Time Lapse: user manual

Time Lapse is a seductive and captivating photography technique that allows you to create unique and impressive videos. By using this method, you can give the viewer a sense of time acceleration while highlighting certain elements or movements in the scene. In this article, we will explore the different steps to succeed in your Time Lapse videos.

Choosing the right camera and manual mode for a successful time lapse

To create a Time Lapse, you must first choose a camera suitable for this type of photography. If you are a beginner, opt for a simple and easy-to-use camera. For those with more experience, a camera with advanced features may be necessary to achieve the best results.

Regardless of your level, it is essential to master the manual mode of your camera. In this mode, you have full control over settings such as exposure, ISO sensitivity, shutter speed, and aperture.

This will allow you to obtain perfectly exposed and consistent photos throughout your Time Lapse.

As a reminder:

  • Exposure is the amount of light that reaches your camera's sensor, determining how bright or dark your photo will be. Exposure is influenced by three factors: ISO sensitivity, shutter speed, and aperture.
  • ISO sensitivity is the ability of your camera's sensor to capture light.
  • Shutter speed is the duration during which light is allowed to reach the sensor.
  • Aperture is the size of the camera lens opening through which light enters.

By carefully adjusting these four parameters, you can achieve perfect exposure for each scene you want to photograph.

Read: How to use the exposure triangle?

Planning and preparing for the shoot

Once you have mastered your camera, it's time to plan and prepare for your shoot.

Start by choosing the subject of your Time Lapse. Think of elements that evolve slowly or quickly over time, such as clouds, traffic, or the growth of a plant.

Next, identify the best location to set up your camera. Consider the angle of view, distance, and height relative to your subject.

Don't hesitate to try different framings to find the ideal composition.

Time lapse mode d'emploi

Tripod and accessories

It is important to stabilize your camera when shooting a Time Lapse.

Use a sturdy and stable tripod to avoid any vibrations (due to wind, for example) or unwanted movement.

Also, make sure to have an interval trigger (also called intervalometer) that will allow you to automatically take photos at regular intervals.

Camera settings and adjustments for the time lapse

To succeed in your Time Lapse, it is crucial to properly adjust your camera settings.

Here are some tips to help you.

Exposure and ISO sensitivity

Adjust the exposure according to the scene's brightness and choose a suitable shutter speed to obtain a sharp image.

In general, it is recommended to use a low ISO sensitivity to minimize digital noise in your photos.

Intervals and number of photos

Determine the interval between each photo based on the subject and the desired duration for your Time Lapse. For example, for a sunset, you can choose an interval of 10 to 20 seconds.

Also, consider the total number of photos needed to achieve a video of sufficient length.

If you want 25 frames per second of video, and you want to create a 10-second time lapse of a sunset, you will need 250 photos. At a rate of one photo every 20 seconds, this represents 1 hour and 23 minutes of shooting.

Focusing and depth of field

Make sure to focus accurately on your subject and choose an appropriate aperture to achieve a depth of field suitable for the scene.

Remember to disable autofocus on your camera to avoid any focus changes during the Time Lapse.

Assembling photos and creating the time lapse video

Once all the photos are taken, it's time to assemble them to create your Time Lapse video.

Several software options are available for this, such as Adobe Premiere Pro, Final Cut Pro, or even free applications like Time-Lapse Tool.

Import your photos into the software, set the duration of each image (usually between 24 and 30 frames per second), and adjust the rendering settings according to your preferences.

You can also add effects, like zooming or panning, to further enhance your Time Lapse.

Editing and retouching

To achieve a professional result, it may be necessary to retouch your photos before assembling them. Use an image editing software like Adobe Lightroom or Photoshop to adjust exposure, contrast, saturation, and other settings to get perfectly balanced images.

If your video is intended for the internet, you will need to properly export your video for YouTube or Vimeo.

By following these simple steps, you will be able to create stunning Time Lapse videos that will surely captivate your audience. So don't hesitate to experiment, learn, and most importantly, have fun!