Time-lapse photography: How to make your first time-lapse video

Time-lapse photography is the art of taking single images and combining them to create a video that shows the movement of the environment around you.

This could be the movement of clouds, stars or even the hustle and bustle of a busy city. The results can show how a scene can change dramatically over time, perhaps between different types of weather or from one season to the next. I find that time-lapse photography can tell a different story about the landscapes around us that a single image may not be able to tell.

Making videos from stills

To understand how time-lapse photography works we need to understand how videos are made.

In the world of cinema and television, when we see motion, what we’re actually seeing is single images shown one after another at a certain frame rate. Generally, this frame rate is anywhere between 24-30 frames per second, so if we watch 10 seconds of footage, what we’re actually seeing is 240-300 single images being shown very quickly to create motion.

Now, if we apply the same way of thinking to photography, all we have to do is take a certain number of images, one after the other, over a period of time. When played at, say, 25 frames per second, we will have just created a time-lapse video.

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