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4 Time-Lapse Photography Tips for a Digital Camera

Learn four time-lapse photography tips from commercial photographer Dan Bracaglia in this digital photography lesson from Howcast.


Time-lapse photography is very similar in context to stop-motion photography except for a couple major differences. Time-lapse is generally longer time intervals, whereas stop-action is generally a little bit quicker. An example of good time-lapse might be setting your camera to shoot every minute for six hours while the sun rises, or while a busy street has people get onto a busy street, and the morning commute starts. Very similar to stop-action, once you shoot a time-lapse, it's important to then pull all those photographs into an editing program, a video editing program specifically like Final Cut, like iMovie, and time them all together and order them correctly.

A couple of important things to remember if you're going to attempt a time-lapse, is you're going to need to stabilize the camera. It's got to be in one spot the entire time, or it's not going to work. It's always a good idea to go after things that you wouldn't ordinarily see move or really slow moving things. That's what really gives time-lapse a really special effect, because it visualizes for people things that they see, in theory, stationary but are actually moving just very, very slowly. It's a really good way to make that come to life.

Another reason why a lot of photographers are into time-lapse is because it's a cross between a video and still. It's still a still photograph you're looking at, but it's a still photograph that's been animated, and that in and of itself is a pretty cool feature of it. These are just some basics of time-lapse photography.

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