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How to Shoot Time Lapse Photography

You’ve probably seen some super cool time lapse videos and wondered what it would take to start shooting time lapse photography of your own. Well, it’s actually a lot easier than you may think! The easiest way to capture time lapse photography is by using a phone with a good camera, which is something you might already have. For professional-quality time lapses, you'll need a good DSLR camera, a sturdy tripod, and the right accessories. Once you decide on the equipment to use, you need to pick a good subject, set up your gear for the shot, and program the right intervals to get the images you need to make your very own time lapse video.

EditSteps

EditUsing a Phone Camera for Basic Time Lapses

  1. Select the time lapse mode in your phone's camera app. Most smart phones these days have a time lapse mode in the camera app. Open up the app and scroll through the different modes until you find it.[1]
    Shoot Time Lapse Photography Step 1.jpg
    • Keep in mind that the time lapse mode on your phone has few or no settings that you can adjust. If you want more control, then you will need to download a time lapse app instead.
  2. Set your phone in a stable place so it won't move while you record. A tripod with a phone mount is the ideal stabilizer for your phone. Prop your phone up against something that won't move if you don't have a phone tripod.[2]
    Shoot Time Lapse Photography Step 2.jpg
    • If you are outside, keep in mind wind and other factors that could move your phone during recording.
    • Make sure you have a full battery if you plan on shooting for a long time so your phone doesn't die in the middle of your time lapse!
  3. Hit record and leave your phone in place for as long as you want to record. Record longer periods for slower moving objects, and shorter periods for faster moving objects. The number of frames captured per second by your phone will depend on how long you record for.[3]
    Shoot Time Lapse Photography Step 3.jpg
    • For example, if you are shooting slow moving clouds, then your time lapse will look much better if you record for 20 minutes vs. for 5 minutes.
    • The frame rate drops the longer you shoot, so the length of the video will not vary greatly if you shoot for 10 minutes compared with if you shoot for 40 minutes. Most time lapse videos shot with phones are 20-40 seconds long, regardless of how long you shoot for.
  4. Download a 3rd party time lapse app if you want more settings to play with. 3rd party apps offer you much more control over settings like exposure, frame rate, white balance, video speed, and even let you set a timer or add filters. Search the app store for your model of smart phone, download a few time lapse apps, and experiment them to find one that you like.[4]
    Shoot Time Lapse Photography Step 4.jpg
    • Some examples of nice time lapse apps are Framelapse, Lapse It, Microsoft Hyperlapse, Hyperlapse from Instagram, TimeLapse, iTimeLapse Pro, iMotion, and OSnap!. Some of these apps even have other features like letting you shoot stop motion videos or add audio.

EditSetting up Professional Equipment

  1. Use a DSLR camera to shoot the best time lapse photography. DSLR cameras are by far the most professional way to capture time lapse shots. They are easiest to connect to an intervalometer (or even have one built in) and have the most options of settings that you can adjust for shooting in all kinds of scenarios.[5]
    Shoot Time Lapse Photography Step 5.jpg
    • DSLR stands for Digital Single-Lens Reflex. These types of cameras offer the most bang for your buck and are far and away the best option on the market for photographers who want to take professional photos.
  2. Choose a subject with movement. The whole point of a time lapse video is to see movement sped up over time. Walk around the area to find the best framing and composition for your shot.[6]
    Shoot Time Lapse Photography Step 6.jpg
    • Pick somewhere to shoot that will have lots of interesting movement to capture for your time lapse video. For example, a sky with lots of moving clouds, a busy intersection, crowds of people, a sunrise, or a sunset are all good options for time lapse videos.
    • Keep the “rule of thirds” in mind when picking the location to frame your shot. In other words, look at the frame of your shot as a grid of 9 squares. Try to compose it so that the most interesting parts are at the intersections of the squares on this imaginary grid.
  3. Select a stable tripod to hold your camera steady while shooting. You need a heavy tripod that won’t shake in the wind. This will ensure that your camera stays as still as possible while shooting your time lapse so all the shots are the same. [7]
    Shoot Time Lapse Photography Step 7.jpg
    • Your camera will be in the same position for up to 2 hours, so make sure to use the heaviest tripod you can get your hands on.
    • While shooting, you can stabilize your tripod even further by hanging your camera bag from it or placing rocks around the legs to hold them in place.
  4. Use a memory card of at least 32GB with a write speed of 50MB/s or more. Your camera will be working hard and taking a lot of images for your time lapse. A large and fast memory card will reduce the buffer time to allow your camera to quickly process each image before the next shot.[8]
    Shoot Time Lapse Photography Step 8.jpg
    • The shorter your intervals between shots, the more important this is.
  5. Put a battery grip on your camera to avoid a dead battery. Battery grips let you use 2 batteries at the same time. Your battery will drain much faster during time lapse photography, so having 2 batteries connected at once will help you avoid having to change the battery while shooting.
    Shoot Time Lapse Photography Step 9.jpg
    • If you don’t have or can’t use a battery grip for your camera, then at least carry a fully-charged spare battery that you can quickly swap into the camera if the battery dies during your shoot.[9]
  6. Use an ND filter if you have one to control exposure. Neutral density filters help increase motion blur and still capture sharp images. This will ensure the highest quality shots for your time lapse video.[10]
    Shoot Time Lapse Photography Step 10.jpg
    • If you don’t have an ND filter, you can experiment with underexposing shots by 1-2 stops, but this will decrease some of the image quality and you will have to recover it in editing.

EditAdjusting Camera Settings and Capturing Footage

  1. Focus the camera’s lens on your subject. Manually focus the camera’s lens on subjects of interest you want to capture in the time lapse video. Focus the lense to infinity if you are using a wide angle lens, or focus on specific elements in other cases.[11]
    Shoot Time Lapse Photography Step 11.jpg
    • For example, if you are shooting a sky with moving clouds, then manually adjust the lens so that the clouds are fully in focus. If you are shooting at an intersection, then adjust the lens so that the cars at the intersection are most in focus.
  2. Set your camera to manual mode. You need to shoot in manual exposure mode to create quality time lapse videos. Your camera will try to adjust for every slight change of light if you use automatic and you will end up with too much variation in your images.[12]
    Shoot Time Lapse Photography Step 12.jpg
    • When you shoot time lapse photography in manual mode, you should to set ISO to 100 with aperture at f/11.
  3. Shoot RAW files instead of JPEG. RAW files allow you the most flexibility when editing your video. With JPEG files you are pretty much stuck with what you get.[13]
    Shoot Time Lapse Photography Step 13.jpg
    • You will export your RAW files as JPEGs later, after editing, to turn them into the time lapse video.
  4. Hook up an intervalometer to your camera to trigger the time lapse shots. Some cameras have a built-in intervalometer, in which case you won’t need to buy an external one. Get a remote intervalometer that is compatible with your camera if it doesn’t have a built-in one.[14]
    Shoot Time Lapse Photography Step 14.jpg
    • Some built-in intervalometers have the advantage that they let you program a start time, so you could even begin shooting when you are not right next to the camera.
  5. Set the time lapse interval according to your subject. Use a longer interval for slow moving subjects and a shorter interval for fast moving subjects. 1-5 seconds is a good general interval range for most time lapse subject matter.[15]
    Shoot Time Lapse Photography Step 15.jpg
    • Use 1-second intervals for fast moving subjects such as traffic or fast moving clouds.
    • Use a 3-5 second interval for things like slower moving clouds, crowds of people, sunsets, and sunrises.
    • Longer intervals of 15-30 seconds can be used to shoot things over longer periods of time, like the sun moving across the sky or construction projects. Keep in mind that it takes about 1 hour to shoot enough images for a 30-second time lapse video at 5-second intervals, so a 30-second video shot at 30-second intervals would take you 6 hours to shoot.
    • For extremely slow moving subjects, such as growing plants, use intervals of 10 minutes or more.
  6. Shoot for 250 frames for every 10 seconds of video you want. 25 frames creates 1 second of video. Set your intervalometer to capture the required number of frames at the chosen intervals, click “start”, and leave it alone for the whole time it is shooting.[16]
    Shoot Time Lapse Photography Step 16.jpg
    • For example, if you want to make a 20-second video of traffic at a busy intersection, then you would need to shoot 500 frames. Since you would be using 1-second intervals for this type of movement, it would only take you 500 seconds to get all the footage you need for your 20-second video.
    • If you don’t know how many frames you need or want, then set your intervalometer to “infinity” so it will just keep shooting until you stop it.
    • If you want to do heavy editing, then it’s a good idea to take an extra 100-200 frames to give you some extra to work with.

EditCompiling the Footage

  1. Upload your images to a photo editing software program and edit them. Edit 1 of the images to your liking, and then copy the edits to all the other images you are going to use in your time lapse video so they are all the same. Export the images as JPEG files when you are done editing.[17]
    Shoot Time Lapse Photography Step 17.jpg
    • Adobe Lightroom is the most popular photo editing software, but you can use whatever you know and are comfortable with.
    • Other options include Affinity Photo, Capture One Pro, ON1 Photo Raw, Luminar, and DxO Photo Lab.
  2. Use time lapse assembling software to put the images together in a video. There are lots of free or paid options for putting together time lapse videos. Find one that you like, upload the images, then set the frames-per-second to 25 to create your time lapse video.[18]
    Shoot Time Lapse Photography Step 18.jpg
    • LR Time Lapse is an example of a plugin for Adobe Lightroom that you can use to assemble your video. Another option is putting it together in Adobe Photoshop.
    • Free tools include Time Lapse Assembler for Mac and the Startrails app for PC.
  3. Use video editing software if you want to add music or special effects. Import the video to a video editing software program. Add the final touches to your video then export the final copy to share with the world![19]
    Shoot Time Lapse Photography Step 19.jpg
    • Some examples of software you can use to add music and other effects are Final Cut Pro, Adobe Premiere, Windows Movie Maker, and iMovie.
  4. Save and export your completed video file. The process will vary slightly depending on the software you used to edit your video. In most programs you simply need to click on File, then Export, and choose the desired video format.[20]
    Shoot Time Lapse Photography Step 20.jpg
    • The best video format to select for general use is MP4, which uses MPEG-4 or H.264 video encoding to compress the file. When you export your video as an MP4 file, the resolution and frame rate will stay the same as when you imported the files.

EditReferences


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from How to of the Day http://bit.ly/2WcYjBc

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