You don't have to spend much time searching to find time-lapse videos on the good-old Internet these days. There are thousands of them out there, ranging from beautifully choreographed astronomy and nature sequences to random videos of just about anything someone with a DSLR or smartphone finds amusing. To be brutally honest, a very small percentage of those thousands of videos are actually worth watching. If that sounds harsh, I'll simply suggest that you spend an hour or so on YouTube and see if you don't agree.
So, with every Tom, Dick and Fido out there building time-lapse sequences of everything under the sun (and moon), are we simply seeing the buildup of another fad that's going to run its course and go away? Surprisingly, I don't think so. To begin with, time-lapse videos have been part of the photography industry for longer than many people realize. The difference is that the expensive equipment and expertise required made it a professional-level undertaking until recently.
Secondly, consider what's happened with HDR photography. When auto-bracketing and affordable merging and tone mapping software hit the streets, so did every guy or gal with a camera and it wasn't long before the web was full of overcooked, poorly mapped, surreal images, some of which were actually disorienting. Still, the popularity of good high dynamic range images has endured and many photographers have built very successful businesses based on them.
Third, the very fact that it's easier to create these videos is a very good thing for the industry. Yes, it means that there are going to be thousands of people creating them. While the majority of those people will simply be entertaining people in one way or another on YouTube, there will be a handful of artists and innovators who will deliver presentations that raise the bar for the rest of us.
I expect to see very amazing things happen in this genre, largely because many of these artists now have access to affordable, innovative technology like the amazing gear available from Revolve. They've made it possible for “average Joes” like us to create high-quality time lapse sequences with smooth, controlled camera movement, curved paths, tracking and much more, without emptying the bank account. There's some great stuff out there made with their equipment and I suspect it's only going to get better.
Last, but not least, this boom in the industry means a stronger market for the products. Advertisers, realtors, car manufacturers and many more buyers are taking notice of the popularity of time-lapse videos. Stock agencies specializing in the videos already exist and the demand for this type of work is growing.
In conclusion, it's my opinion that the time-lapse video genre is here to stay. Personally, I'm anxious to play with the new “toys” available and I'm looking forward to wasting some hours watching the really good ones. Meanwhile, I see a great sunset coming and I think I'm going to go hook up my intervalometer!