Until few years ago, the only way to make a timelapse (or stop motion) was to get a movie camera that has the capability to take only one frame at a time. In video you can make it accelerating it in post production, but the result was not good because the way analog video treats the images.
Was only at the beginning of digital photography at the 90’s when we could take a sequence of photographs, import them on a video editing program and then get a sequence of accelerated movement better known as timelapse.
One of the wonders of actual technology is that you can make a timelapse with almost every device who takes photos (or video). Also we don’t need anymore expensive equipments to do that. Even with a celular phone you can make timelapses with excellent quality.
Now I present to you some of the devices that personally have used to make timelapses:
Personally I am a user of iPhone. Therefore known this platform better than the Android, but there are excellent programs for both kind of mobile phones.
In my iPhone I use an app called iMotion with excellent results. Every day apear on the web new apps (mainly of photographs) that add functionality to the timelapse and stop motion world. On iPhone, since iOS 8 we can use on “Camera” app an option called timelapse and let me tell you that its functionality goes beyond the parent: when you press the record button begin to make a 30 second timelapse independently of the real time the event is. It use advanced algorithms that “re-thinks” the timelapse every moment droping frames as the record times increase to force the timelapse last always 30 seconds. Yo won’t need to do anything to get that. If you need to take total control over the timelapse I recommend you iMotion app.
Some pocket cameras (also called Point and Shoot Cameras) have an option called “intervalometer” that is a menu option where you can choose the time between shots (interval). The disadvantage that I had with a camera si that the shortest interval was 30 seconds, therefore a church event that longs one hour in real life, lasts a few seconds on the final timelapse video.
The other option is to firmly mount the camera on a tripod and carefully shot the camera every time.’
The better option to get ultimate image quality is to use DSLR Cameras. But it comes with a cost:
• It needs so much space on your hard drive to store all the individual photos.
• It needs more time to process the images and it’s conversion to video.
On the advantage side, the main advantage of using DSLR Cameras is its resolution.
Recently appears on the market a timelapse specialized camera.Brinno is a Taiwan based company that makes a variety of timelapse and surveillance cameras. The principal adavantage of this camera is that uses 4 AA size batteries and depending on the interval configuration can works up to 2 months. The TLC 200 model takes every photograph in HDR mode which brings and enormous dynamic range even superior of the DSLR cameras.
The most elemental timelapse we can make is with a video camera. We only need to accelerate it with editing software. It is not the better option in terms of quality and smoothness of the image, but works (specially if it is the only camera we have at hand).
The process of mater the art of a good timelapse can take so much time, but the results worth it. Depending the use we are going to have is the camera we need to use.
The major part of the decisions we are going to make are more related with the interval, position of the camera and subject to frame rather than the camera itself so I recommend you tu start with any camera. When the quality of your timelapses increases you will feel the need of a more professional camera.
Luis Roberto De León has been dedicated to industrial and commercial photography for more than 30 years, staying at the forefront with digital technologies.
Phone: +52 (81) 8340 9090