5 Things to know about Timelapse to be a Pro

What is a timelapse?

A time lapse can best be described as a super fast-motion video. Just as slow motion video is capture using a fast speed camera, fast motion video (or a time lapse video) is captured using a slow speed camera! Confused yet?

How does timelapse capture work in a camera?

First concept you need to grasp is the FPS – Frames per second. Modern day videos are played back typically at 30 FPS. That means thirty individual images are played back on the screen each second. Its so fast that your eyes “joins” them all up into a continuous motion, hence the word “Motion Pictures” was coined in the early days of film.

So a normal camcorder would capture videos at 30 frames each second.  If you used something slower and only captured 1 frame per second, then when you play them back at 30FPS, you get a 30X speed up.

What is shooting interval?

Most camera’s timelapse mode gives you the choice to set how often a frame is captured. Typical settings are from 1 shot every second and that interval increases up to 60secs in some cases.

What shooting interval to set to get a Pro timelapse?

So how does the math work? Lets work through an example:

We like to start with your final timelapse duration or clip length. Lets say its a 6sec sunset scene. This makes a great intro to your Action Studio GoPro movie.

So, to create a 6secs timelapse, you will need a total of 6 x 30FPS of images: ie: 180 images. That means you want to capture 180 evenly spaced images within an event duration. So say the sunset is 30mins. (1800 secs)

Now 3rd grade arithmetic tells you an image should be captured every 10secs, so that in 1800 secs, you will have gotten 180 images. Voila!

So the formula to find Interval I is: I = Event_Dur in mins. x 2 / Clip_Dur in secs

What is the Ken Burns Panoramic effect?

Ken Burns pioneered the motion pictures effect of panning across photos inside a movie to simulate motion. Using this technique in a Timelapse gives you a very cinematic and professional look. Unfortunately, its also very difficult to set up the shot. Traditionally, you will require a dolly or tripod with a timed spinner so that your camera is rotating in sync with each shot you take, hence each shot is a slightly different perspective from the previous one, and when you stitch them all up, it looks like its rotating or sliding sideways.

We find this feature in the Sony Action Cam app really surprising! Inside the very powerful Timelapse feature in the Sony Action Cam App (its strange that Sony does not make a bigger mention of it. Its really good and not found in any software we see out there, not even by the big guys at GoPro). Its called the cinematic timelapse. And it allows you to not only set a pan right or pan left, it even allows a zoom in and zoom out. And what’s amazing is we just realized, you can actually click both settings so that you are zooming in whilst panning left! Now that is just a blast. Watch what we created here, versus a POT. (Plain Old Timelapse)

Get the Sony Action Cam App here. It even works with GoPro!
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