How to do a Timelapse on a Digital Camera

Timelapse photography is a tried-and-true creative technique used the world over by advanced shutterbugs. How to do a timelapse on a top rated digital camera? Keep reading to find out.

KEY TAKEAWAYS:

  • Timelapse photography is a technique by which an artist creates a video sourced from multiple images taken at the same spot but at different time intervals.
  • To begin a timelapse, make sure your camera has a dedicated timelapse setting or that you own a timer remote, otherwise known as an intervalometer.
  • Be sure to set the interval before you begin according to aesthetic preference

What is a Timelapse?

A timelapse is a video, of sorts, that uses a number of different still images taken at different time intervals. These intervals can be set to just about any time you want, so feel free to experiment.

Insider Tip

A timelapse is a video, of sorts, that uses a number of different still images taken at different time intervals.

Why Do a Timelapse Photo?

In short? Timelapse videos are cool, making them a go-to for creative photographers and budding videographers. You can show the passage of time, such as when certain artists created a timelapse made from one still image each day throughout a year or even longer in some cases.

How to do a Timelapse on a Digital Camera?

There are multiple ways to create a timelapse, though the exact methodology will depend on the make and model of your digital camera. Still, we have created this list of general guidelines to adopt to make sure you get a stunning timelapse. Understandably, you may not get everything right on your first attempt, and that’s why it is crucial to learn how to delete photos from your digital camera to remove poor-quality images after every trial, until you perfect this technique.

Insider Tip

Another tool you will most definitely need is a tripod.

Some Tools You Might Need

Depending on the age of your camera, you may need something called an intervalometer, sometimes referred to as a timer remote. This device will manually activate the shutter according to pre-determined time intervals. Of course, many modern DSLR cameras will have a dedicated timelapse function in the settings that will do this as a matter of course. Read the instructions before attempting a timelapse.

Another tool you will most definitely need is a tripod. You will want the timelapse to appear seamless, so you will need the camera to be in the same exact spot for each image. Above all, you need to learn how to do depth of field on a digital camera to ensure you capture great images.

Choose the Interval

No matter if you are using a timer remote or your camera’s built-in timelapse function, you will have to choose the interval. This will depend on personal preference and what you are going for. Looking to capture the growth of body hair? Set the interval to once per day. Looking to capture the sun rising and setting? Set the interval to once every ten minutes or so. The sky is the limit here.

Multiple Timelapses

A lot can go wrong during a timelapse, as they involve a camera sitting for long periods of time. Double the chances of success by taking two time-lapses at once. You will need two cameras for this, but the results may be worth it.

Warning

Depending on the age of your camera, you may need something called an intervalometer, sometimes referred to as a timer remote.

F.A.Q.

What is timelapse photography used for?

Anytime you want to create a short video from still images, timelapse photography is a great option. Think of cars passing through a busy highway or a flower blooming.


What is the best shutter speed for a timelapse?

There is no universally accepted “best” shutter speed, but a good rule of thumb is to double your frame rate. In other words, if you are shooting at 25FPS, go for a shutter speed of 1/50.


How many photos do I need for a timelapse?

Again, there is no hard and fast rule here but the more the merrier. For a ten to 15 second clip, go with 300 to 450 still images.



STAT: In 2018, the International Space Station released the longest continuous timelapse video ever recorded in space. It orbited the Earth twice before stopping. (source)

Lawrence Bonk

Lawrence Bonk is a copywriter with a decade of experience in the tech space, with columns appearing in Engadget, Huffington Post and CBS, among others. He has a cat named Cinnamon.

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