it even translates into other styles of photography. Here are a few highlights from the tutorial:
- If you’re going to be working outside under the harsh sun, hang a silk over your set. Morgan uses a 20′ x 20′ white silk, hung as close as possible to the ground without it getting in the frame. Hang the silk low and it will diffuse the sun over a larger area of your workspace.
- Add fill lights as needed to add highlights to objects in your scene. Morgan uses a Hensel c1000 with an open face softbox on camera right and a simple shiny board on camera left to brighten up the shadows and add interest.
- Use a timer remote controller to set the intervals at which the shutter will fire. Morgan set his to one frame every 1 second.
- For smooth pans and sweeps use a slider that can be programmed to move at set distances. These settings are usually very gradual. For instance, Morgan set the timelapse mode on his Kessler slider so that it took 1 hour 15 minutes to travel 3 feet.
- If you want there to be a focus change in your timelapse video, make a mark on your lens and slider rails to denote where and when to change the focus. After you set up the slider and camera, move your camera down the slider and look at the viewfinder to decide where you want the focus to begin changing. Use a piece of chalk to mark the position of the slider.
- When your camera has worked its way down to that point, you can begin to manually change the focus. Adjust the focus over a course of images to give a the finished product a nice flowing look. Spread the focus adjustment out over about 8 frames.
The process of timelapse photography doesn’t have to be too difficult; it’s just time consuming. If you’re new to timelapse photography, start with a short project and work way you up to longer videos.
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