Short exposure time-lapse uses a faster shutter speed to expose film to light for a brief period. By doing this, the movement is given a stop-motion look, perfect for filming animals, sports, or other fast-moving objects without capturing unnecessary blur. Long exposure is the opposite. It uses longer shutter speeds to intentionally obscure moving elements in your landscape. Long exposure time-lapse is great for capturing stars in the night sky because it collects enough light to properly record while also giving the scene an ethereal quality. However, long exposure shooting is uncommon because of how challenging it can be to expose film for such an extended period. To compensate for the additional exposure, use a neutral density filter to dull the intensity of the light, especially if shooting in daytime.
The connection between movement and time-lapse.
If you want to make a time-lapse video of a walk around a city, you’ll run into some challenges when it comes to capturing this footage. The camera would need to be static or move very short distances to show that lapsing effect. Short distances can include a consistent pan or tilt but are generally done with a motorized dolly or rig to keep the movement discreet.
A hyper-lapse video, on the other hand, isn’t subject to these same rules. Videos shot using this technique (also known as stop-motion time-lapse) have the camera move across significant distances and use long exposure to create the effect of motion blur. This is your best option to capture a journey through city streets. On the other end of the time passage effect spectrum is slow-motion. Slow-motion can be achieved by changing the playback speed to a much lower rate than it was filmed at rather than speeding it up.
How to capture time-lapse video.
As soon as Apple introduced the time-lapse feature to their camera app in 2014, time-lapse video became more popular. A technique that was once found only in video editing software is now on nearly every mobile device. So what’s the best way to make an amazing time-lapse video that stands apart from the rest? That depends on how you plan to capture the footage.
Most phones have a time-lapse feature in their camera app. Be advised: you will need to record for an extended period, as 30 minutes equates to about 10 seconds of footage. Like a video camera, you will need a tripod to steady your shots. On an iPhone, you can either film a time-lapse or stitch one together from your photo collection, all without a video editor.
Most modern video cameras, including DSLRs, feature a time-lapse mode. These cameras feature hardware or software that mimics an intervalometer, an instrument used to regulate the amount of exposure the camera lets in at set durations between frames. Some intervalometers are even attached to motion control systems that physically move the camera to specific marks while filming, giving the footage effects like pans and tilts when it is played at an average speed. Similarly to smartphones, you will need a tripod to steady your shots.