Although I have been shooting time-lapses since 2004, long before it was a built-in feature of a camera or before the iPhone was invented with time-lapse software, this is a relatively new area for me as well as many photographers and the industry in general. New features in cameras are making time-lapse easier and more popular.


Because this is something new to the program, you need to do some research of your own. Most of my samples are things that I like. Find things that you like.






Sample Topics:


Fortunately, Time-lapses have gotten a LOT easier. I recommend a DSLR camera with an Intervalometer built in. You may need to get together with a friend who has the feature. I also have a couple of remotes that work with Pentax, Nikon, and maybe Canon that have an Intervalometer. If you use a device that DOES NOT have an Intervalometer, YOU must be the Intervalometer. This means that you must press the capture button based on a time YOU determine using a stop watch. If you do not have an Intravelometer, then you should at LEAST use a WIRELESS or WIRED Remote Shutter Release. If TOUCHING the camera, you must take EXTRA care so as to not shift the camera even .01 mm.


Also, there are MANY SmartPhone programs that allow for time-lapse. The key to choosing a SmartPhone Timelapse App is to make sure that it allows High Def images, and even possibly FULL Resolution images. NOTE: IF YOU ARE GOING TO USE A PHONE to do a time-lapse, you MUST HAVE A WAY TO KEEP THE PHONE PERFECTLY STEADY BETWEEN THE SERIES. IOW, you can move the camera to a different view, but each sequence must be


One of the things you are going to need to experiment with is the interval in which you take your pictures. One consideration to keep in mind is CAPTURE speed versus OUTPUT speed. INPUT is how often you snap the interval. OUTPUT is the frames per second. I am no expert on this, and it varies greatly. I usually snap anywhere from 5-10 seconds to once a week. For the Cho-Yeh video below, I used 20, 40 and 60 second intervals.


Interval Suggestions (partly as recommended by TopCamera...an iPhone App):


Instructions for Manual Capture:

  1. Place camera on a sturdy Tripod.

  2. Consider the resolution of the capture...it is NOT necessary to shoot a 24mp camera on 24mp. ANYTHING over 2mp will exceed the capability of consumer TVs as of 2013.

  3. Frame the picture with the entire sequence in mind. This means, allow enough time for things to expand, grow, dissolve, melt, etc.

  4. Put camera on Manual Focus if at all possible

  5. Set the exposure manually if at all possible.

  6. Decide how often you want to capture.

  7. Start a stop watch and press the shutter button based on the interval.

  8. Put a sign on your project if lapsing a span of days to avoid disturbance.


Instruction for SmartPhone:

If you want to use SmartPhone, you will need 2 things:

1.  Use a Tripod. You MUST (MMMMUSSSSSTTTTT) have a way to keep your camera PERFECTLY still. No tripod...NO GO! If you are doing a timelapse for your school project, I will not even grade a timelapse not on a tripod. If you really want to use your phone, you can always CLAMP your iphone.


2. A PAID APP! You will need to get some $2-3 app. The builtin app does not allow enough control. And free apps do NOT generally allow for high resolution capture.


NOTE: The following screen shots are for the now DEFUNCT iTimelapse. I have left these screens shots as a reference only. What ever app you use will have a similar interface and may take some getting used to.




This next screen shot shows several OUTPUT versions the variation you get. The INPUT is the same (i.e. same capture rate, same total number of pictures). The difference is the OUTPUT to 4 FPS (frames per second) vs. 15 and 7. The size of the video (approx 78mb) is the same. The difference is the length (36 secs vs 74 vs 120).


Technically, I would only use the output from this program as a DRAFT version. Export the images and take to Premiere for more control.






Assembling a Timelapse in Premiere:



Clamps for phones:



I have one of these for a short checkout:



Here is one I bought for my personal use. (Sorry...too flimsy and experimental for student checkout.)



Video Production