You know time-lapse videos are a crowd-pleaser. But once you’ve mastered the art of capturing time-lapse clips of clouds and sunsets, you may be itching to try something more exciting. Why not amp up your Shutterstock footage portfolio with a few advanced techniques? Here are three extreme time-lapse tricks to try.
1. Go days, not minutes
Time-lapse is a really fun way to compress time, so why not take it to the extreme by capturing events that take days or weeks? Turn your leftovers into art by capturing their slow descent into fungus! Or if you’re more the romantic type, you could shoot the life of a plant from seed to sprout.
To do this right, you are going to need an external power source for your camera, consistent lighting, and a lot of patience. Also, make sure your intervalometer is set appropriately. The interval will depend on the intended length of your clip and how long you intend to record your subject. If math is not your strong suit, there are a number of helpful calculators online that will do the work for you, including this one from time-science.com.
2. Add a little movement
One way to add a little panache to your time-lapse is to introduce movement. The easiest way to accomplish this feat is to channel your inner Ken Burns and execute some pans, scans, or zooms in post-production. This method can produce surprisingly good results and requires no extra equipment.
Better yet, ditch the tripod, forget your locked-down shots, and create time-lapse magic with a motorized slider. If you want dynamic videos with real movement, then this is the way to go. Have something in the foreground for an eye-popping, surreal, time-lapse.
3. Warp time and space
This next technique is not for the casual time-lapser. The term ‘time-lapse’ can’t even be used to describe it. We’re speaking of the hyperlapse! A hyperlapse combines the compression of time and space. Unlike a slider, the movement is extreme and covers much larger distances. The most common form of a hyperlapse is to strap a camera to a car or train, but this technique can also be done on foot. The trick is to frame your subject consistently for each shot and making consistent adjustments to your position.
A hyperlapse can be done handheld, but you will get better results with a tripod, monopod, or dolly. The hyperlapse will likely need to be stabilized in post to fix slight changes in perspective, but the results are truly impressive.
Like a lot of footage production, advanced time-lapse techniques require creativity, patience, and probably some trial-and-error. But as you can see in the examples above, and in the clipbox below, the results are worth the extra effort!
– Brian Lucy, Shutterstock Footage Coordinator