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Essential Techniques for Time-Lapse Photography
Time-lapse photography

Essential Techniques for Time-Lapse Photography

This article will cover a handful of necessary items for time-lapse photography, if you are getting started, use this as a checklist of essentials you will need.
Time-lapse can be a tricky thing and often issues will arise in the final product that did not appear in any individual picture like flicker, highlight clipping and camera shake. Proper preparation of this can solve most of these issues and being well equipped is a good idea to start. Here are some ideas for equipment that will help you complete the envisioned time-lapse.

Tripod: First and foremost thing that is very essential is a tripod or some other type of stable mounting equipment such as a fixed enclosure for longer-term time-lapse or hi-hat for lower angles, or a f.

Intervalometer: Secondly, you will need an intervalometer or controller. . It is nearly essential. The intervalometer will allow you to set the intervals between each capture, which is the need to shoot your time-lapse.

Batteries: Third would be enoughpower. especially if you are shooting for a longer period of time. This is the last thing you need for the power to run out in the middle of your time-lapse shoot. 

Neutral density filters: This equipment will reduce the amount of light that will touch your sensor without altering color. This will set to use larger apertures and greater exposures in circumstances which otherwise might end up in some highlight clipping.

Different ways of shooting time-lapses

Time-lapses can be shot in different ways, each method has their own pros and cons. Three primary methods for shooting time-lapse videos are:

  • Mobile phone: Smart phones have a time-lapse feature that makes it easy to capture uninterrupted time-lapses while on the go.
  • Video: Shooting a video for a long time and then adjusting  its speed in post can be used to create a time-lapse effect.
  • Series of photos: DSLR camera to shoot high quality images at a regular interval and then creating a motion video at a certain frame rate is a good option also.

By far, the best way to create a great time-lapse with quality, desired frame rate, resolution, and dynamic range is concerned is using a DSLR camera. You cannot control each one of these variables on a mobile phone or video camera.

Software and Applications for assembling time-lapses

There are various software programs available in the market that you can use to convert your series of pictures into time-lapse video. Some software are free and some are premium or paid.

  • LRtime-lapse plugin : This is the great time-lapse software available and it is very powerful and logical. It lets you make 12 to 15 seconds time-lapses (400 images) with the free version. You need to use it with Adobe Lightroom.
  • Adobe Premiere: It can allow you to select your series of images and it will convert them into a time-lapse clip which you can export also.
  • FFMPEG: It is a command line tool that convert your series of images into a motion video. Not everyone is familiar with using the command line tool, but it is open source, and many options are available.
  • Time-lapse Tool: A powerful time-lapse tool with various options.
  • SkyStudio PRO: It is a small program that is comparatively easier and users friendly.

Quick Tips About Time-Lapse

  1. Do not focus on too many different types of movement while time-lapse. The shutter speed will be suitable for one image, but may not give the same results for another.
  2. Shoot all images/videos in manual all the time and only go for semi-automatic if light and exposure change dramatically. Manual settings will give more consistent results.
  3. Do not use foreground subjects that are moving fast like trees, etc. When you will increase the speed of your time-lapse, those subjects will move too steady and will result in distraction.
  4. If you are shooting for the first time a certain subject and you are not really sure which interval to use, it is best to use one that is faster than you need than slower ones. You can then speed up so many frames in one post
  5. If the exposure is not changing dramatically, you can have an option to shoot in JPG to save space and time. It also allows you to shoot many frames and shoot longer, giving you an even more creative side when selecting the speed of your final shoot.
  6. Capturing something that moves slowly will make the time-lapse look unique.
  7. Adjust your composition a bit wider so that you can introduce zooming to create variety in your clips. Also, it will allow you to stabilize shots digitally in your post.
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