How to do Time Lapse Photography

I recently went to New York to take in the sights, and most importantly, the museums.  Which worked out because the weather was bitter cold and it snowed- twice.  But I was perfectly happy spending my time filling my creative bucket, as it were.

Since it was so cold, I didn’t get to do as much outdoor photography as I would have liked, however, it did try several digital time lapse photography experiments.

Here are the results:


1.  Put your camera on MANUAL settings, both for exposure as well as focus.

2.  Take a few test shots to get the right exposure.

TIP: if you want that blurry motion effect, set the shutter to 1/20 or slower.  The slower the shutter speed, the blurrier it will be.

3.  Set your camera up on a tripod, table, or other stable surface.  Be sure to focus the camera or put it on infinity to insure everything in the frame is in focus.

4.  Scroll through the menu of your camera to select “interval” or time lapse-like setting, which will take a photo every few seconds.  Look at your camera manual to see where it is.  I have a Nikon D2X and it’s under the camera menu.  You can determine the length of time between shots and how many shots you’d like to take.  Keep in mind that the standard movie is 36 frames per second, so for every second of film, you have to shoot 36 images.

5.  Let the camera run, taking your defined number of images.

6.  After you’ve downloaded the images to your computer, convert the images to JPG, if they’re not already, and put them in their own folder.

7.  Open Quicktime Pro (not the free version).

8.  Go to File > Open Image Sequence

9.  Navigate to the folder you’ve created and select the first image in the sequence.

10.  Quicktime will automatically create the movie for you. and Violá!  Time lapse photography complete.

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