Time-lapse Photography on the Quick & Dirty [tech]

_How many seconds of time-lapse video can be produced in two hours?
_How do you set up your camera for time lapse?
_What kind of gear do you need?
_What kind of results can you get with a $200 camera vs a $5,000 camera?

I sat at the top of Signal Hill in Capetown, South Africa a few weeks ago to shoot some timelapse for a video project I’m working on. In the process, I thought we’d bust out a video to demonstrate the possibilities. I explain in the video above. We shot a Nikon D3s, a Nikon D7000 and two GoProHero2’s to create four different angles. Enjoy!

26 Responses to Time-lapse Photography on the Quick & Dirty [tech]

  1. Jingcheng September 4, 2012 at 9:40 am #

    Strangely enough, the GoPros were the best ones, IMHO.

    • Harry Guinness September 4, 2012 at 10:04 am #

      I totally agree. The D7000 is nice too but the D3s is blown away by the GoPros!

  2. WillG September 4, 2012 at 10:13 am #

    Were the Nikon’s set on Manual or Aperture Priority? The GoPro2’s were obviously on auto.
    Hope y’all got a burger at Royal of Long St. Best burger and milkshakes on the continent.

    • Timo September 4, 2012 at 10:23 am #

      I suppose at least the D3s was on manual. Lots of underexposed footage there..

    • Anonymous September 4, 2012 at 2:32 pm #

      both were on manual. picking an exposure has the upside of “feeling” when it gets dark” and the downside of not knowing how dark it can get…

      auto is simple – great for go pro. since we had 4 cameras we were able to throw caution to the wind on non-auto exposure cameras, which we did.

  3. Timo September 4, 2012 at 10:22 am #

    I agree. It’s not due to the cameras though. The scenery as chosen just doesn’t work for long focal lengths. A DSLR with a wide angle lens shooting the same angle the GoPros did would most likely give you footage with more headroom in the highlights.
    Still a nice result for the GoPros though!

    • Anonymous September 4, 2012 at 2:35 pm #

      no question there’s a better sensor in the bigger cameras – room in the exposure / files.

      that said, the “scenery chosen” was actually more dramatic in real life than thru the long lens due to the density of some of the clouds moving in front of the peak and the 10 second intervals we chose. had we chose a shorter interval you would not have been making this comment… the small clouds were rallying off that peak like crazy!

  4. Kristopher Michael September 4, 2012 at 10:42 am #

    I disagree, I thought the tone and clarity on the D7000 took the cake. The GoPro’s were awesome, but there’s something about a D7000 timelapse that just looks better when done right.

  5. Wolf September 4, 2012 at 10:47 am #

    I think the GoPro timelapse parts look better because the scenes shot were more interesting and had more tonal variety.

    • Anonymous September 4, 2012 at 2:36 pm #

      wider shot, in this case = tonal variety.

      but i do love the go pros for sure. that’s part of what makes a time lapse cool… variety, movement, etc. perfect in this case for lots of cameras, but the go pros rocked it.

  6. JIve September 4, 2012 at 4:19 pm #

    What’s the issue with having the case on the GoPro that Chase referenced when he showed the first one gaffed up?

    • tom September 4, 2012 at 6:46 pm #

      @Jive, The GoPro housings are notorious for fogging up. Even when you have a moisture muncher in them the tend to fog up after a few minutes of operation. This is often due to the camera heating up the housing on the inside. I found this to be a really problem when using the housing for shooting water sports videos in cold water but humid climate. It’s mainly due to the humidity of the air inside the housing. It can help to keep the housing near an air con outlet in the car with the air con at full blast just before you close up the housing. It seems to sufficiently dry out the inside.

  7. tom September 4, 2012 at 6:42 pm #

    hate to say it but the Nikon footage looks crap compared to the GoPro.

  8. faisal September 5, 2012 at 5:41 am #

    Are any of the images worked upon or edited?

  9. ham September 5, 2012 at 11:10 am #

    I’d like to see these in color. That is where you’d see the dramatic difference between the vibrance of the DSLRs vs. the GPs.

  10. Nathaniel Dodson September 5, 2012 at 2:03 pm #

    The GoPros were stunning! Love the final timelapse -especially the GoPro hero 2 shot with the water off to the left. Thanks for the BHTS video, Chase!

  11. Oh Danny Boy September 16, 2012 at 5:44 pm #

    Not brown nosing, but thanks alot for taking the time to do this – your explanations of the process involved are both helpful + inspiring to newcomers like me. The GoPros time lapse were a triumph!

  12. riordan September 24, 2012 at 5:55 am #

    Could you talk about your process, developing, and how you assembled everything? What sort of B/W process you use and compression for export?

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