Beginner's Guide to Shooting DSLR Timelapse Part 2: Story, Scheduling, and Scouting

Learning to shoot timelapse videos on a DSLR can be quite daunting at first, but Preston Kanak, a frequent contributor to Philip Bloom’s site, has already produced a couple great videos giving an introduction to shooting timelapse on DSLRs. His ultimate goal is to create a series of videos and release one each month that details a bit about producing a timelapse video and what exactly goes into the process. If you happened to miss either the introduction or part 1, or you want to skip right ahead to part 2, click through to check them out.

From Preston's website:

Here's the introduction to Part 2:

Pre-production is by far the most important part of the process for not only time-lapse photography but film-making as a whole. By being prepared from the beginning and by having a well laid out plan, production & post-production will ALWAYS go way smoother. There are a few specific areas that I will be investigating as part of the pre-production phase. I will be covering:

• Story
• Scheduling
• Scouting

What I want to do with this video is give you a few tips that will hopefully help your shooting experience go smoother. To help with this process, I will be producing a new short at the same time and use it as a real world example showcasing my workflow.

Part 2 is about much more than timelapse; it's really a brief introduction to filmmaking in general. If you're going to be making a film of any kind, these are some of the basic components you will most likely encounter. Timelapses are almost considered a cliche in many circles, but if used in the right context, I think it can be a very effective way of telling a particular story or showing off a particular location.

You can also use the technique to show an extreme passage of time. One of my favorite uses recently was in David Fincher's Academy Award-nominated film The Social Network, where a timelapse introduced San Francisco during the day and then transitioned to the nightlife in one spectacular shot.

If you'd like to see a recap of the information from the video, Preston has a transcript over on his site, where you can also check out additional information.


Your Comment


Great share, thanks Joe.

November 12, 2012 at 4:37PM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM

David S.

Your step-by-step procedure is wonderful. The KISS method is best......I see you follow this gospel.

November 15, 2012 at 3:04PM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM

Harry Kemball

LOCATION has been the worst possible nightmare I've been through in the past year for a 3,000.00 no budget SIZZLE REEL MOVIE TRAILER I've been putting together. I cannot believe how tough it's been to find a simple, no set warehouse floor area for one scene and an abandoned building for MOS chase and search scenes for very small cast, crew and low-light shadows shots. I happen to be close to SALINAS-MONTEREY-CARMEL CALIFORNIA. And every contact I've made assumes I've got lots of money. So there's been too much b.s. But, you just keep at it...because the script's solid as a genre movie and can be done successfully for a low, indie budget.

November 15, 2012 at 11:52PM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM


dynamite clips!!!

November 29, 2012 at 4:43PM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM

Laura Daniell

Love how details you lay out the info. thx!

December 15, 2013 at 8:37PM, Edited September 4, 8:45AM