Sunday, 1 April 2012

Timelapses...woo hoo!

Jen over at asked me to share my wisdom relating to all things timelapse, and so here we are. My knowledge on this subject is somewhat limited, but i've made a few of my own in the past, and it really is pretty simple.

So, what is timelapse? 
Well, it's basically a series of normal static photos that, when shown in sequence, create the illusion of motion. All movies and tv shows work on the same principle, one still image shown after's just that they're shown so quickly, and with such subtle transitions between each shot that our eyes can't notice the joins. 
Timelapses are essentially the same, but differ in that the images used are taken at less frequent intervals, creating a 'choppy' or 'staggered' look.

So, how do we make one?
Easy. You get an iphone, and buy an app called 'itimelapse'. That'll do all the work for you.

Oh, you don't like to cheat? Fine!
All you need are some regular digital images and a basic video editing program. Most modern computers come with free software these days...'windows movie maker' on PC, and 'imovie' on MAC. A free download can be found here 

So, you have your images that you want to use. Depending on what kind of video you want to produce, you'll probably want images that form some kind of narrative or sequence. For example, the video i'm using as an example is just a quick tour around my house. Each shot is relative to the previous one, and therefore when they're animated the sequence will make more sense. By moving the camera just a little for each shot you'll make a smoother, more fluid video.

You'll see how each frame moves on only a little bit from the last. 
Of course, you may wish to leave the camera on a tripod and shoot a moving subject - a sunset or traffic, for example.

So, let's get cracking. Open up your video editing program [we'll use windows movie maker as our example].
To move your images into the program, look to the top left of the screen and you'll see the 'Tasks' heading. From the import section, just hit 'images'. Select all the images you wish to use and hit the return key.

Now you've got your images in front of you, just select them all again so that they highlight blue...then drag them to the timeline at the bottom of the screen. See where it says 'video' on the left? Just dump them on that row...after a few seconds [depending on how many images you've imported] they'll appear in sequence as a kind of film strip.

Exciting, huh? Now look to the black window on the right. You'll see a blue 'play' button underneath. Hit that, and you'll see what your video will look like!

Now, if it's looking good, you can save it right now. You can, however, add effects to the images if you so desire...aged effects, different tones, etc...just look to the centre of the top of the screen, just above where your photos can select different effects from a drop down menu.

If you're not happy with the speed of your video you can change that in effects too. Faster or slower.

When you're happy with how it's looking, just hit the 'publish movie' button at the top centre of the screen [just above effects drop down menu], or alternatively select FILE > PUBLISH MOVIE > THIS COMPUTER

You now have a timelapse video :)

A couple of my own


  1. I've just had chance to REALLY look at this tutorial.... Craig it's great and I can't wait to have a go. I'm glad you got yourself a new Blog -- I hope that 1. You remember your password and 2. You keep up with this blog and 3. You contribute again to the link up party. THEN I will mail you some home baked goodies. :-)
    Jennie. :-)

    1. I'm really glad you like it! And i shall look forward to seeing what you come up with! [i particularly like brownies and rocky road and cookies and bakewell tarts and lemon drizzle cake and rice crispie treats]