A few days back I was planning to make a time lapse of clouds as it was autumn when white clouds fly all over the skies. I have a friend who is a new photographer. So I welcomed my friend to join me for doing it mutually. Initially, he refused as he had a very wrong idea about it. He said that he did not know how to do it. He also mentioned that time lapse was too tough.
By the way, I took him with me anyhow and kept him with me till the end to show him how to do time lapse. Finally, he was convinced that it was not a difficult job to learn about how to do time lapse.
Everything About “How to do Time Lapse”
Nowadays time-lapse making is very easy as there are many apps in the smartphones. These apps are even built-in features of smartphones. So, why to know about how to do time lapse with the camera? The answer is very simple. Why do you capture photos with DSLR cameras even though you have a good smartphone? Why don’t you become a photographer with smartphones? You definitely have answers against these questions.
In this article, I have explained how to do time lapse with cameras by capturing photos, and at the end, I have given a video tutorial which will show you the post-processing of these photos to bring them into a so-called time-lapse video.
What is Time Lapse Video?
Time lapse video is a video which projects a longer event within a very short time. Like from the afternoon up to the evening is quite a long time. But you may capture all the moments with many photos with a time interval between two consecutive photos and finally run them with fast speed, that means increasing the fps/ frame per second which will show the whole event within a short time. This is basically time lapse.
How to do Time Lapse?
Time-lapse is a bit long process than usual photography. This is the flow of many photographs at a certain speed. You need to follow two steps for this time lapse. The first step is taking photos and the second one is to flow them sequentially that means making a video. You need an automated system which will make your camera to take photos with a constant setting, at a certain interval of time and maintaining a constant exposure. Let us discuss those ways and means which will let us take photos automatically:
Using remote is one of the best options for taking photos for time lapse. You can set your time in the remote. Once the interval time is set, you can press the shutter. Remote is usually connected to the camera throw wire. There are also remotes which are wireless. You may also use these.
Almost all the cameras are given with software that can be installed in a computer. You can connect your camera with the computer or laptop and then you can also operate your camera using that software. In some cases, you can connect your camera with the laptop using wifi. Like the remote, you can also set the timer in the software and start capturing.
There is another interesting firmware update available which will let you shoot images for time lapse. This is called the magic lantern. If you have installed magic lantern in your camera, then you can very easily use it for taking a time lapse. In the magic lantern, there is an intervalometer which will allow you to set the time interval for taking each photo automatically.
For knowing about how to do time lapse you need to take some photos at first. But what to shoot, when to shoot and how to shoot? There are some methods of shooting photos for time lapse. However, there are some common points which must not be avoided. To know how to do time lapse you need to do very few things extra than other photography. Let’s start one by one:
For placing camera you obviously need a good tripod. Remember that you are capturing many frames for a long period. So you must ensure that your camera is mounted on a very good tripod which will ensure no movement of your camera till you finish shooting. If you are placing your tripod on the beach and wave is washing the sands beneath then change the position because with the flow of water the position of the camera will be changed. So, ensure that no movement is there in the camera.
Again, if you have set your camera on a slider which slides automatically with a constant speed then ensure that the base of that slider is rigid enough. You may also place your camera on anything which keeps your camera stable. Just make sure that your camera is not moving till the finishing.
Set your ISO according to the light present around you. It also depends on the aperture you selected and the exposure time for the photo. During the daytime, you can select ISO to the minimum range. This will keep your image sharp, and there will be no noise in the photo. However, the situation may force you to change your ISO to a higher range. Like, during the night or low light condition you may have to select a higher ISO range.
Selecting aperture is very important for any kind of photography. As we are shooting for time lapse, we will usually try to get the depth of field. So, in this case, you have to select a narrow aperture. A narrow aperture will allow getting more depth of field. Again if you want to make for a small depth of field, you may select the wider aperture.
During the low light condition or in the night time you may need to select the wider aperture to allow more light to pass through the lens. A detailed guideline is also given for selecting aperture depending on the various situation on my article ‘Everything You Need To Know About Aperture Size for Better Photography.’
There is a relation to exposure, aperture, and ISO. Usually, if we are shooting at daylight, then we can use a fast shutter speed or very short exposure. During the night we may take a slower shutter speed for allowing the sensor to take the appropriate light. If we are planning to make time lapse of the milky way, then we can take long exposure for making each frame. So, depending on the photo, we need to select the exposure duration.
Interval Between Consecutive Two Frames
What should be the time gap between two photos that to allow the camera? Well, there are a few points to be considered. For example, you are shooting a time lapse of clouds. Now, the clouds are changing their shape or position very slowly. In this case, you may take 5-10 seconds or even more gap between taking two frames. If the clouds are moving too fast, then you may decrease the time.
Again, you need to allow your camera enough time if needed to process the photo. Suppose you are shooting the stars or milky way. For each frame, you will go for long exposure. So, after taking one shot, your camera will become busy as it will be processing the image. In this case, you need to allow your camera to have a sufficient time interval thus it can process the image and get ready for capturing the next one.
Selection of Lens
Usually, we take the time lapse of sunset, movement of clouds, milky way or changing the position of the stars, movement of traffics in the busy road during the night with light trails, etc. Here, we usually want to project a vast area. So, it is better to use a wide angle lens for capturing photos for time lapse. To know how to do time lapse, you also need to know about the lense that you are using thus you can get the desired frame and photo output. However, you may take different types of the lens depending on your intention.
Amount of Frames to be Captured
For knowing how to do time lapse you really need to know the required frames which will suffice for making the desired time lapse. I recommend not to select a time length for making a time lapse. I suggest capturing the moment from the beginning to it terminates. Then you take the required amount of frames while post-processing for making the time lapse.
Too fast time lapse will require more frames. Otherwise, the total length of the time lapse will become too short. Again you may select fewer frames if you require too short length. I have captured a total of 301 frames for making a time-lapse video which has been shown in the video tutorial at the end.
Now you are done with capturing photos. Then you need to select/ create a folder in your laptop for storing all the photos. Do not keep any other images which were not shot during the process of taking the frames for making the time lapse. You need to store all the photos till the time you get the final output after post-processing otherwise you will be puzzled while selecting those.
You must ensure that the sequence of the photos is not changed in the folder. Changing sequence in the photos will jeopardize the whole thing. This a very important thing to know for learning how to do time lapse.
This is the final thing to know about how to do time lapse. Post-processing has to be done in software where you can upload all your photos, and all the photos can run with a given speed. There are plenty of apps and software for doing this. The following video tutorial will let you know about how to do time lapse using Filmora software after capturing the required photos for it.
How to do time lapse? I hope you have the answer now. Like other photographs, this photography for making a time lapse is an art. There are numerous ideas for making it. To be master on how to do time lapse you need to bring bright ideas.
Generally, the thing which takes a long time to happen is taken to make a time lapse. Never stop imagining. Your imagining will bring many bright ideas. Again, practice more, and this will make you a master about how to do time lapse. After knowing the basic rules, do not sit tight. Go outside with your camera and start shooting for a time-lapse experiment.