The world of photography is not just focused on still images. There’s a subgenre that has allowed everyone to witness a whole new perspective in reality: timelapse photography. In definition, timelapse photography creates a compressed view of the world. You’ve probably seen those amazing image sequences of the sun making its way across the sky, flowers blooming, or even stars moving in their predestined trails across the night sky.
Capturing these slow and subtle processes instills a deeper appreciation of our world. Whether you’re wondering how to start using timelapse photography, or you want to build on your current experience, these tips will help you achieve significant improvement with just a few tweaks.
What is Timelapse Photography?
Timelapse photography is a technique in which a series of images of the same frame is captured at regular intervals over a period of time. When these images are viewed in a rapid sequence, the scene appears as if time is speeding up.
A series of photographs capturing the image of a flower once every 20 minutes, for example, when viewed at a rate of 30 frames per second, would make the flower appear to bloom in a matter of seconds. Some timelapse sessions can last for days, depending on the subject and the shots that the photographer wants to achieve.
Why do Photographers use Timelapse?
What makes timelapse so special and why do many photographers focus on this genre? Many of them won’t have a definite answer but the result always speaks for itself. Imagine being able to capture these enthralling, captivating scenes of movements, growth, trails, and patterns that will never be experienced through your naked eye.
Timelapse photography is perfect for capturing slow movements and processes that happen over an extended period of time. Watching these events unfold in timelapse photography makes them appear more remarkable and interesting.
Timelapse photography can also capture fast-moving objects, and emphasize the speed of their motion. Some examples include waterfalls, rapids, and city streets.
What are the types of Timelapse Photography?
The night sky is one of the most fascinating sights that can be captured by timelapse photography. Some of the subjects covered in this type of photography are the moon in its various phases, northern lights, and the Milky Way. Astro timelapse requires more advanced skills than other types of timelapse photography. You’ll need to keep your aperture open for as long as possible to get a shot that takes in enough light while keeping the image sharp; then, set the interval to about three or five seconds longer than the aperture is open. The results are impressive when you succeed with Astro timelapse.
The MIOPS device takes the guesswork out of your camera settings using its built-in interval parameter. This will be explained in the sections below.
Storm Timelapse (MIOPS)
The cloud formations and lightning strikes of storms create an intense scene for photographers. A timelapse sequence will show a progression of this dramatic event in nature unfolding. You can capture this scene in safety using the smartphone-controlled MIOPS Smart Camera Trigger - all you need is a waterproof cover for your camera!
This effect is created with the long exposure technique. Timewarp allows photographers to shoot timelapse videos of fast-moving subjects with stability, making them appear as if they’re moving at hyperspeed. This technique is often used during athletic events, such as snowboarding and racing. Timewarp mode produces sharp images despite the rapid movements.
You can use this incredible technique even if you don’t have a time warp mode on your camera. The MIOPS Smart+ Camera Trigger has a time warp mode included in its extensive list of features. This versatile device can turn your camera into an advanced gadget, capable of capturing high-speed sequences.
Sunsets and Sunrise Timelapse
Sunset and sunrise timelapse are probably the most popular techniques that beginner and professional photographers enjoy. This timelapse type may seem simple but it’s not as easy as pointing your camera into the horizon. The challenge is actually not in successfully capturing these events, It’s more about being creative and delivering a highly unique scene.
Photographers suggest that the intervals that you set should depend on how fast the sun sets or rises. Most tutorials suggest that five to ten seconds is a good range when it comes to shooting sunsets or sunrises.
Have you ever seen a flower blooming? How about a plant growing and taking roots? It might not be too obvious and directly observable but plants are constantly moving and growing. The process is so slow that such phenomena can only be observed through timelapse photography.
Plant timelapse is a technique that allows the observers to observe the tiny movements that plants make over the course of hours or days. Flowers are also the most popular subjects for this type of photography. Unfurling, blooming scenes of your favorite buds are always captivating.
The city offers many possibilities for timelapse photography. It’s easier to find dynamic, interesting subjects to include in your shoot. During the daytime, you can try shooting crowd scenes and foot traffic, to capture the vibrancy of the population in the area. Cityscapes are an especially attractive setting at night, and also give your images a smooth, flowing motion blur without the need for ND filters.
Exploring Other Exciting Timelapse Scenes
Creating timelapse is not that intimidating as long as you do your research first. If your camera has a timelapse mode, start with the most basic shots. You can start with simple scenes, such as skylines. As you become more comfortable, you can start experimenting with more challenging subjects, like flowers and city scenes.
Choosing the Equipment for Timelapse Photography
You don’t need a lot of expensive equipment to start using timelapse photography. You can start with the basics: a camera, a tripod, an intervalometer, and a tripod.
A camera. You can use either a DSLR or a mirrorless camera. It doesn’t matter if you are just using an entry-level camera, as long as it has a Manual Mode that allows you to adjust the basic settings, such as ISO, Exposure Value, Aperture, and Shutter Speed, to name a few.
With the increasing popularity of timelapse photography, you may even be able to find a camera with a built-in intervalometer. This is also known as a timelapse mode that is especially meant for this photography type. Having this feature will be extremely convenient for your timelapse shoots.
A tripod. A tripod is a must for timelapse photography because the camera needs to remain completely still for an extended period of time while capturing the slow movements of your subject.
An intervalometer. This is available as an external device attached to your camera, or as installed software, that triggers your camera’s shutter at specified intervals for a specified amount of time. With an intervalometer, you don’t have to manually trigger your camera’s shutter for every image that you need to capture.
Smart Camera Trigger. A remote camera trigger can easily outperform a basic camera setup, because of the gadget’s added advantages. MIOPS’s Smart Camera Trigger, for instance, has a dedicated Timelapse Mode that gives you full control of your timelapse shoot.
Ordinary timelapse techniques for extraordinary timelapse videos with MIOPS
What can MIOPS do for you especially for timelapse shoots? This seemingly intimidating photography genre is made easier using the different features of this remote camera trigger. Here are the options and customizations that you can do with your MIOPS device:
Interval parameter. This setting determines the time or period that passes between each shot. You have the option of setting the intervals from millisecond to hours. Remember that the longer intervals you set, the faster the final videos will be.
Frame parameter. This setting allows you to control the number of frames that you can take during the shot. MIOPS allows you to choose from an intuitive range. Fixing this setting to Zero will give you unlimited photos until you manually stop it.
Scheduling shoot. MIOPS’s timelapse mode will allow you to schedule your timelapse shots and set them up for a specific time. This will help you get the scenes that you want even without manning your camera 24/7.
Ability to save settings. For your future timelapse shoot, you can easily retrieve your old settings so you don’t always have to start from scratch.
Wired or wireless options. MIOPS can be connected to your smartphone and access these settings using the dedicated MIOPS Apps. However, you can either set these parameters using the actual MIOPS device or your mobile app.
Real-time status. During the timelapse shoot, your MIOPS device will give you real-time settings and changes through a special status screen. The screen shows you important details, such as interval, exposure, frame, elapsed time, and remaining time.
Here are other accessories that can improve your time-lapse photos:
Neutral-density (ND) filters. These filters reduce the amount of light that enters your camera lens. These are useful accessories to have for timelapse photography since they allow you to adjust your shutter speed while maintaining the amount of light in your images. This is especially convenient for achieving long exposure shots in the daytime. These filters need to be fitted to your lens, so check your lens size before purchasing.
High-capacity memory cards. Timelapse photography necessitates taking a long sequence of high-quality images, so you’ll need to have enough storage in your camera. Shooting your images in RAW format will ensure that you get the highest resolution possible, and give you more freedom in post-processing. Bring spare high-capacity memory cards to make sure that you don’t run out of storage in the middle of shooting your image sequence.
Timelapse Photography Techniques for Adjusting Camera Settings
Aperture. You’ll need to experiment with your aperture to find one that will keep the entirety of your subject in focus while maintaining an adequate amount of light. Since the subjects of timelapse photography are so varied, your aperture setting can vary widely as well, depending on your subject.
Focus. Use manual focus to maintain the same focus for every image, and prevent your camera from refocusing on different areas every time there is a movement in the frame.
ISO. This depends on the light in your image. A low ISO will help you get sharper images, but shooting in low-light settings will necessitate a higher ISO.
Shutter speed. Your shutter speed setting always depends on the general look and feel that you want your images to have. Long shutter speeds (1/50 or below) give a motion blur effect, making images appear soft and flowing. If you want sharper images, a fast shutter speed (1/100 or above) can achieve that. One of the basic starting points to finding your ideal shutter speed is to double your frame rate. For example, when shooting at 15 frames per second, you would use a 1/30 shutter speed.
Timelapse interval (speed). Once you’ve found your ideal camera settings, you’ll need to decide on the interval speed for your shots. This depends on your subject and the light conditions. Capturing timelapse photography that tells a story means that you need to get all the right scenes in the sequence: the faster the movement, the shorter the intervals have to be. Intervals that are too long will result in the images appearing jumpy.
Are you ready for your first timelapse video and photography shoot?
We gave you an overview of the things, subjects, and scenes that you can explore using the different types and techniques of timelapse. While this photography subgenre can have its challenges, especially if you’re still learning about how you can maximize the potential of your camera features, trust us that it is worth it.
Aside from the methods, camera equipment, and suggested settings, upgrading your camera bag should give you the right boost to successfully complete your timelapse photo and video sessions. We have shown you how MIOPS Smart Camera Trigger can transform the often stressful and time-consuming camera configurations for timelapse, into an easy and ordinary session.
If you want to know more about how MIOPS can help you get started on timelapse photography and other types of photography, we have something special for you here!
Blog Credit: Charm Villalon
Charm is a writer and a visual artist. Her drive to share ideas and stories is evident in her background in communication arts and language studies. Years of professional experience in content creation have given her a broad proficiency with the process of engaging online communities. An appreciation for multiple languages and cultures drives her to seek out experiences and capture these moments through her writing, digital art, and photography.
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