This is part 2 of a series on timelapse photography.

When it comes to time-lapse, the primary objective is to get a great exposure in the camera. Revisit the Exposure Triangle, so you balance out the aperture, the ISO, and the shutter speed. This’ll give you a proper exposure in camera. More importantly though, you need that exposure to not change over time. So you’re going to need to learn to shoot manual. So that the camera doesn’t adapt. If you’ve got a camera in automatic mode, the exposure’s going to vary as the camera tries to compensate for changes in the light. You in fact want to see those changes in the light, so you need to shoot manual, and make sure that it’s properly exposed as close as possible in the camera.

TL3Besides that, you also need to get a shot that’s absolutely stable. You need to make sure that the camera provides a constant point of reference with minimal movement and no unnecessary vibrations or adjustments. A question a lot of folks ask when they first come to Time-lapse video, or your clients may be wondering is, if you’re making video, why aren’t you using a video camera? Well, the thing is, is that when it comes to Time-lapse, you want to take advantage of the benefits of shooting stills.

TL4Remember, a video file really is just a bunch of sequential images, strung together. And because of a concept called persistence of vision, when your brain sees those images playing back, it detects motion. Now, that motion looks really cool when it’s Time-lapse, and you could do that with a video camera. The challenge is, is that video cameras are very low resolution, and they have things like fixed shutter speeds.This makes it difficult to often get a proper exposure or to do artistic things, like streaking clouds or elongated light trails on the back of a car. Time-lapse, let’s you take all the advantages of still camera shooting and apply them to the creation of a video file. So, you can use all the advance features, the ability to shoot and incredible high resolution video file. We’re not talking 4K, we’re talking 20k. You can do incredible resolutions allowing you to zooms and pans across the image.

TL5You can do incredible re-sizes and punch in on the action for the best part. Essentially, cropping video after the fact. And you could also do something that’s really, really cool. That is shooting RAW. Now, of course, there is RAW video format out there these days. It’s often fairly expensive, and not as accessible as people would like. Shooting Time-lapse in RAW gives you all the benefits. The ability to recover the skies, and do all sorts of great things. To do this though, you’re going to need a lot of frames.

Frame Rate Options:

  • 60 fps (59.94 fps) Not a common format used for delivery.
  • 30 fps (really 29.97 fps) The most common frame rate for broadcast in the U.S. and Japan (those following the NTSC standard).
  • 25 fps The common frame rate of video used in Europe and around the world that use the PAL standard.
  • 24 fps (23.98 fps)  A rate that closely matches that of film

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