Transformations – Unit 1: Pt 3 Time Lapse Introduction

During the first session back, Zig introduced the class to the concept of time lapse photography. This is when the camera is utilised to take a series of shots which then can be processed in a programme such as Adobe Premiere to create a movie. This technique can result in some stunning visuals of nature, people or transformations in general.

There are some basic principles with regards to time lapse photography. From what I can tell, the first one is that it takes time. In order to create one second of footage in the European PAL system, 25 frames are required (30 in the United States). So, to produce a video to accompany the average pop track of three & a half minutes, 5,250 single shots would be required!

Not only do you have to take into consideration how long it will take to capture the number of shots needed, it’s the time between shots. So, if you had to take 5,250 shots with a two second interval between them, it would take 175 minutes or two hours & fifty five minutes.


The second principle is preparation. It also seems that it’s also the third, fourth & fifth! Especially after reading an article by Enrique Pacheco (1), to which Zig directed the class in order understand time lapse better.

Pacheco has, over the last three years, thoroughly researched & practiced this photographic technique of time-lapse photography. This is an example of Pecheco’s work – think I’ll be taking his advice:


Pacheco’s advice is very considered & outlines the knowledge he has gained through trial & error. The tips he gives are:

  • Plan, plan, plan
  • Don’t forget anything
  • Use a heavy tripod
  • Framing is key
  • Use manual mode & record in RAW
  • Use Live View (if the camera battery will last long enough)
  • Focus accurately
  • Avoid ‘flicker’
  • Choose the right lapse
  • Knowing how long your “time-lapse” takes

The last principle, but not least, it would be patience. Or maybe that’s second-to-last, as pig-headed persistence seems to be a major requirement.

Now it’s time for me to put these principles into practice. At the end of the session, Zig set the class homework – practice time lapse ourselves. This is going to be interesting…

Tasks 1, 2, 3 & 4



2 thoughts on “Transformations – Unit 1: Pt 3 Time Lapse Introduction

  1. Hi Jennie

    I tried time lapse quite successfully where I live. My flat is on the river out at Greenhithe and the view takes in the sky, Dartford Bridge traffic, tides on the river, ships going up and down, along with pedestrians and cyclists on the footpath….and of course the sun moving across the sky too. Lots of moving elements!

    One thing I avoided though was using my DSLR, mainly because the shutter has a life determined by the number of shots taken. These are very quickly depleted using time lapse!!

    Looking forward to seeing your efforts though



  2. Hi Peter,

    Thanks for your comment. Am just getting my head round the principles of time lapse (just about to write another entry on my first frustrating efforts). Interesting angle about the DSLR. I’ll have to take that into consideration!




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