Sunday, April 15, 2012

Technique - Time Wizard (Making good Timelapse Footage with your DSLR)

Hello World!

IF you want to become a Time Wizard you can enter some spiritual seminars or just use your DSLR instead.

What is Timelapse?

Timelapse is Footage speed up so that time passes a lot quicker in your footage.

What do I want to use Timelapse for?     

You can show Day/Night Changes or time passing by or just show how busy a scene is. A good timelapse also makes a pretty damn good stock footage for intros/outros/documentarys

How do I make Timelapses?

If you don´t have a DSLR or want to make a short Timelapse you can just use a regular video and speed it up. However this is pretty ineficcient, uses up alot of memory space and only covers the time period of your memory card getting full/your battery draining

If you have a DSLR or ANY cam with a intervallometer in it (or software which helps you to take pictures in specific time intervalls) you use this intervallotmeter to take pictures every few seconds and cut them together  to a movie. This creates the illusion of time passing by fast.

Beforo we come to the technical Mumbo Jumbo here are some couple of general advices

Setting up the Timelapse:

If you want to set up your timelapse think of the following things:

-Before you start your timelapse ALWAYS make a number of Testshots !

-If your picture is overexposed/underexposed on your testshots think about the following things. Will it get Darker/Brighter?  If Yes: Do you want the Timelapse to cover this longer time period? If Yes you´re Set ;)

-IF you´re doing a timelapse from a place behind glass (e.g you living/hotel room, youre Glass fetish room etc.) CLEAN THAT GODDAMN GLASS!!!  It´s also important that if you´re doing a Night timelapse  to turn of every light in the room ( blinmking printers, blinking Monitors, youre Winnie Poo don´t be scard sleeping lights etc.) or else you´ll have a couple of nasty reflections covering your window (and youre timelapse...)

Technical Mumbo Jumbo:

-Set your camera to Manual Focus and Focus your Subjet Manually DO NOT use Autofocus!!!

-DO NOT set your cam to automatic  Mode!  Set the Exposure,Iso,Shutter Speed, and White Balance to specific values!!!!

-Think about the place you wan´t to place your camera to you don´t want to get it wet/dirty/kickedofbyaidiotwhowalksby [yes thats a adjektive (at least in my english :P)]

If you DON´T Follow any of this Steps you´ll get Footage like this...


As you may have noticed there are some ugly "light- jumps"  as well as some Movements...

This happened because I had my cam set to auto ISO and my Auto Focus moved my Tripod just a little bit but still noticable...

After I corrected my mistakes my second timelapse was much smoother:


Back to the topic:

Where should I put my Cam if I want to make a good timelapse?

There isn´t a specific place where you MUST place your cam,


Try out different angles, there is no "right way" if anyone tells you that there is he is a complete moron!

What is this intervallometer thingy you talk about? Where can I get one?

There are several ways to use a intervallometer with your CANON DSLR (Sorry I have no expirience using cams from other brands). The easiest but also most expensive way is the one of using a  Timer Remote for your DSLR unfortunately this Bad-Boys kost about 80-150 € and I find them quite expensive....(if you find some cheaper ones feel free to comment with a link)

But don´t worry there are other ways to do a timelapse with your CANON DSLR :) Canon gives you the so Called Canon EOS Utility a nice Programm which you can install on a laptop. The Programm has an Intervallometer built into it so you can do timelapse footage with it as long as you keep carrying your laptop + usb cord+ DSLR with you. As you may agree with me this is a quite inefficient way to do a timelapse so I have one final solution for you folks. Magic Lantern!
Magic Lantern is a custom firmware for DSLRs which I will Disscuss in later topics. However even tough this custom firmware give you the ability to do a timelapse with your DSLR (and many other nifty things) without any other devices and is completely free it isn´t a official firmware so you´ll always have the possibility of bricking your DSLR. I personally use Magic Lantern but if you want to use it you do it on your own risk!

If You follow all of this steps theres just one rule left which I already have mentioned earlier


Try to use  a variety of exposure times, angles, etc.

Here is another Timelapse I  made :)

And of course even tough this article gives you the basics for doing a timelapse there is no "right" way of doing a timelapse as well as there is no "right" way for making film. These are just basic tips so that you can get started to do a timelapse :)

Giora Khen

Disclaimer: Use my Tipps at your own risk. If you´re doing any harm to your DSLR while doing my "tricks you´re responsible for the harm!

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