IN THE FIELDOnce the equipment is prepared, I head out to each location in order of proximity with an idea of what I want to capture. For my New York time-lapse video, for instance, I created a shot list and carried it around with me. Tip: I found it helpful to have a printed hard copy that I could make notes on. I also created a digital PDF version for my mobile device in case I lost or forgot the hard copy.
I have learned to always have a Plan B. I may get to my destination, and the shot I need might not be there—maybe it's too cloudy or not cloudy enough, for example. If the clouds don't cooperate, then I set out to capture crowds, for instance.
Keep your shot stable and use a tripod. The first major challenge of time-lapse photography is people, myself included. If someone even brushes up against my tripod, I'm going to have to start over. If I'm capturing people, I stand with my feet apart to guard from someone accidentally kicking it. If it's windy, I hang my gear bag from the hook under the center of my tripod for stability.
|Amon Focus' Toolbox|
Canon EOS 5D Mark II
Canon EF 24-70mm ƒ/2.8L USM
Canon TC-80N3 Timer Remote Control
Vanguard Alta+ 224CP Carbon Fiber Travel Tripod with PH-22 Head
QuickTime 7 Pro
Adobe After Effects
Apple Final Cut Pro
MiLapse Moco Calculator:
You can save hours of postproduction by simply setting a custom white balance. Since I shoot JPEG files in manual mode, it's important to get the shots correct directly on the camera instead of trying to color-correct later.
All other photography rules apply with time-lapse, too; you're just adding the element of time. For crowd shots, I shoot at one- or two-second intervals. (An interval is the amount of time between shots.) For slow-moving clouds, I'll shoot at three- to seven-second intervals, depending on their speed. Fast-moving clouds generally require a one-second interval.
The interval length affects how long I'll spend capturing a scene. Examples: One-second intervals for 10 minutes (600 shots) will give me 25 seconds of video at 24 frames per second. Two-second intervals for 10 minutes (300 shots) will give me 12.5 seconds of video at 24 frames per second. If I want blur in what I'm capturing, I'll use a slower shutter speed. This is something that I experiment with until I get it to my liking.