Tips to Make a Time Lapse Video

In recent years, time-lapse videos have infiltrated nearly every medium of media, including our social media apps, thanks to the invention of the hyper-lapse. These videos can be challenging to create, particularly given the time constraints of capturing and compressing a long event into a few seconds of footage. 

They can also be some of the most captivating and breathtaking videos you’ll ever see. Time-lapse videography is entertaining, educational, and simple to master. The key is to be in an environment where nature is in full bloom. It can take a few tries to get exactly what you want, but the effort will be well worth it if that elusive flash of light and color appears during your shot. Here are some tricks to help you capture even better time-lapse images and videos.

Shooting Time Lapse Videos: Tips and Tricks

Some of the simple steps I use to get time-lapse shots are revealed in this video tutorial. Since the dawn of cinema, filmmakers have been tinkering with screen time, often by slowing down events. To contrast with the super slow exposure times of time lapses, this video includes two examples: “bullet time” and 720fps. We have many resources at our hands, and speeding up or slowing down can have drastic results. Consider the incredible insights gained by scientists as a result of time-lapse photography.

1) Pick an interesting and engaging topic

The following are the first questions you can ask yourself:

  • What am I hoping to capture?
  • What and how do I want to represent?

Choose a subject – and the subsequent framing – that can be considered fascinating and, more importantly, that tells a story that would be barely visible to the naked eye in natural conditions while using the time-lapse technique.

For instance, photographing moving clouds is very academic, which is ideal for your first time-lapse attempt. However, if you do not compose a shot with things that stand out against the backdrop, this may be very boring to watch. Choose to obey standard photographic composition principles, as they apply to the production of a successful time-lapse scene as well. 

2) Work in Manual Mode 

Shooting in manual mode is a good place to start for high-quality time-lapse footage. This not only gives you more control over the final image’s appearance, but it also eliminates issues like flicker, which occurs when the camera changes the exposure in the middle of a shoot. Manual video creation is the perfect video tip for your time-lapse.

Another useful tip here is to pay attention to the shutter speed: while time-lapse videos aren’t required to adhere to the 180° shutter rule of traditional filmmaking, it’s still a good rule to obey if you can. Holding the exposure time to at least half of your interval time will help smooth out motion. There are often exceptions to the law, so feel free to skip it if you prefer sharper, staccato movement or want to display even more motion blur.

3) Secure Your Tripod to Prevent Camera Movement

A time-lapse can be ruined by some accidental movement, even the tiniest camera shake. It’s important to not only lock down your tripod but also add some extra weight to keep it from moving due to wind or weather. A carabiner is used to secure a sandbag to the tripod. In the event of inclement weather, you can also use a rope to secure your tripod to the ground.

Following that, you can change the tripod legs to achieve a straight and beautiful shot. This can be done in post-production, but why bother when you can spend a few minutes more before shooting and get it right the first time?

4) Polarizing ND Filters should be used

If you want to shoot a time-lapse during the day, make sure you have a polarizer on your lens. You should also prepare for exposure when the sun is at its brightest, so don’t be afraid to underexpose footage shot earlier in the day.

5) Choose the best shooting format: RAW, JPG, or both?

When you shoot in RAW, your camera creates high-resolution images that take up a lot of memory card space. Instead, the JPG format would save more than 60% of the occupied room, allowing you to take far more pictures on the same card than you would be able to save in RAW.

If you plan to do serious post-production after shooting, such as emulating the use of a motorized rail (dolly), shooting in RAW might be the best option for you.

6) Use Live View

If you have a recent DSLR, you might be able to use live view (i.e., a view of the scene on the camera’s outside screen): this is something you should consider doing because it is very useful. Sharpen the exact area you’re interested in – on the Canon 7D, for example, use the two small buttons on the top right of the zoom to pick precisely. Unplug your lens’s AF focus and set it to manual focus until you’ve found the right focus.

This way, you won’t waste battery by focusing on every frame, and you won’t have to worry about your camera choosing what to concentrate on shot by shot – a bad habit to get into! Make a few test shots and note the settings (aperture and shutter speed) that the automatic system can recommend.

7) Keep an eye out for any foreign objects on the lens

Keep an eye on the lens during the shoot for any debris or foreign objects. If you have to clear the debris, try to avoid removing the filter or adjusting the camera. It’s useful to have a camera duster or can of compressed air on hand at times like this.

8) Set the Interval

You’ll need to use various times and periods depending on the subject you want to photograph. There are no hard and fast rules to follow; instead, follow recommendations based on common sense and field experience. We believe that TV videos are broadcast at a rate of around 25 frames per second on average. For movies seen on Full HD 1080p TVs, this value is doubled, but let’s stick with the first option, which means that every second of the video needs 25 frames.

In time-lapse photography, one frame is the same as a photograph. You’ll need 250 photographs to make a 10-second video. A minute of time-lapse photography necessitates approximately 1,500 shots. It is, however, simple to determine how long it will take to complete the desired sequence. If you take one frame every four seconds, processing our ten-second time-lapse video would take 250 x 4 = 1000 seconds or 16.6 minutes.

9) Choose music upfront

Integrating music into such videos can lead to a much more interesting product. That said, the music you add should match the content. For instance, a dramatic, up-tempo click would be ideal for a video featuring a thunderstorm. For slower-moving footage, a quieter, more serene audio clip would be ideal. As you make a time-lapse video, select the music first – it could help set the stage for the shoot. For sourcing royalty-free and licensed music, check out platforms like StoryBlocks. Platforms like these are cost-effective and offer excellent licensing terms to creators looking to source audio for their video-based projects.

10) Think In FPS 

When it comes to the time lapse interval, always think in FPS (frames per second). In other word,s yo should factor the speed of the subject into account when making a time lapse. One to three seconds are enough for a faster movement, as fast objects and a wide space between each image in will look as if it’s skipping. In contrast, you can capture slower movement for a longer interval – up to 30 seconds – without looking jumpy. Also, for low-light settings – make sure to increase the ISO if you’re shooting with a light-sensitive camera (though be ready for a grainer result).

Required Equipment for perfect Video

  • CSC or DSLR camera- Any camera that can shoot in manual mode will suffice.
  • A lens-Any lens would suffice, but it all depends on the subject matter. I typically use lenses with focal lengths ranging from 14mm to 200mm.
  • Tripod- What you need is a sturdy tripod that won’t fly down.
  • An intervalometer- An intervalometer is needed so that your camera can take continuous shots without your intervention. These are now integrated into several cameras.

Final thoughts

It’s easy to get addicted to time-lapse photography, and being able to add motion to your still images just adds to your photographic abilities.

It will take some time to remember what you need to make the shots work, but with practice and time, you will be able to set up your shots easily. Your chances of getting the shot you want should improve if you follow the advice we’ve provided.