Settings for Time Lapse Video

In a previous post I showed you a finished time lapse video captured from the parking lot of Mariposa Restaurant in Sedona overlooking the red rocks after having lunch there last Sunday afternoon. While having a great lunch we were watching the clouds clear after a bit of weather. And you guessed it, I had to run home and grab my gear. Today I’d like to share some ideas on what settings to look at when thinking about creating your own time lapses.

Depending on your scene and how long you would like to cover it you should decide the space between your image captures. Math comes in handy here and you will start to have an idea of your settings almost by instinct. For example, depending upon the speed of moving clouds I’ve found the interval that works for me is between three & five seconds. The rate that the images should be played back is between 12-24 frames per second. The time lapse in the previous post covered a period of about 40 minutes with 3 second intervals and 24 fps. This translated into a video that was about 35 seconds long. Now not being a fan of that much math here is a calculator that will help you figure things out including how much memory you will need to have in your camera to complete your session.

Time Lapse Calculator

Time Lapse Calculator from PhotoPills. You can download your own for your web site or get the App to calculate while on site. Try it right here you’ll like it!

Lumix Time Lapse Processing Features

A great feature in the Lumix cameras like the GX8 used to capture this time lapse is the ability to process the video in camera choosing from a large number of settings in quality and frame rate. When calculating how much memory you need to have on your card remember you’ll need room to process and store the final video as well. I processed out the video using the 4K setting. 4K is four times bigger than HD video which means you can place it in an HD timeline then have room to pan and zoom which adds a lot to the final product. There are many programs you can use but I used Adobe Premiere Pro CC.

Adobe bridge screen captureScreen Capture of still files in Adobe Bridge.

I shoot in RAW so I can process the original files for stills or for color tweaking if necessary. Then process out the files into jpegs and use a free program such as Time Lapse Assembler to put your video together. (link for MAC for link for PC. There are plenty of free or freeware programs to choose from. Find the one you like.

time lapse assemblerTime Lapse Assembler window. I like it because it’s pretty simple and straightforward!

Shoot longer than you think is necessary. The first couple times out my time lapses were only seven seconds which was a little disappointing. Use the calculator above to save yourself some heartache.

Yours in Creative Photography,     Bob