Time-lapse in digital photography

Time-lapse in digital photography

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Time-lapse in digital photography can be great fun. This happens to be what we will be talking about today.  You will probably have seen footage of  ice melting very fast, transition between sunset and sunrise, clouds flying across the sky etc; all aforementioned are products of time lapsing in digital photography.

What is time-lapse in digital photography?

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Time-lapse in digital photography is a method where the frequency at which film frames are captured is far lower than that used to view the sequence. Hence, when it is played at normal speed, time appears to move faster and thus lapsing.  In a similar manner, film can also be played at a much lower rate than it was captured at, thereby slowing down fast action, as slow motion or high-speed photography.

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Assuming, a flower takes a full day to open and you want to express this in 30 seconds of footage.  Taking one frame/photo per second, would give you:

60 frames per minute (1 frame x 60 seconds)

3600 frames per hour (60 frames x 60 minutes)

86400 frames per 24 hour day (3600 frames x 24 hours)

Time-lapse in digital photography – Lighting

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Lighting should be constant, there will be challenges as darkness falls if you are shooting outside.  Assuming you want to show night into day or other way round; a more practical and delightful way to execute this,  is under man-made lighting conditions.  Time-lapse in digital photography should not be too long because it will not look right and will be boring to the viewer. The beauty in time-lapse in digital photography is in its conciseness.  Time lapse is supposed to be short and captivating; showing us a world we in most cases, never get to see except in our normal slow, real life timing. 

Basic time-lapse gear

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Tripod: You will need a tripod to keep the camera in exactly the same position throughout. It is important that it is very stable. You will need enough memory on your card to hold a large number of images. You also need to work out the timings for your shoot.

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Intervalometer: This is an automated digital camera trigger.   It is a programmable device that is used to capture hundreds of photos at targeted intervals. This tool can be referred to as the ‘heart’ of time-lapse in digital photography. Some digital cameras have in built triggers while some don’t. Making use of external trigger devices is the next option.

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DSLR Camera: The DSLR camera is the best choice for time-lapse in digital photography. This is because it is affordable and easy to use.  It also offers outstanding control and unique quality.Time-lapse in digital photography 8

Neutral Density Filters: These are like protective shades for your camera.  It reduces the intensity of light without tampering with its color.  Less light intensity allows us to use slower shutter speed in bright environment.  Hence, slower shutter speed allows us to capture motion blur on moving objects in the sequence of the time-lapse.

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