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Time Lapse Photography
Timelapse Tutorial

Taking Time Lapse Photography - Part 2

Taking a time-lapse

Doing any time-lapse outdoors security is paramount, so keep an eye on your equipment at all times. As you are likely to be in one spot for a while, make sure you are in a location where you are safe and is tolerant of cameras. You need check where you are pointing the camera as some places such as military bases, shopping centres may not allow photography.

If your camera doesn't have an interval timer you can still record a time-lapse, it just means you have to manually press the shutter preferably using a remote control to prevent moving the camera, the time-lapse of a Rangoli being made here... was done this way. If you do not have a remote control you can use the camera timer on its shortest setting.

The other way to time-lapse is where you set the interval timer, for example to show a flower opening.

Taking a time-lapseFirst you need some flowers, the best place is to get them from a supermarket or garden centre. You need to set the plant up in a room that is not going to be disturbed. You will need to set up artificial lights as a light source and they should give consistent lighting throughout the duration of the time-lapse. They do not need to be powerful as the exposure can compensate for this, the plants will not benefit from the light source as the type of lighting is not for growth, so choosing a flower that has the energy stored and flowering is imminent is important. Make sure the heat of the lamps does not get too hot for the plant. It is worth putting in a backdrop either of cloth or card for a neutral background.

Time needs to be spent setting the camera as follows:

Set the tripod up securely and in a place where it will not be moved or knocked over. Attach the camera to your tripod selecting either landscape or portrait, making sure if possible that the camera battery can be removed. If your camera can charge from a main supply using its own charger then use this. Make sure the memory card is formatted and has enough memory for the amount of shots, adjust the jpeg setting to lower quality to make sure you have enough. Doing this will also help when you put the sequence together in the computer as you may find if you have many images on higher resolution, the computer can take longer to process the large file size.

Taking a time-lapse - camera settingsCamera settings
Exposure and shutter speed; the higher the f stop the more Depth of Field you will get and helps to keep the subject in focus. You can elect to use manual focus and decide where the final point of flowering will be. The exposure needs to be set on the flower and not the background, as the flower opens the exposure level will change particularly if is a light coloured flower, if you are not careful the petals will be overexposed.

Taking a time-lapse - camera settingsYou will need to check your white balance and adjust for the lighting you are using. The settings shown on the photo right are: Camera is on manual, white balance on tungston, ISO is 50, jpeg quality is low (sS) speed 1/4 second, aperture F8.0 and memory card can hold 6390 images.

You now need to position the camera on where you think the flowering is going to happen, this is not easy and so you need to make sure there is enough space in the LCD or viewfinder for flowering.

Once you have set the camera, if it has a custom function setting now is the time to use it, all the setting can be saved and mean that you have them in case of any problem, especially useful if you have zoomed using a compact camera.

Taking a time-lapse - camera settingsNow set the Intervalometer or Interval timer, you will need to experiment on time, I would suggest starting on say 15mins, it helps if you are about for a few hours to check on progress, if the flower begins to open alter the timer to less minutes. There is no fast rule here and I have gone out and when returned the flower has opened fully and playing back the shots the speed the flower opens is too quick.

Taking a time-lapse - camera settingsPeriodically check the rate and alter until you are confident it is the correct time. if you check our time-lapse page here... all have the time for flowers opening. Photo right the Interval time is set for 5 min and will take 100 shots (its maximum) which will last 10hrs, if you are leaving the camera for long periods make sure you have enough shots.

Once the flower has opened, you preview the shots and this should give you some idea of how well it has worked. If you are pleased with the results it is time to load into your computer.

Timelapse Tutorial
Part 1 - What is time-lapse photography
Part 2 - Taking time-lapse photography
Part 3 - Making a time-lapse film

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