How to take a time lapse on a DSLR camera / by James Brown

Hi Everyone,

Welcome. This is a bit of a half post as I'm moving house in a couple of weeks and also suffering with a bad back. I will start adding more in-depth posts very soon. 

Ive added some information about time lapse have a reed below and feel free to comment. 

Time lapse can be a lot of fun, it takes a little while to get it right but once you do its easy. Below is some simple step by steps on how to go about it. 


Credit - Peter Mead

1. Choose your subject carefully

Remember time lapse can take a long time - Are you wanting to stand around for hours and hours or do a short video?

2. Length of the event

If there are big changes that happen over a short amount of time its best to shoot more often, for example every 2 seconds. (flower blossoming)

If there are small changes over a longer period of time its best to have longer intervals between shots. For example every hour. (building site)

This decision will effect how your final time lapse will look, the more often you shoot the more seamless and smooth the time lapse will be.

3. Frames & Interval

Most movies are around 24-30 frames per second; the more frames per second the smoother the movie. If we select 24 fps that would be enough to create a smooth effect.

Now we need to think about how long the movie is going to be Lets say 30 seconds. We can now use this information to find out how many frames we need to capture.

                           (24) fps x (30) seconds = (720) Frames

First you need to estimate how long the actual event lasts. For instance if something was about 4 hours long (or 14,400 seconds) this will give us the interval number. 

(14,400) seconds (length of actual event) divided by (720) frames (frames needed for final movie) = (20) second intervals between shots

4. Setting the camera

Most modern DSLR cameras have a setting that will enable you to select the frames and intervals between shots.

If your cameras does not have this setting then you will need an intervalometer, a remote that fits in to your camera which can be programmed to your needs.

5. File format

Set the file format to JPG, this will help save space on the memory card and each image is only seen for a short wile.

6. White balance

Set the cameras white balance to manual and decide what looks best. This will keep all the images looking the same. If it was left on auto white balance when light changes your camera would automatically adjust for this meaning all the images would look different.

7. Set the camera to manual

Set the camera to manual and take a light reading. You can look at the image and see if the exposure is correct just from a single image. 

8. Take the images

Don’t leave your camera on its own!

9. Edit the images

Edit the images in Lightroom adjusting the colours and any other features you wish to make. If you batch process every image will look relatively similar.

10. Start making the movie

This is the easy part. Using a free software such as time-laps-assembler will makes it very simple to do in just a few clicks. Download here: