Time Lapse, that's new, right?

Even the most seasoned photographers won’t always get it right the first time

What is time-lapse photography?

Time-lapse photography is essentially a time manipulation technique whereby a series of photos are taken of the same scene over a set period of time, at a much lower frame rate than is used to play back film. For example, an image of a scene may be captured once every second and then played back at 30 frames per second, resulting in a 30-times speed increase. The images are then processed using photo editing software, and then finally with some video editing software to create a time-lapse video. Classic examples of time-lapse photography scenes include sunrises and sunsets, plants germinating, construction sites, city traffic and even cookies baking in an oven!

What do you need for your own time-lapse?

• Camera – something as simple as a point-and-shoot camera will do, but a digital SLR camera is recommended for the best quality photos.

• Tripod – normally required unless you are planning to rest your camera on a desk or some other flat, stationary surface.

• Intervalometer – only used with digital SLR cameras, an intervalometer is an automated camera trigger: a programmable device, which is used to snap hundreds of photos at precise intervals.

• Computer – you will need to edit your photos and create your time-lapse video on one of these. PC or Mac, the choice is yours however make sure it has a good enough hardware specification for manipulating photos and videos with ease.

• Software – for editing photos, Adobe Photoshop Lightroom (available on both PC and Mac platforms), and Adobe After Effects for creating the time-lapse video (again also available for both PC and Mac) are recommended.

Getting started

Even the most seasoned photographers won’t always get it right the first time when it comes to time- lapse photography, but don’t let this put you off. The key to success here is practice and experimentation. Once you have decided what you’d like to capture, you will need to think about the interval you want to use for your scene. For example, a short interval of one second per photo would be ideal if you are going to film a street scene of people walking around, but for capturing plants germinating you’d be better off with a longer interval of 10 minutes per photo.

Camera settings: manual or automatic?

Generally, manual is best.

This applies to aperture and shutter speed, ISO, and exposure settings. If you leave any of these key settings set to automatic then you run the risk of the camera over- compensating for things, thus ruining your hard work.

Fancy effects

Once you have mastered the basic art of time-lapse photography, you could employ some special effects to make your time-lapse videos even more special:

• Panning or ”dolly time-lapse” – an effect often used by the BBC in their nature documentaries; this involves using a motorised dolly hooked up to an intervalometer.

• Tilt-shift – a technique to make objects look small by adding a blur to the video so that it looks like there is a small depth of field.

Video courtesy of - Free HD Nature Clips


http://rcosstickphoto.com/ © 2013

Robert Cosstick Photography


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    Professional location photographer, based in Surrey, UK Robert is available for shoots across the UK and Europe.

    With over 25 years industry experience focused in architectural, industrial and portrait photography, Robert Cosstick is the ideal choice for luxury architectural, high end industrial or commercial portrait photographic services.

    Offering a complete package consisting of the shoot, post processing and delivery of digital or printed media, please get in touch today for a consultation.

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    Robert Cosstick (office):
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    Client List
    Over the years Robert been commissioned by many different organisations, these are just a sample, please get in touch if you'd like to know more.

    Savills PLC

    Robert has delivered high end luxury property photography on behalf of this major industry client for a number of projects.


    Colas International Group PLC

    Ranging over a broad spectrum Robert was contracted over a large time frame to capture many prestigious projects and events, including working trackside for rail engineering shoots


    Ascent Publishing LTD

    High resolution interior and exterior shots for a feature article the magazine Period Living.


    Amec PLC

    Recording corporate events and industrial engineering.


    Amey UK PLC

    Road and rail construction project professional photographic services rendered.


    HD Marketing
    EnterpriseMouchel LTD

    Robert photographed corporate events and road construction projects for this European services company.


    London Fire Brigade

    Commercial and forensic services rendered over an extensive time frame gave Robert a broad range of experiance.


    Babcock International Group PLC

    Robert holds a PTS license and worked trackside photographic engineering projects for this major international company.


    Network Rail LTD

    Contracted to photograph Network Rail LTD's annual awards ceremony.