Below, we've outlined the basics of time lapse, some history behind the popular technique, and how to shoot your own time lapse movies with a digital camera.
What is time lapse video?
Typically, one second of video contains 24 still frames, which are stitched together like a flipbook to create motion. When shooting time lapse video, these frames aren't captured
Who pioneered the time lapse technique?
First used in an 1897 film called Carrefour De L'Opera, time lapse became more popular in the early 20th century for shooting nature photography. Photographer Arthur C. Pillsbury was known for his time lapse clips of wildflowers in Yosemite National Park, and he captured the entire life cycle with a custom camera setup. His videos clearly showed how fast the flowers were disappearing from the Yosemite meadows, causing the Superintendents of the National Parks to start active preservation efforts. Perhaps the most well-known example of time lapse is Koyaanisqatsi, a 1983 feature film that showed epic scenes of people and nature.
How does time lapse work?
It's possible to shoot time lapse manually with a digital camera, but this will inevitably lead to exposure inconsistencies and timing errors. For more accurate video, we recommend using an intervalometer. This device syncs up with your camera's shutter, ensuring that each frame maintains a consistent look and timing. Today, you can find hardware and software intervalometers, and many consumer cameras have an intervalometer feature designed for that particular model.
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