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12-31-2010, 11:15 AM   #1
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Shooting time-lapse photo questions.

Who can elaborate on time-lapse photos? Have seen a few examples but still do not have a firm clasp of the subject. The few I have seen seem to have been taken at dust or night and have a surreal feel to them that I like so would like to hear otherís spin on it. I have a K7 if that matters.


01-01-2011, 12:51 PM   #2
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In my K20D manual it's called INTERVAL SHOOTING using the internal intervalometer. Set the interval period, the number of shots, the start time, and let the camera have at it. External intervalometers are also available for shoots beyond the parameters of the internal settings.

Where you go from there depends on what you want to achieve. A video sweeping the web now has a guy in a NYC suburb set his Canon to shoot out his back window every five minutes as the recent snowstorm commenced. Twenty hours compressed into 40 seconds: watch the snow pile up in changing light.

I tried a different tack whilst driving up the Canadian Rockies to the Yukon a few years ago. My Vaio mini-notebook had an onboard webcam and software intervalometer. I put the comp on the dashboard, aimed the cam forward, had it shoot every 10 seconds, and created a video thereof. That was an idea stolen from a famous web video of long ago, filming a trans-continental drive fitted into a 3-minute song.

Another approach: Shoot portraits, heads in identical positions, of yourself or others over a period of time. Assemble those as an animation. THEN superimpose all those images into a single multi-exposure shot. Or build sets-of-5 of those superimpositions, and assemble THOSE into animations. The possibilities are endless, especially if you briefly insert various other images for a tachistoscope (subliminal) effect.

Yet another approach: I can set my K20D to Catch-In-Focus and Continuous Drive, aim the tripodded camera at a spot where I expect something to happen, and hold the shutter down. Every time something comes into focus, CLICK. A slow animation reveals all that happens there.

I'm not sure what software tools you have available. I assemble time-lapse photos into GIFs or AVIs using AnimationShop3 (which accompanied PaintShopPro7). I also use AS3 to make fake time-lapses -- shoot a several-minutes video, extract every Nth frame, then build a video or GIF with every frame displaying longer than the original duration.

Time-lapse sequences using non-standard or changing light-contrast-WB-saturation-filtration-etc will of course have a non-standard look. Keeping all those consistent, won't.

So there are a few ways to handle time-lapse shots: as straight or shooped animations; as sequences of stills; as superimposed stills; as combinations thereof. Subjects may be still (with changing light or backgrounds) or moving; the camera may be still or moving (like, zooming or circling a subject); etc. Unless you're planning for stills, you'll probably want to keep the frame size small, or building animations could take a LOT of computer time and storage.

For more, gargle for TIME-LAPSE and STOP-MOTION and ANIMATIONS. Have fun!

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