DLC Awesomeness Caught on Video

Here’s a look at activity at the DLC over the final weeks of the semester: workshops, group meetings, staff activities, audio recording, and a visit from a team on a scavenger hunt!

Make your own! 

A time-lapse video is a collection of still photographs played in succession to make a video.  It’s a hybrid in between animation and live action.  The look of the video is affected by the interval in which photos are taken (every second, every minute, every hour, etc.) , and the speed at which frames are shown (10 frames/second, 15 frames/second, 24 frames/second, etc.).

There are various ways to make time-lapses, and they can be done with all kinds of cameras.  There are even time-lapse functions for the most recent smart phones.  The tools you use will determine how easy it is to produce your video, the amount of control you have, and the quality of the final product.

For the DLC time-lapse, this was the set-up:

Camera:  Canon 5dMkii DSLR on a tripod, “tethered” via USB to a MacBook Air

Software:

  • Image Capture (for taking the photos)
  • Quicktime 7 Pro (to create the image sequence)
  • iMovie (for compiling each sequence into one video, adding pan effects, and
  • adding the soundtrack)

Settings:  

  • Capture:  1 photo every 3 seconds
  • Playback:  24 frames per second
  • Duration:  approximately 8 hours (over 4 sessions)

Keep in mind that you will potentially be taking thousands of photos and need plenty of space on your camera’s memory card or computer hard drive.  (And you want a fully-charged camera battery)

1 photo every 3 seconds = 20 photos per minute

20 photos per minute = 1200 photos per hour

1200 photos per hour = 9600 photos over 8 hours

9600 photos at 24 frames/second = 6 minutes, 40 seconds of video (which can then be edited down further.  The DLC time-lapse is 1 minute, 30 seconds from 8 hours of photography.  Did you really want to watch 3 minutes of Evelyn working at her computer?)

Camera

If you’re very patient and dedicated, you can use any camera to make a time-lapse video.  All you have to do is be willing to take many photos at a regular interval, so you could sit there and push the shutter button over and over; then import them into your computer and compile the time-lapse.  Fortunately, there is technology to do this for you! 

Point-and-shoot and DSLR cameras can be connected (tethered) to a computer for taking photos, with software that lets you set the timing, then takes the photos automatically.  (More on time-lapse software below). 

One important factor on camera choice is that manual mode is *highly recommended* for time-lapse videos.  You want consistency between each photo, and if your camera is on auto mode, it will make adjustments between shots which will result in a distracting flicker in your video.  It doesn’t mean that you can’t make a time-lapse in auto mode, but be prepared for it to look less polished than it would in manual mode. 

The need for consistency also means you need to use a tripod.  The camera needs to stay in the same place for every shot (unless you are ambitious enough to try a manual pan with a slider).

There is a device for DSLR cameras called an intervalometer that is a remote shutter with the capability to set a camera to take photos at a regular interval.  Take the photos and save them in your camera, then import them into your computer.

Software

Taking your photos: If you have a Mac, here’s good news:  your computer has an application already installed that can set up time-lapse photography.  It’s called Image Capture, which is in your applications folder.  Plug your camera in via USB or another connection method your camera uses, open Image Capture, set up a time interval, click a button to take pictures, and it will go to work.  After you have your photos, import them, and you will be ready to put together the time-lapse.

[There are other applications, including free programs, that can do the same thing on both Mac and Windows operating systems.] 

Compiling your photos:  You need a way to put all of your photos into video format.  The DLC video was done with QuickTime 7 Pro ($30), because it gives you control over the frame playback rate.  It can be done in iMovie, but there is a limit in that you can only go as fast as 10 frames per second.  In QuickTime 7 Pro, you can open an image sequence (all those photos you took) and save it as a movie file. 

Windows Movie Maker, Adobe Premiere, and Sony Vegas are other software applications that let you convert your folder full of photos into video.  Some applications may be available for free.

Editing your video:  You might have multiple image sequences you want to put together, or maybe there is a part you want to cut out of the video you made by compiling your photos.  You can use the software that’s already been mentioned to make your edits, add titles or music, and create a complete video.

For more information:

Use your privileges as a MIIS student at lynda.com:

http://www.lynda.com/DSLR-Video-tutorials/Time-Lapse-Photography-Workshop/123486-2.html

See this earlier DLC post on iMovie:

http://sites.miis.edu/dlc/2015/04/21/what-you-really-want-to-do-is-direct-imovie-workshop-recap/