Time-Lapse Tutorial

I’ve put together a tutorial on how to shoot a time-lapse using a DSLR and intevelometer. The tutorial covers everything from settings you should use to making the time-lapse video in quicktime.
Let me know if the tutorial was useful. I’ll try and do some more tutorials if this one is recieved well. Also, if you’ve made a time-lapse, post a link to it in the comments.


  1. Thanks, I’ve done a few TL’s before and dragged the shutter only because it was so light was so low I had no choice- but to do it always…? I think I like it because it’s smoother…, although the blips don’t bother me either way…thanks again.

  2. I don’t think you have to drag the shutter always, it really depends on the subject and how fast things are moving. I think as general rule though dragging the shutter will produce a video that doesn’t have that “Keystone Cops” look when you’re dealing with people.

  3. Very nice.

    I can’t afford a Canon Timer Remote Controller thingie but I think I can just do it with my in camera timer and a cable release locked down.

    Thanks for the inspiration.

  4. Thanks for the link it’s awesome! I was inspired by Zach and this one pushes me over the edge…I’ve gotta’ go fire-up the interval-o-meter and start on them time-lapsis… Is that the plural for time-lapse?

  5. Is there anyway to do one by importing the properly proportioned and sized jpegs into Final Cut Pro? Or is it just far easier to use quicktime pro.

  6. Mike, Much easier to use quicktime pro. MUCH EASIER:)

    And in responce to the question about timelapses that move: After you make a timelapse in quicktime, don’t resize the file and bring it into finalcut pro. In final cut just zoom in on the video and you can pan around it. The timelapse video should be super high res for video so you can zoom in on it and not lose anything.

  7. Or I could do it with my cable release locked down and no timer, but just delete every second picture and use a bigger cf card and a shittier compression.

    Thanks a lot though, you’ve given me some great ideas.

  8. Someone just told me that the Nikon D2H has a built in timer (or intevelometer) also some point and shoots have a built in intevelometer also. If anyone knows of a good point and shoot that has it built in, let me know because all of these timelapse pieces are killing my shutter life.

  9. Allright I have my time lapse movie in final cut pro and it is rendered. How do I zoom and pan in final cut?

    What are the tools I use? What do I click on etc etc.

    Thanks to anyone who can help me.

  10. I like the idea of using a point and shoot to save wear and tear on a DSLR’s mirror assembly. Unofortunately there aren’t too many options out there, but this is what I have found so far.

    This guy seems to like the Kodak P880 since it has a decent wide-angle lens and can shoot at intervals as little as 10 seconds, for a maximum of 99 shots. He also likes some of the Ricoh point and shoots since they can use an interval as short as 5 seconds.

    Some other contenders are the Olympus SP-510uz, the Canon G6 (one minute intervals minimum), the Canon
    S80, and Canon S3 IS. FYI the Canon S3 also has a pretty impressive movie mode for a point and shoot.


  11. First thanks to Richard figuring out why I wasn’t able to post before… apparently I was including too many links in my comment, which flagged the entry as possible spam. So from now on I will try to limit myself to no more than two links per post!

    After reading some more on the Ricoh cameras, it seems the Ricoh R5 is probably the best point-and-shoot option for doing time lapse photography with intervals of less than 10 seconds. However it does not have manual controls, and some users complain of noise with ISO above 64 or 100 (shouldn’t be a problem when tripod-mounted for time lapse though). Other users complain about battery life, which hopefully woudln’t be as big a problem with the flash and LCD turned off (Ricoh claims you can take sequences up to 380 images).

    It looks like Ricoh doesn’t have a U.S. supplier but there are plenty of R5s on eBay.

  12. Great tutorial. I just finished creating a time lapse video shot over 12 hours at the Relay for Life event held at my university.


    I’m wondering if you have any advice on where to host the completed videos to obtain a decent size and resolution. When I posted it to google video it shrank the video a fair bit, and compressed it so the quality is not nearly as good.

    I’m really new to the whole mulitmedia game so I’d appreciate any advice, thanks a lot!

  13. hi

    grat stuff!
    one query, pls.
    What do you mean by “drag the shutter”?
    much appreciated if answered

  14. Maybe I missed something…But it seems that you may need a Canon DSLR to do this. You mentioned the brand of the timer but unless I missed it, you do not mention if you have to have the Canon camera, whether it will work on other cameras, etc etc. Otherwise, great stuff! When I was writing for publication, I would have other people read it before I sent it to the editor. They would pick out stuff like this all the time that I would have to fix.

  15. An interesting tidbit of info about Time-Laspes and the NCAA. I shot a time-lapse of the first round of basketball games in Omaha this weekend. We published the time-lapse on http://www.kusports.com and http://www.ljworld.com

    Two days after posting, I was covering the second round games and I got word from my colleagues that officials from the NCAA were up-in-arms about the time-lapse. They thought I had shot video of the tournament, which is prohibited. I had to try to explain time-lapse technology to an NCAA official. After only a few words, I could see his eyes glossing over. He was just too technical for him to grasp in a few minutes. Needless to say, he ended up believing me that I wasn’t siphoning their live video feed from NBC, which was his original assumption.

    Two days after the issue, we still haven’t reposted the time-lapse out of fear the NCAA might decide to pull our credentials. Strange week for time-lapses.