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Editing Timelapse Sequences

Timelapse sequences when edited correctly can add massive production value to your video project. Now, before you go barreling into shooting a scene with your camera of choice, in this instance I use default settings of a GoProHero5, there are some guidelines you should be aware of. When shooting anything related to the speeding up, or slowing down, of time you need to base your planning on the frame rate of your project. Whilst there is some math involved in the planning it is not that taxing.

To put it simply with timelapse all you are looking to do is to change the space between the still frames of a video sequence in order to accomplish a specific look. If you’re looking to shoot at 30fps (frames per second) for example that means that as a standard we need to have 30 images taken over a course of time that when played back over the duration of one second result in us smart humans interpreting the presented scenes as motion. As a standard it means that each shot if shooting at 30fps requires a standard interval of 1/30th of a second. The shutter speed can not be lower than 1/30th in this standard scenario. Normally in standard video for 30fps we use a shutter speed of 1/60th of a second. This accounts for the both the interval of 1/30th of a second plus the image capture at 1/30th of a second.

With timelapse we simply look to increase that interval between the still frames so when we then reassemble and play the images back at 30fps the apparent speed of any motion in the image is amplified due to the increased interval between each frame taken. This then can be customised to deliver as dramatic or suave a feel as possible to the sequence depending on the subject matter and the message the sequence is looking to portray.

With the popularity these days of ‘Vlogging’ or Video Blogging it’s fair to say that YouTube creators are looking to make their projects as dynamic as possible. Timelapse allows that to happen even for the briefest of clips. If we do the quick math for a very brief clip, say a four second appearance. If we’re shooting timelapse at 30fps that means we need at least 120 images for that four second clip, 30(fps) x 4sec = 120 frames. Now if we decide to increase the interval to show speed we only need select a 1sec interval to accomplish that for great results. In effect this means that we need 120 images with a 1sec interval or 120 seconds to acquire sufficient still frames to create that sequence. So over a two minute shoot a creator can accomplish something that carries great dynamic value to their project as opposed to a standard video sequence.

OK so you have the stills, you hit your favourite spot and nailed hard part you’ve filmed your project but now need to compile your sequence. There are some softwares out there, in fact many to choose from. Some cameras even come with their own timelapse shooting and editing solution all wrapped into one. Some smart phone apps do this, some very well, most of them are a tad shoddy though, especially when looking for seamless results. To this end I use the only real editing option out there, one that is used by most of the serious timelapse shooters out there. Sit back and relax as I take you through the stages of a simple timelapse edit using the industry standard editing option LRTimelapse.

Enjoy…

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