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Shooting Time-Lapse Video

There are two ways to create time-lapse (fast motion) video:

  1. Record the video at normal speed and then speed it up using editing software.
  2. Record the video using the camera's built-in timelapse function (if the camera has this capability).

Whichever method you use, you'll want to follow a few general rules:

Next, decide which of the following two methods you'll use to record the video:

(1) Record at Normal Speed

Clip speed and duration

Advantages: More flexible (you can vary the speed as you edit it), better quality (editing software can do some nice tricks such as blend frames together for a smoother movement effect).
Disadvantages: Requires reasonably good editing software, takes more effort.

To use this method, record the video normally then import it into your video editing software to speed it up. Exactly how you speed it up will depend on your software, so search your help files for "speed / duration". We use Adobe Premiere Pro which as various ways to change speed (more info here). The simplest example is this:

  1. Add the clip to the timeline.
  2. Right-click the clip and select Speed/Duration... from the context menu.
  3. Enter a speed greater than 100% to speed the video up.

(2) Built-in timelapse functions

Advantages: Easy to do, requires no editing software or skills, takes up less space on your recording media. Instantly available after recording.
Disadvantages: Much less flexible—once the video is recorded you're pretty much stuck with what you've got. Although it is possible to edit it later, you'll be quite restricted in what's possible. Most cameras have no possibility of advanced effects such as frame-blending.

More info

Author: ,  Originally published: 2012-10-15