Dan Hume's Blog

Time lapse video
November 5, 2010, 7:14 pm
Filed under: After Effects, Future Cinema

As part of some other visuals I made, I created a time lapse video of traffic at night. This was quite a long process. I went to three different locations in Bournemouth and did about an hour of shooting for each one.

I had with me my camera, tripod and intervalometer. An intervalometer is an external device which you connect to the camera. It allows you to program your camera to take photographs at specific moments automatically. Here are some of the photographs I took from the first shoot at the roundabout, along Bath Road.


Shutter: “5

Aperture: 5.6

Interval: 4 (seconds)

The most important thing to remember when doing a time lapse photography is to roll your shutter, meaning having a longer shutter speed. This creates the blurriness of objects moving in the image. If everything in shot appears clear, then when you come to putting the video together, it doesn’t flow as well as when you capture movement in the images. The second thing to remember is to have the settings set to manuel, otherwise if you set your camera to automatic, all the images will have different exposures and the animation won’t look smooth when you playback.

I took about 430 shots at this location, which will give me roughly 30 seconds of video at 15 fps. After I had captured the photos off my camera, I opened up quicktime player and went to file, open image sequence and imported the images. There were a selection of different frame rates I could use for the video playback. I chose to use the standard video 15 fps, which always seems to work well with stop motion photography.

Here is what the video looks like:

After Effects

I imported the video into After Effects to polish it off. I added some echo effects, which makes the animation flow even smoother. I also played around with the colour balance to get this really nice green/yellow colour. I mirrored the video to see what it looked like and I really liked it. Because of the angle I was shooting at with the cars moving, mirroring the video creates a vanishing point in the centre. I did two other time lapse videos and I applied the same effect to each of them, this way when it comes to putting the three videos together on a three screen projection, it will give the illusion that the traffic from each video is passing into one another.

Final Edit:


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