About TimeLapse Photography

You have undoubtedly seen many examples of Timelapse Photography – it is used extensively in advertising, on TV and even in movies.

Timelapse provides a way to view an activity at a faster speed than how it occurs in real life.

Time-lapse photography is a technique where the frequency at which frames (photos) are captured is lower than that used to play the sequence back. When the sequence of images is played at normal speed, time appears to be moving faster and thus lapsing. For example, if an an image is captured once every second, then played back at 30 frames per second – the result is an apparent 30 × speed increase.  One minute worth of photos would be displayed in just 2 seconds (or 1hr would be displayed in 120 seconds)

Timelapse videos speed up the action – with photos being taken over an extended period and played back in a much shorter timescale – so everything seems to go faster than real life.

Very impressive timelapse videos can be achieved relatively easily with a standard DSLR and a few cheap accessories (and a lot of patience).

Some traditional subjects of timelapse photography include:

  • cloudscapes and star motion
  • plants growing and flowers opening
  • fruit (and other things not so pleasant) rotting
  • evolution of a construction project
  • people in a city or at an event

The effect of photographing a subject that changes imperceptibly slowly, creates a smooth impression of motion. A subject that changes quickly is transformed into a rush of activity.


Slow Motion

You have also probably seen slow motion videos – where photos are taken at a VERY fast rate, but played back more slowly.  This can dramatically slow down  or even freeze the action. Time-lapse photography can be considered the opposite of high speed or slow motion photography.

Slow Motion photography has traditionally required fairly sophisticated (and usually expensive) equipment – although the GoPro Hero can achieve great results at a great price.