February 10, 2018

Watch: 5 Essential Tips for Capturing Great Timelapses

Take your timelapse game to the next level.

We all want to be able to shoot dynamic, beautiful, and all-around bomb ass timelapses, but some of us may not know the techniques and equipment required to do so. Luckily, the entire process is really not that complicated, especially if you have an excellent resource that walks you through it. In this video from Pond5, you'll get to learn everything you need to know in order to prepare, shoot, and edit your best timelapse ever. Check it out below:

Get the right gear

Of course, you're going to need a camera, but preferably yours allows you to manually control settings like frame rate, aperture, shutter speed, etc. If you're shooting on a DSLR, you're good to go, but if you're shooting with a smartphone, you may need an app like FiLMiC Pro to give you more control. You're also going to need a sturdy stabilizer that keeps your camera completely still while it captures your timelapse, a neutral density filter so you can have more control over your exposure, a memory card with plenty of space, and finally, an intervalometer that will capture images at a specific interval so you don't have to do it manually. (The less you have to touch your camera during your timelapse, the better.)

Calculate your shots

If you're wanting to do a timelapse of waves, traffic, or anything that doesn't require a whole lot of time to shoot, you can use this formula to calculate the number of shots you're going to need to capture: (frame rate) x (seconds of footage) = (total number of frames)

However, for day-to-night timelapses or anything that takes a significant amount of time, you'll want to use this: (shoot time in seconds) ÷ (number of frames) = interval in seconds)

Choose your settings

Your camera's brain means well, but its constant image recalibration is going to make a mess of your timelapse. This is why you need to manually set your focus, ISO, white balance, aperture, and shutter speed to avoid any flickering or unwanted aesthetic that your camera might pick for you. It's also important to go manual in case lighting or weather changes require you to change any of these settings.

Add motion (if you want)

You'll want to keep your camera locked down during a timelapse, unless you've got a sweet rig that will move your camera ever so slowly over the course of your long shoot. These shots are obviously amazing if you have the right gear, but if you don't, you can always add a little movement by cropping into your images and panning. Just keep those pans subtle or risk making them look kind of (really) cheesy.

Shoot the damn thing

Find an awesome subject, choose an interesting angle, and go for it! You'll probably want to take a few test shots before starting just to make sure that your images will come out the way you want them to. The last thing you want is to import all of your images at home to find out that you just spent 6 hours recording a shit timelapse.

What are some other things to consider when shooting a timelapse? Let us know down in the comments.      

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