Utilizing the timelapse effect

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The timelapse is a timeless video effect. When will it not be compelling to watch hours of slow-moving change, in a matter of seconds? (Patrick Melrose episode 1 trigger warning).

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Technically, you achieve the timelapse effect by taking a certain amount of still photos at a certain interval. You end up with a photo sequence, which can then be put together into a video clip.

A good rule of thumb is, the more high-speed the changes are in your scene, the faster the photo interval. And vice versa. With a busy cityscape, a five second interval is too slow, because so much changes in five seconds. Cars, or boats in our example, will appear to pop in and out of place. Fast-moving clouds won’t billow into formations, but just jump from shape to shape. 

With something slow moving like the stars, on the other hand, you can’t use a five second interval either. Because not much happens in five seconds, and the finished timelapse ends up slow, long and boring. So, asses the action in your scene, before deciding on an interval.

The amount of photos you need to take, depends on your interval, how many seconds of timelapse you want, and your video's framerate. Which in the US, is typically 30 frames per second (fps), in Europe it's 25 fps, and movies are usually shot with 24 fps. Check out Timelapse Photography's author Ryan for the actual recipe! Or bypass the theory and math, and simply use PhotoPill's timelapse calculator. Easy-peasy. 

If you want to be downright inspired, have a look at Morten Rustad's exceptional timelapse video, Seasons of Norway. And if you want to take it to the next level, why not have a go at hyperlapse? This effect is basically a timelapse without the static camera. Way more work, but way more dynamic. This TaylorCutFilms video explains how to do it. He also explains how to assemble the hyperlapse in Premiere Pro, which is equally relevant for a normal timelapse assembly.