Timelapse technique

What exactly is the timelapse technique? Timelapse literally means the passage of time. In the film, this technique allows you to see processes too slow for the human eye. Each of you has seen footage where you see moving stars, clouds, sun, etc. Probably you wondered how such a beautiful shot was made.

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There are two ways to get this type of footage. The first, most obvious, is simply a long recorded film, speeded up in post-production. But who would like to collect films lasting e.g. 3 hours? Apart from the size of the file, there is not a camera on the market that would be able record the Milky Way at night. The second method, which is an often used timelapse technique, is made of pictures, taken in a specific time interval.

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You put the camera on a solid tripod (while taking pictures, the camera cannot move), than you take pictures e.g. every 6 seconds for 100 minutes. In this way you will get 10 images per minute and 1,000 photos after 100 minutes. A second of a film consists usually 25 frames, dividing 1,000 by 25 you get a 40-second video, showing e.g. a sunrise. Because of the fact that you have six seconds between the shots, you can set the exposure time to 6 seconds for each frame, which will give you better results in low light conditions (at night). The question is, how will the camera make the pictures automatically every 6 seconds?

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Well, some cameras have a built-in feature where you can choose the interval period and how long the camera will shoot. You can find this feature in the popular GoPro. If not, then you need to buy an external devices that you connect to the camera and it triggers the shutter automatically. What do you need to do next with the pictures? Put it first to a photo post-processing program, work on one photo and then save the pattern to all the rest. After that, make a sequence of all the images in a movie post-processing program and choose the speed of the timelapse, render, and voila, you have a finished movie. For the timelapse technique, you can also use a motorized camera dolly, a motorized head or a camera jib arm, which allows you to give movement to the camera. We value this technique very much and use it often in our productions.

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