How I shot this time lapse video

A couple of months ago we thought time lapse would add an interesting element to video we were shooting for a Media Trust event.  But, aware that time lapse video/photography takes time, effort and, in many cases, some quite expensive camera gear I wasn’t sure where to start, so I started doing some research.

Remembering an article I’d seen about a new time lapse camera that made the whole process much easier I set about investigating what might be possible for those of us who, whilst we shoot video or stills, have never shot time lapse whether due to lack of equipment or patience. The answer was the Brinno TLC200 Pro and the result of our most recent use of the camera is the video above.  (N.B. If you read the post on how I made the GIFs for the Media Trust conference website, this is the footage used in the images.)

The camera costs about £200 and is remarkably easy to set up.  Crucially, for me at least, it offers the huge benefit of producing a finished video file rather than a succession of still photos that you then have to process in editing.

For the time lapse video I shot at the conference I set the camera to shoot one frame every 5 seconds and to playback at 30 frames per second.  The extreme wide angle lens meant that I was able to get everyone from speakers on the stage, left of frame, and all of the audience, with the camera was mounted slightly above head height on a clamp attached to some scaffolding about 20 feet from the stage.  We started shooting at about 7.45 in the morning and finished about 5.30 in the afternoon, the whole conference was reduced to approximately 3 minutes 50 seconds.

A couple of observations about the end result.  As a newbie excited about the idea of shooting time lapse I hadn’t thought clearly enough about what I was shooting.  Conferences tend to be static.  A large body of people doing nothing, in terms of movement for time lapse, for long periods of time.  Hence the 44 seconds above works as it’s been heavily edited and incorporates moments when people were moving and, indeed, it works taken in short bursts intercut with other non-time lapse footage,as you can see in this video about the conference.

So my advice to anyone undertaking this for the first time is think through what you’re shooting and work out what kind of movement you will be likely to get in the frame and over a period of time.  something I will be paying more attention to next time.  And experiment with the frame rate, I settled on 1 frame every 5 seconds after a bit of experimentation but am going to continue trying out different frame rates to see what effects I achieve.

Whilst this may not reach the exquisite standards of specialist time lapse photography/video, for anyone intrigued and interested in getting started the Brinno and some of other cameras out there, like the Hero, are well worth a look.



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