Why do you want to make a time lapse video?
Maybe you’re a fan of Nat Geo Wild, or perhaps your attention has been piqued by a viral 30-second video of a seed breaking through the soil and blossoming into a radiant, elegant flower. Seeing hours, days, months, and years compressed into a few minutes or even a few seconds has its unique way of making your curiosity come alive.
And while each time lapse footage you’ve seen may seem so clean and intricate, it is something that almost anyone can do. All it takes are the right photography tools, an awesome post-production software, some motivation, and a great guide!
Let’s hop into it.
What exactly is Time Lapse, and how does it Work?
Without boring you with some long, ‘formal,’ Wikipedia-ish definition, here’s what time lapse is:
Time lapse is a technique which allows you to record and compress scenes or events that usually take hours, days, months, or even years to happen, into a few seconds. This ultimately gives you the illusion that time is moving rapidly and, thus, lapsing. In the most basic level, time lapsing is just the process of speeding up a video.
Here are some amazing clips that show what a time lapse really looks like.
It usually takes 10 days for a bean seed to germinate. However, this video goes all the way up to 25 days, capturing every moment of growth, and we see it all in less than four minutes!
Since the inception of time lapse photography in the late 1800s, this technique has been used in movies, documentaries, music videos, etc. Nat Geo Wild, for example, binges on the time lapse technique!
How it works
Firstly, videos are actually made of images captured in rapid sequences. On average, a 1-second video comprises 24 images. In technical terms, this is what is referred to as frame rate.
To make a time lapse video, some advanced professionals usually take individual still photos of their chosen event at specific intervals, then combine these photos to form a video.
However, the more popular way of time lapsing involves setting up a camera at a strategic position and taking a long, nonstop record of a subject from start to finish. For example, you can set your camera in a location that allows it to capture the sunset. From this position, you’ll begin recording from the moment you feel the sun has begun to set until when it has completely gone out of the sky.
After the recording phase, the footage is then imported into a post-production software, where its speed is substantially increased to give that lapsing effect.
At this level, you will be pretty fine doing time lapse videos with this technique. In fact, a vast percentage of videos all over YouTube uses this very basic technique.
For your post-production, a simple video editing software can do the trick. This is where Animotica comes in. Animotica is a simple, sleek, and effective Windows 10 software that caters for your post-production needs.
Classic Time Lapse Ideas
Since time lapse photography became popular, several events/subjects have been brought under the spotlight. However, here are some of the most approached subjects of time lapse photography. There are millions of footages centered around them, and it’s incredible how videographers approach the same subjects from extremely diverse angles. So since you’re looking to make one yourself, here are a few subjects you can focus on.
- Growing plants or opening flowers
- Sunrise or sunsets—or both
- Moving clouds
- City lights at night
- Evolution of a construction project
- Painting, drawing or crafting processes
- Decomposing matter
- Starry skies
Feel free to throw your ideas into the comment section!
How to Make a Time Lapse Video on Windows 10
As already established, making a time lapse video is not as hard as it may seem. Here are some tools you’ll need.
- A Camera: It’s crucial to have a camera that captures high res images so that you will have a clear footage that you can zoom in and out without altering its quality.
- A Large Memory Space: Time lapse footages are no joke, you’re going to be absorbing hours, days, or even months to accomplish a time lapse project. Thus, you need to make sure you have enough memory space for that. Getting a memory card dedicated to this project will make perfect sense.
- A Tripod: You’d need a tripod to ensure your camera maintains a high level of stability. You can use weights to support the tripod if you feel like you should.
- A Post-Production Software: As already established, if you’re using windows 10, you will enjoy using Animotica for time lapsing and many other video editing needs. For Mac users, iMovie is awesome.
Once you’ve gotten your tools and your raw footage, you would need to run some refining touches using Animotica. Here’s how to do it.
Step 1: Import your Video
Once you’ve downloaded and opened your software, hit on New Project, and from the pop-up menu, select Edit Video.
Follow the prompts and navigate to where you have stored your footage. Ensure you already transferred the footage to your computer or a flash drive connected to your computer.
Once you locate the footage, select and hit open to load it in the Animotica environment.
Step 2: Cranking up the Speed
By now, you may have noticed that time lapse is a direct opposite of slow-motion since everything is getting sped up quite rapidly. In time lapse, the speed setting is where the magic usually happens. And Animotica puts this magic right at the tip of your fingers.
Simply click on the video you’ve imported. This reveals a bunch of editing options among which you can find the speed setting.
Click on Speed to reveal a speed bar. Adjust the speed bar to your preference, the higher up you go, the faster the video.
Done! Your time lapse video is ready to go.
In case if it’s not enough for you, you may try to enhance your video with additional features.
Step 3: The Sound (optional)
Your footage most probably came with some natural sounds. Most often than not, these sounds are not nice to the ear, especially since you’d be speeding things up a lot. What you’d need to do is to get rid of the sound. To do this, tap your cursor on the video to reveal the editing options. Select volume.
Once you hit that option, you’d see another option, Detach Audio. After detaching the audio, you’d see the delete option at the foot of the window.
Having deleted the noise, you might want to add your audio to spice things up a little. To do this, immediately you’ve removed the old sound, you’d find the audio button at the foot of the window. Select this option to navigate to a new window. This new window shows you a bunch of tunes from Animotica’s library. However, if you have another audio in mind, you can simply hit choose file to navigate to your storage area.
Step 4: Other Features You Can Use (optional)
Just to give some extra touch of finesse to your time lapse footage, you can use a bunch of additional features from Animotica. The most popular features are found under the Overlays section.
The Overlays feature is pretty simple to use. It allows you to add texts, GIFs, Stickers, and more to your footage. Simply click on the Add button to reveal the overlay options. You can learn more on how to use overlays here.
Step 5: Saving your Project
When you’re satisfied with your work, you can save it by simply clicking the save button at the bottom right corner of the editor’s screen. On the new window, you’ll notice that Animotica sets some default parameters already for resolution and bitrate. These parameters represent the best balance between size and quality.
Thus, it is advisable to not make any changes. Just go ahead and click Save As to set a name for your final product. However, if you’d like to know more about what each setting represents and how they work, you can do so in this post.
Time lapse videos are among the game changers in cinematography. It does take plenty of dedication to get that perfect footage. But after your first try, you will begin to find it easier and more fun. With a video editing software that is simple enough to support usability and sophisticated enough to incorporate advanced features, things are going to get even better for you.
Ultimately, the age-long saying is absolutely correct: practice makes perfect!