Steps for Beginners
By Ben Halberstam, CEO of Movo
This guide offers a few tips and tricks for the various stages of time lapse photography, from planning the shoot to composition to gear and points in between.
Step 1: Time Lapse Photography Requires Planning and Preparation
Planning your time lapse shoot will only help you get better results. While it's not as exciting as creating the time lapse, planning is a critical part of your success. Planning your time lapse is more than just picking a pretty subject in a great location.
You need to consider your timing, in terms of the time of day and time of the year, as well as what's going on at that location. If you want to create a beautiful time lapse of clouds drifting over the peaks of the Tetons, early morning or late evening is an ideal time. What’s more, spring and fall when storms are more prevalent will make for a much more successful shoot than in the winter, when the peaks are often socked in by snow and low-hanging clouds.
Additionally, think about the kind of movement you might capture at your desired location. Will you focus on clouds traveling across the sky? A river or waterfall for some nice water motion effects? Waves on the beach? Cars passing by on a bridge?
Without some sort of motion in the shot, your time lapse isn't going to be very interesting. Planning your shoot for the right subject at the right time to help you maximize the movement for the greatest time lapse effect.
Quick Tip: During the planning phase, determine your route to get to the location, where to park, and if any fees or permits are required.
Step 2: The Right Time Lapse Gear Will Help You Create the Best Videos
The great thing about time lapses is that you can create an interesting video with virtually any kind of camera - even basic DSLRs with a kit lens will do. Many cameras even have a built-in time lapse function. However, stepping up your game in the gear department is highly recommended to create the most compelling videos.
A great investment for time lapse video is an intervalometer. An intervalometer allows you to enter criteria for how often, how long, and how many photos are taken, giving you the ability to get perfectly timed images. Many intervalometers offer features that are more advanced than built-in time lapse functions in cameras, like selecting the drive mode of the camera or setting up the camera for a long exposure.
One of the best products to boost the quality of your time lapse videos is a motorized slider system. With sliders you can add another element of movement to the shot and can use the slider to move the camera as it takes the individual photos in the time lapse sequence. This means you get to capture the movement of the subject while also capturing the movement created as the camera makes its way across the slider.
The MOVO Time Lapse Slider has built-in features, and includes a Bluetooth remote. The aluminum alloy construction makes it lightweight and durable, which is just what you want when it comes to photography gear!
Step 3: Pay Close Attention to Composition
You want a strong subject, foreground interest to draw viewers in, and elements of interest in the midground and background as well. You also need to consider the movement of the camera and how the scene will change over the course of the time lapse. In other words, consider what the scene looks like now as well as what it will look like when the last frame is captured.
Step 4: Take More Photos Than You Think You'll Need
To create a time lapse video that's about 25 seconds in length, you need to shoot roughly one photo every 12 seconds for a period of 30 minutes. To create a smooth time lapse, you need a ton of photos taken at the right interval.
While each subject and scene is different, typically, a good rule of thumb is that for a slow-moving subject you need one photo every 10 seconds. For fast-moving subjects, you might need a shot every three seconds or so. At the same time, time lapses of the night sky only require one shot every 20-30 seconds.
Naturally, the longer the period between each shot, the less smooth the time lapse will be, which means you need to err on the side of caution and shoot more photos than you think you'll need.
If you truly want to inspire people with the videos you create, you need to take the time to plan, get the right gear, mind the composition, and get tons of photos!
Neocamera Blog is a medium for expressing ideas related to digital cameras and photography. Read about digital cameras in the context of technology, media, art and the world. Latest posts links:
Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark III Review
20 MP Micro Four-Thirds Mirrorless with 7-Stop 5-Axis Image-Stabilization, 121-Point Phase-Detect AF 30 FPS Continuous Drive and Cinema 4K capability in a weatherproof and freezeproof body with dual control-dials and dual SDXC memory card slots.
M.Zuiko 12-45mm F/4 PRO Review
A review of the M.Zuiko 12-45mm F/4 PRO added to the Olympus Premium Lens Roundup.
Peak Design Travel Tripod Review
Review of the unique Peak Design Travel Tripod with its own ballhead and the universal ballhead adapter.
Nikon Z-Mount DX Lens Roundup
Review of Nikon Z-Mount lenses for APS-C mirrorless digital cameras. Covers all current Z-mount DX lenses available.
Nikon Z50 Review
The first Nikon APS-C mirrorless is built around a 20 MP BSI-CMOS sensor with ISO 100-204800, 209-Point Phase-Detect AF, 11 FPS Drive and 4K Video capability. Compact body with dual control-dials and 2.4 MP 0.39" EVF with 0.68X magnification, 100% coverage and an Eye-Start Sensor.
Mirrorless Digital Camera Buying Guide 2020
The Mirrorless Digital Camera Buying Guide was fully rewritten for 2020, including all new systems from Nikon, Canon and Leica joined by Panasonic and Sigma. This new extensive 2020 Edition shows in 5 simple steps how to choose a mirrorless camera.
Panasonic Lumix DC-GX9 Review
This highly capable and compact mirrorless ranked as Best Beginner Mirrorless Digital Camera of 2019. Its 20 MP Four-Thirds CMOS sensor with Anti-Alias Filter is pared with 5-axis stabilization to maximize sharpness. Features a tilting 2.8 MP 0.39" EVF with large 0.7X view and Eye-Start sensor in a body with dual control-dials.
Best Digital Cameras of 2019
The Best Cameras of 2019 awarded by Neocamera: Best Travel-Zoom, Best Premium Compact, Best Ultra-Zoom, Best Mirrorless and Best DSLR.
10 Gifts Photographers Will Love
The 2019 gift guide for photographers showcases photography gear that amateur and enthusiasts will enjoy. It is divided into 3 price categories to suit different budgets from $50 to $200 USD.
Sony Alpha A7R IV In-Depth Review
The newest Sony high-resolution mirrorless packs a 61 MP Full-Frame BSI-CMOS sensor on 5-axis Sensor-Shift system. It shoots at 10 FPS, records 4K Ultra-HD video and focuses with a new 567-Point and 425-Area Hybrid AF system with Realtime tracking. This professional-grade camera features a 5.8 MP 0.5" EVF with 0.78X magnification, 100% coverage and an Eye-Start Sensor plus triple control-dials in a weatherproof body. This review shows exactly how the A7R IV performs and compares to top Full-Frame and Medium-Format digital cameras.