These days cameras are shipped to the public domain with tonnes of functions. Most of these functions are based on old concepts that implement photography rules.
One of these functions that I would like to explore is time lapse photography. What is time lapse photography, you ask?
Here is an example that I shot with the Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX100 – Cartwright Hall, Bradford.
Time lapse photography is a way where you record the frequency at which film frames are captured or recorded, known as the frame rate – which is much lower than that used to view the sequence. Hence, when played at the normal speed, time appears to be moving faster and then given the concept of time lapse.
If you can fast forward a film, why bother with the time lapse photography?
I have listed below pros and cons for both methods in simple terms.
Fast forward method.
To get a fast-forward shot, you would shoot at your normal frame rate and then speed up the playback in your video editor. So if you’re shooting at 30 fps (frames per second), you’re going to get all 30 of those frames to use. I see this effect used by a lot of people people when they want to speed through a section and then return to normal speed or even go to slow motion in the same shot. Shooting at a full frame rate (or even higher, like at 60 fps) will give you those options. Some also use this method because it allows them to capture audio while they’re shooting that they can use under their video.
The downside is that you’ll be using a lot more memory shooting this way, so your final video may only cover a relatively short period of “real” time. For example, if your memory may only hold an hour of video, that’s all you’ll have to work with for your video. If you want to shoot a full day at a single location, you’re going to need to figure out how to change out memory if you use this method.
Time lapse photography
Time lapses, on the other hand, shoot at much slower frame rates. Instead of 30 frames per second, on a HERO4 you can choose to shoot a frame every half second (2 fps), 1 fps, or even one frame every 5, 10, 30, or 60 seconds. The longer the interval, the faster the video will appear.
The benefit of the time lapse method is that you can shoot a time lapse over a much longer period of time (as long as your camera has power) without using as much memory since you’re only capturing a single frame every interval. If you shoot at one frame every 10 seconds, for example, and then create your final video at 30 fps, you would need to shoot for 5 minutes just to get one second of video (6 frames per minute x 5 minutes = 30 frames).
So, fast forward is great for shorter time periods, when you want to vary the playback speed, and/or when you want to include audio from the shot. Time lapse is great when you want to shoot longer time periods and don’t want to use as much memory to get the shot. I’ve seen good quality images on the videos using both methods, so I’m not sure which one looks better. That may be personal preference.
I hope the above helps and gives you an idea on how to go about shooting time lapse photography.
I am a proud owner of Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX100, and I want to show you the settings I use to make a time lapse movie.
Here are the settings for The Lumix DMC-LX100
Before we start setting up the camera, we need a steady tripod. This can be a tripod of your choice.
Always turn of the stabiliser when using the tripod from within the menu section.
- Turn on the silent mode. This can help you shoot in public without making a bleeping noise when the camera takes images.
2. On the Panasonic LX100 you can change the aspect ratio to 3:2, 16:9, 1:1 and 4:3. For time lapse photography, make sure you change the aspect ratio to 16:9.
3. Its important to use the correct SD card for time lapse photography, because of the amount of images taken, the 4K quality and the speed of the footage conversion.
The image below shows the one always use for this type of photography. As a general rule, use a UHS speed class 3 for time lapse photography.
4. The next element to set is the ISO. I usually set the ISO to 200, but the environmental light will dictate what settings you need for ISO.
4. To eliminate yourself from being a public distraction in public areas, its a good idea to set the camera to silent mode via the settings. This will help you take images at easy while the shutter is on silent.
5. I usually take photos in RAW format and because of the size of the file, I always adjust the quality. The quickest way to do this is by clicking on the quick menu button (Q-MENU) on the back.
6. Then go up to the quality settings, as indicated in the image below (red circle).
7. After choosing choosing the above, you will notice that depending on the size of your card, that it will record 4505 images in raw on this particular card.
8. To increase the number of images that this card can hold, I would change the quality to fine. As you can see below that the images have now increased to 11582.
9. There is one more step that “could” increase the number of shots that my SD card can hold and that is by scrolling up to the picture size function. At this point you need to choose the picture size and change from large size to a medium size (8Mb photos). Click set to set the new settings.
10. Now we need to go into the time lapse mode of the camera to set the image intervals and image count. Then press enter and you will get the start option, as show in the image.
11. You will come to the following screen after you hit enter. Here you choose the shooting interval settings (the time taken between each shot). I have set mine to 3 secs and I have set the 750 images that needed to be shot. As a general rule, 3 secs are could for clouds and 1 sec is good for people walking. Once you happy with the settings, press enter to enter the start time mode.
12. You can set the camera off at a certain time or you can start recording now. I normally use the “Now” option. But before we start recording there are final adjustments to be made, try to shoot in manual mode as described below.
13. Set the shutter on the top dial to 1/60th sec, and leave the aperture at automatic for time being.
14. Now take a meter reading by pressing the shutter half way down at the subject you want to shoot. Now change the aperture to 16 on the lens dial, and the focus is already set when you pressed the shutter button half way down.
15. Now switch to manual focus on the dial. You need to be careful as not to move the focus ring, as the focus is already set.
Now to are ready to shoot time lapse.
Go to the menu – Time lapse shot – Start.
Follow the instructions once the camera has shot all the number of images set. Enjoy!