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assignment 7: time lapse

Target: Learn to shoot and create a Time-Lapse  


Directions:  Take images in locations where you have a broad and deep view far into the distance.  Choose what is included in your view for interesting composition, combining what is close and distant, and placement carefully. Set your camera to take continuous interval shots. Create a time lapse lasting from 5-10 seconds at 24fps.


Do not understimate the impact of light and time of day, and the sky, on a time lapse image. 

  • consider your composition, making thoughtful decisions

      about the arrangement of subject matter, balance, lack of 

      distractions, and general feeling of the image

  • set your aperture and shutter speed for the best possible image before beginning



  • time of day and light is essential for landscapes (dawn, dusk, fog, clouds, night, etc. will make for the most compelling images), try not to shoot mid-day

  • consider the foregroud, look for a focal point, consider using the rule of thirds

  • use a tripod

  • shoot from different points of view, get down low or change the level of your horizon, place the horizon low if you have a dramatic sky or high if the sky is boring


Suggested Timelapse Intervals:


1 second
Moving traffic
Fast moving clouds

1- 3 seconds
Slower moving clouds
Moon and sun near horizon (or telephoto)
Things photographed with a telephoto[/one_fourth]

15 – 30 seconds
Moving shadows
Sun across sky (no clouds) (wide)
Stars (15 – 60 seconds)

Decide either how long you want to shoot or how long you want the resulting video to be. You should know what frame rate the resulting video will be as well. The required interval can be calculated. See examples below:


24 FPS Example: This video will playback at 24 fps, and the desired resulting shot will compress 2 hours of time into 10 seconds of video.

  • 24 FPS x 10 seconds = 240 frames (shots).

  • 240 frames ÷ 120 minutes = 2 frames per minute or a 30 second interval.


30 FPS Example: If you know how long you want your timelapse to be and a general idea of the desired video speed, you can figure out how long you need to record for using the same math. Say we want a 10 second timelapse video at 30 frames per second with a 15 second interval speed:

  • 30 FPS x 10 seconds = 300 frames (shots).

  • 300 frames x 15 second intervals = 4500 seconds

  • 4500 seconds ÷ 60 seconds = 75 minutes


Remember, the longer the time between shots (frames) equals a greater amount of time shown transpired. In other words increasing the time between your shots will increase the speed of your time-lapse video. If you feel like the video is moving too fast, decrease the time between your shots.

Batch Edit & Save from RAW:

If you take your set of images in RAW, then open them all at once in Photoshop, select them all, and any edits you do will apply to all of them. Crop to 16x9. Then use the save images button on the bottom left of the RAW editor. Create a new folder to save them in, select the folder, choose .jpg as files extension, medium quality, and resize to fit at 640x360 pixels. Then save. 



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