Time Lapse. I love time lapse. It's such a cool form of photography that gives me so much joy seeing the end results. The process? Not so much. Time lapse photography can be, and I'm sure anyone who's reading this and has done it understands, a bit tedious.
First things first, you gotta think up a good idea for what you want to achieve with your time lapse, then you have to source out the right objects, location, etc., then you have to work out how long you want your finished product to be, do some math regarding how many shots per minute you'll need based on how smooth you want your video to be, and then set up your equipment.
All time lapses are different, and there is no "one size fits all" approach to achieving a cool finished product. I'm showing you all several different time lapse's I've shot over the last few years to give you examples of how the time lapse technique can achieve a variety of cool results.
First one is a time lapse I shot at night using both long exposure and time lapse techniques. I wanted to get the look of the light streaks of the cars tail lights as they come to a stop, combined with a panning motion, done in post production. The result is a pretty cool short video that makes for great urban B-Roll stock footage.
This second one is a Cityscape Time Lapse I shot at night again, this time on the waterfront, with our local sport stadium as the main focal point. The cool thing about this shot are the water taxis skitting along the water. I shot this like the one above, using long exposure and time lapse techniques. I used 3 second exposures, every 5 seconds. These settings gave just the right amount of exposure and movement to the video.
This third one is one that I did on my lawn. I was about to cut the grass, and noticed that there were a lot of Buttercup flowers on my lawn so I decided to set up and shoot a time lapse that shows the flower closing as the sun was going down. This is the type of video that you see in nature documentaries and B-Roll in videos, etc. I normally shoot time lapse videos an full manual, but because the light would be changing so much during this shoot, and I wanted to maintain the same exposure level throughout the video, that required me to shoot in Aperture Priority mode. I shot this at f2.4 to get a cool shallow depth of field look and an ISO of 400. Now, because of the changing of shutter speed throughout the video to compensate for the changing light levels, I got a bit of flicker throughout the video. I fixed that in post using a program called TLDF 2.1 which analyzes each frame and outputs both de-flickered image files and video files. It's a great program, and is available for both Mac and PC.
And of course, there's clouds. Everyone loves a good, emotive cloud time lapse video. They can be used for so many things, and they sell quite well through my various online stock footage portfolios, like JWPhotoworks Shutterstock, JWPhotoworks Pond5, and JWPhotoworks Adobe Stock.
The settings on this particular one go as follows: Full manual, f6.3, ISO 200, 1/2000sec at 93mm. As with the above video, I ran it through TLDF 2.1 to de-flicker it.
So there you have it. A few examples of different kinds of time lapse's and how to achieve the results. I don't get into super detailed specifics with how to achieve these results, as I believe you just need to go out, shoot some stuff and see what you get. Bottom line is,use your imagination when it comes to shooting time lapse videos and you'll be ok in the end. Practice makes perfect.
Oh, and invest in a good tripod. ;)
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