- Choose a subject which you would like to photograph with time lapse photography. Something which changes through a gradual process which would be interesting to view in a much shorter period of time.
- Work out the best position to shoot it from and the best time intervals at which to shoot. This could be one shot every minute, every five minutes, every hour, every three hours, every day – whatever you think would look best when you assemble the photos into a short movie. The position for each photo needs to be exactly the same.
- Take the photos at the intervals you have chosen, from the exact same spot, showing the action from beginning to end.
- Download the photos and edit them in whatever photo editing program you use.
- Use a video editing program (Quicktime Pro is perhaps the easiest) to assemble the photos into a short movie.
- You can add titling, music and special effects to the movie if you like.
- Each of these steps of time lapse photography deserves an article to explain it and to provide hints and tips as to the best way to approach it, what equipment to use for time lapse photography, how to edit the results and what software can be used to assemble the final video.
- But this gives an overview and, will, we hope, inspire you to try time lapse photography out for yourself.
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Time lapse photography is half a photographic technique and half a video technique. It usually begins with a series of still photographs taken with a still camera which are then assembled into a movie. Time lapse photography is a technique which one can use to take a series of photographs at fixed intervals of a subject which is changing over a period of time. When these photos are shown in sequence, the overall action is greatly speeded up.
You could use time lapse photography to show in a few seconds a plant growing and blooming, a process which may take place over a few days or a week. In this case you might take a series of photographs of the plant from the exact same spot, one every 6 hours (well, daylight hours anyway). Each photograph would show a stage in the plant’s growth and blooming. If you then took those photos and made them into a movie that played in thirty seconds, you would have a perfect example of time lapse photography. In those thirty seconds you could watch the plant go through a series of stages, sprouting leaves and buds and then the buds opening up and flowers appearing. Another example, quite often seen, is clouds moving across the sky. Time lapse photography greatly condenses the time in which the action takes place, so clouds which move almost imperceptibly in real life are suddenly racing dramatically across the sky. You can think up all sorts of subjects and situations which would lend themselves to this approach.
While a lot more can be said about each step of the process, the equipment that’s best for it, the software to put it together, and other aspects, here is the basic sequence:
David © Phillips is a professional writer and photographer living in Seattle, WA. You can find out more about him and his work at www.dcpcom.com.