Speed up time by shooting and editing a sunset time-lapse movie
|THE MISSION Shoot a sequence of images and turn them into a time-lapse movie|
|Time needed Shooting time plus two hours editing|
|Skill level Intermediate|
|Kit needed Intervalometer (or built-in interval shooting) * Tripod * Time-lapse software|
Time-lapse movies are a great way of recording the passing of time, by compressing an event that takes place over hours or even days - such as the movement of clouds across the sky, or day turning into night - into minutes.
Time-lapse photography essentially enables you to create a flip-book style video, by shooting images over a set period and then playing them back at movie frame rates. As videos are shot at a frame rate of at least 24 frames per second, we need to shoot a lot of images to create a movie of useful length - for just a one-minute video at 24fps, for example, you'll need 1,440 images!
To capture the images we need to set our camera up to shoot at set intervals - so if we wanted to capture those 1,440 images over a period of two hours we'd need a photo every five seconds. Some cameras, like the EOS 7D Mk II, include an interval timer that will do this automatically; if your camera doesn't have this feature you'll need a remote with an interval shooting setting, or a dedicated intervalometer.
We've used spot metering to keep the exposure consistent for our shots of the setting sun; it's advisable to keep an eye on your exposures, and use exposure compensation if necessary. We're using Lightroom 5 to create our time-lapse movie; you can also use Photoshop CS6/CC, or one of the many free time-lapse programs that are available.
PREPARATION PLAN YOUR SHOOT
Things to check before heading out to capture your time-lapse images
01 COME RAIN OR SHINE
02 FOLLOW THE SUN
03 CHARGE YOUR BATTERY
04 PREPARE FOR THE WORST
ESSENTIAL KIT EVERYTHING YOU NEED FOR A PERFECT TIME-LAPSE
02 INTERVAL REMOTE
03 GRAD FILTER
04 MEMORY CARD
SHOOTING TECHNIQUE HOW TO CAPTURE YOUR IMAGES
How to shoot a sequence of images that can be easily combined to create a smooth-running movie
01 ACCURATE POSITIONING
02 ROCK SOLID
03 CHECK YOUR CAPACITY
As a time-lapse video will be viewed on-screen, we don't need ultra-high resolution images. Shoot JPEGs or low-resolution Raw files depending on your camera and card capacity - ensure you have enough space.
04 EXPOSURE SETTINGS
05 COVER THE VIEWFINDER
During long exposures the viewfinder can leak light and affect metering or cause blemished images. You won't need to use the viewfinder once set up, so cover it using the cap on your lens strap or with some tape.
06 TIMING IS EVERYTHING
Calculate how many images you'll need and how long you're shooting for, and set the interval timer accordingly. We set our remote to shoot every five seconds for just over an hour, giving us 800 images.
We've used a Hama Timer Remote Shutter Release, which connects to your DSLR via a cable. The Hama remote features all of the shooting modes found in your camera along the bottom of its screen, plus, at the top of the screen, additional Delay and Interval Shooting options. Use the arrow keys to move between the functions, and the centre button to select them. Use the same controls to set the interval time, and press the play/stop button to begin shooting.
TIME-LAPSE TREATMENT TIMELY SUBJECTS
You can make time-lapse movies of all kinds of subjects and scenes…
01 OPENING FLOWERS
This popular time-lapse can take up to a week to shoot, depending on the flower. You'll need to set up your shoot in a quiet space with no air currents to prevent the flowers moving around; placing the stems in florist's foam will help to keep them still. The lighting needs to be constant too.
02 DECAYING FOOD
The timescale for this will vary depending on the food - you can save time by buying fresh food, such as fruit or bread, that's close to its sell-by date. As with flowers, set up the shoot with constant lighting in a location where the camera can be left in place for several days.
03 DAY-TO-NIGHT CITY SCENE
Another popular choice for time-lapse photography is a bustling city - as with our sunset this requires images shot at shorter intervals over a shorter period. Shoot from a high vantage point, use Manual shooting mode, and use Auto ISO to balance the exposures.
EDITING CREATE YOUR TIME-LAPSE MOVIE
How to edit your time-lapse sequence and turn it into a video using Lightroom 5
To create a time-lapse using Lightroom 5 you first need to download Adobe's free time-lapse templates from the 'LRBplugins' website: http://lrbplugins.com/shop/presets/lrb-timelapse-presetstemplates. In the LRB Timelapse folder there will be two further folders - you need 'Slideshow Templates> User Templates'. This folder includes options for a variety of frame rates per second, enabling you to choose how quickly your images are played back.
CREATE A COLLECTION
EDIT YOUR IMAGES
FILTER YOUR IMAGES
IMPORT YOUR TEMPLATE
EXPORT YOUR MOVIE