How to Shoot Time Lapse Photography

You’ve probably seen some super cool time lapse videos and wondered what it would take to start shooting time lapse photography of your own. Well, it’s actually a lot easier than you may think! The easiest way to capture time lapse photography is by using a phone with a good camera, which is something you might already have. For professional-quality time lapses, you’ll need a good DSLR camera, a sturdy tripod, and the right accessories. Once you decide on the equipment to use, you need to pick a good subject, set up your gear for the shot, and program the right intervals to get the images you need to make your very own time lapse video.

EditUsing a Phone Camera for Basic Time Lapses
Select the time lapse mode in your phone’s camera app. Most smart phones these days have a time lapse mode in the camera app. Open up the app and scroll through the different modes until you find it.[1]
Keep in mind that the time lapse mode on your phone has few or no settings that you can adjust. If you want more control, then you will need to download a time lapse app instead.

Set your phone in a stable place so it won’t move while you record. A tripod with a phone mount is the ideal stabilizer for your phone. Prop your phone up against something that won’t move if you don’t have a phone tripod.[2]
If you are outside, keep in mind wind and other factors that could move your phone during recording.

Make sure you have a full battery if you plan on shooting for a long time so your phone doesn’t die in the middle of your time lapse!

Hit record and leave your phone in place for as long as you want to record. Record longer periods for slower moving objects, and shorter periods for faster moving objects. The number of frames captured per second by your phone will depend on how long you record for.[3]
For example, if you are shooting slow moving clouds, then your time lapse will look much better if you record for 20 minutes vs. for 5 minutes.

The frame rate drops the longer you shoot, so the length of the video will not vary greatly if you shoot for 10 minutes compared with if you shoot for 40 minutes. Most time lapse videos shot with phones are 20-40 seconds long, regardless of how long you shoot for.

Download a 3rd party time lapse app if you want more settings to play with. 3rd party apps offer you much more control over settings like exposure, frame rate, white balance, video speed, and even let you set a timer or add filters. Search the app store for your model of smart phone, download a few time lapse apps, and experiment them to find one that you like.[4]
Some examples of nice time lapse apps are Framelapse, Lapse It, Microsoft Hyperlapse, Hyperlapse from Instagram, TimeLapse, iTimeLapse Pro, iMotion, and OSnap!. Some of these apps even have other features like letting you shoot stop motion videos or add audio.

EditSetting up Professional Equipment
Use a DSLR camera to shoot the best time lapse photography. DSLR cameras are by far the most professional way to capture time lapse shots. They are easiest to connect to an intervalometer (or even have one built in) and have the most options of settings that you can adjust for shooting in all kinds of scenarios.[5]
DSLR stands for Digital Single-Lens Reflex. These types of cameras offer the most bang for your buck and are far and away the best option on the market for photographers who want to take professional photos.

Choose a subject with movement. The whole point of a time lapse video is to see movement sped up over time. Walk around the area to find the best framing and composition for your shot.[6]
Pick somewhere to shoot that will have lots of interesting movement to capture for your time lapse video. For example, a sky with lots of moving clouds, a busy intersection, crowds of people, a sunrise, or a sunset are all good options for time lapse videos.

Keep the “rule of thirds” in mind when picking the location to frame your shot. In other words, look at the frame of your shot as a grid of 9 squares. Try to compose it so that the most interesting parts are at the intersections of the squares on this imaginary grid.

Select a stable tripod to hold your camera steady while shooting. You need a heavy tripod that won’t shake in the wind. This will ensure that your camera stays as still as possible while shooting your time lapse so all the shots are the same. [7]
Your camera will be in the same position for up to 2 hours, so make sure to use the heaviest tripod you can get your hands on.

While shooting, you can stabilize your tripod even further by hanging your camera bag from it or placing rocks around the legs to hold them in place.

Use a memory card of at least 32GB with a write speed of 50MB/s or more. Your camera will be working hard and taking a lot of images for your time lapse. A large and fast memory card will reduce the buffer time to allow your camera to quickly process each image before the next shot.[8]
The shorter your intervals between shots, the more important this is.

Put a battery grip on your camera to avoid a dead battery. Battery grips let you use 2 batteries at the same time. Your battery will drain much faster during time lapse photography, so having 2 batteries connected at once will help you avoid having to change the battery while shooting.
If you don’t have or can’t use a battery grip for your camera, then at least carry a fully-charged spare battery that you can quickly swap into the camera if the battery dies during your shoot.[9]

Use an ND filter if you have one to control exposure. Neutral density filters help increase motion blur and still capture sharp images. This will ensure the highest quality shots for your time lapse video.[10]
If you don’t have an ND filter, you can experiment with underexposing shots by 1-2 stops, but this will decrease some of the image quality and you will have to recover it in editing.

EditAdjusting Camera Settings and Capturing Footage
Focus the camera’s lens on your subject. Manually focus the camera’s lens on subjects of interest you want to capture in the time lapse video. Focus the lense to infinity if you are using a wide angle lens, or focus on specific elements in other cases.[11]
For example, if you are shooting a sky with moving clouds, then manually adjust the lens so that the clouds are fully in focus. If you are shooting at an intersection, then adjust the lens so that the cars at the intersection are most in focus.

Set your camera to manual mode. You need to shoot in manual exposure mode to create quality time lapse videos. Your camera will try to adjust for every slight change of light if you use automatic and you will end up with too much variation in your images.[12]
When you shoot time lapse photography in manual mode, you should to set ISO to 100 with aperture at f/11.

Shoot RAW files instead of JPEG. RAW files allow you the most flexibility when editing your video. With JPEG files you are pretty much stuck with what you get.[13]
You will export your RAW files as JPEGs later, after editing, to turn them into the time lapse video.

Hook up an intervalometer to your camera to trigger the time lapse shots. Some cameras have a built-in intervalometer, in which case you won’t need to buy an external one. Get a remote intervalometer that is compatible with your camera if it doesn’t have a built-in one.[14]
Some built-in intervalometers have the advantage that they let you program a start time, so you could even begin shooting when you are not right next to the camera.

Set the time lapse interval according to your subject. Use a longer interval for slow moving subjects and a shorter interval for fast moving subjects. 1-5 seconds is a good general interval range for most time lapse subject matter.[15]
Use 1-second intervals for fast moving subjects such as traffic or fast moving clouds.

Use a 3-5 second interval for things like slower moving clouds, crowds of people, sunsets, and sunrises.

Longer intervals of 15-30 seconds can be used to shoot things over longer periods of time, like the sun moving across the sky or construction projects. Keep in mind that it takes about 1 hour to shoot enough images for a 30-second time lapse video at 5-second intervals, so a 30-second video shot at 30-second intervals would take you 6 hours to shoot.

For extremely slow moving subjects, such as growing plants, use intervals of 10 minutes or more.

Shoot for 250 frames for every 10 seconds of video you want. 25 frames creates 1 second of video. Set your intervalometer to capture the required number of frames at the chosen intervals, click “start”, and leave it alone for the whole time it is shooting.[16]
For example, if you want to make a 20-second video of traffic at a busy intersection, then you would need to shoot 500 frames. Since you would be using 1-second intervals for this type of movement, it would only take you 500 seconds to get all the footage you need for your 20-second video.

If you don’t know how many frames you need or want, then set your intervalometer to “infinity” so it will just keep shooting until you stop it.

If you want to do heavy editing, then it’s a good idea to take an extra 100-200 frames to give you some extra to work with.

EditCompiling the Footage
Upload your images to a photo editing software program and edit them. Edit 1 of the images to your liking, and then copy the edits to all the other images you are going to use in your time lapse video so they are all the same. Export the images as JPEG files when you are done editing.[17]
Adobe Lightroom is the most popular photo editing software, but you can use whatever you know and are comfortable with.

Other options include Affinity Photo, Capture One Pro, ON1 Photo Raw, Luminar, and DxO Photo Lab.

Use time lapse assembling software to put the images together in a video. There are lots of free or paid options for putting together time lapse videos. Find one that you like, upload the images, then set the frames-per-second to 25 to create your time lapse video.[18]
LR Time Lapse is an example of a plugin for Adobe Lightroom that you can use to assemble your video. Another option is putting it together in Adobe Photoshop.

Free tools include Time Lapse Assembler for Mac and the Startrails app for PC.

Use video editing software if you want to add music or special effects. Import the video to a video editing software program. Add the final touches to your video then export the final copy to share with the world![19]
Some examples of software you can use to add music and other effects are Final Cut Pro, Adobe Premiere, Windows Movie Maker, and iMovie.

Save and export your completed video file. The process will vary slightly depending on the software you used to edit your video. In most programs you simply need to click on File, then Export, and choose the desired video format.[20]
The best video format to select for general use is MP4, which uses MPEG-4 or H.264 video encoding to compress the file. When you export your video as an MP4 file, the resolution and frame rate will stay the same as when you imported the files.

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Today in History for 1st May 2019

Historical Events

1863 – Hospital for the Ruptured and Crippled first opens its doors
1884 – Catcher Moses Walker is acknowledged as the first African-American to play major league baseball joining the Toledo Blue Stockings
1944 – Surprise attack on Weteringschans Amsterdam, fails
1963 – Gloria Steinem’s expose on Playboy bunny working conditions published in “Show” magazine
1991 – West Indian batsman Gordon Greenidge plays his last Test innings, scoring 43 vs Australia in Antigua
2017 – Billy Corgan agrees to purchase the National Wrestling Alliance (NWA)

More Historical Events »

Famous Birthdays

1545 – Franciscus Junius, French-Dutch calvinist theologist and vicar, born in Bourges, France (d. 1602)
1942 – Jean Saubert, American alpine ski racer (Giant Slalom silver, Slalom bronze medal 1964 Olympics), born in Roseburg, Oregon (d. 2007)
1946 – Nick Fortuna, American rock bassist (The Buckinghams), born in Chicago, Illinois
1955 – Nick Feldman, English musician
1971 – Ethan Albright, NFL long snapper (Pro Bowl 2007), born in Greensboro, North Carolina
1985 – Drew Sidora, American actress

More Famous Birthdays »

Famous Deaths

1965 – Spike Jones [Lindley Armstrong Jones], American bandleader (Der Fueher’s Face, Cocktails For Two), dies from emphysema at 53
1968 – Jack Adams, Canadian NHL center, coach and general manager (Hockey Hall of Fame), dies at 73
1981 – Clarence A Bacote, historian/political scientist, dies at 75
1984 – Gordon Jenkins, orchestra leader (NBC Comedy Hour), dies at 73
1992 – Sharon Redd, American house music and urban contemporary singer (b. 1945)
2010 – Rob McConnell, Canadian jazz composer/arranger and valve trombonist (b. 1935)

More Famous Deaths »

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How to Run a Marathon

Running a marathon is a remarkable athletic achievement. Whether you’re a world-class runner or a beginner, running a marathon is a serious commitment. Training is an essential, long-term process, so give yourself at least 3-6 months to gradually build your endurance, or longer if you’re not already in good running shape. Your body will need lots of fuel, so eat a high-carb, high-protein diet, and drink plenty of fluids to stay hydrated. Above all, remain positive, have fun, and be proud of yourself for taking on this intense challenge!

EditDeveloping a Training Program
Begin training at least 16-24 weeks before the marathon. Register for the marathon and start training at least 6 months before race day. Even for experienced athletes, running a marathon requires lots of preparation, and proper training is a key part of injury prevention.[1]
Keep in mind you should already have experience with long-distance running before attempting a marathon. Marathon training plans generally assume you already run 3 times per week and can run for around at a time.

Specific requirements vary by race. In general, you need to be able to run a total of per week and have previously run 5K and 10K races. Some races also have minimum qualifying times.[2]
If don’t regularly run long distances, check with your doctor before starting a new exercise routine.

Run 3 training sessions per week with alternating difficulties. There are a variety of marathon training plans, but they share a few basic elements. To increase your stamina gradually and avoid injury, run 3 times per week with a rest day between each session. Do a long distance run just once a week, and focus on speed and pacing on the other days. For instance:[3]
Tuesday: Run a total of 8 alternating 200 m to 400 m intervals at jogging and sprint speeds. Your target intensity for speed day is 80 to 100% of your max heart rate.

Thursday: Run at a brisk, mid-tempo pace, starting at in the first week of training. Your target intensity is about 70% of your max heart rate.

Saturday: Run a slow-tempo pace, starting at in the first week of training. For long run day, your target intensity is about 60% of your max heart rate.

To calculate your max heart rate, subtract your age from 220. Wear a fitness monitor to keep track of your heart rate as you run.[4]

Warm up and cool down before and after your runs. Walk briskly or jog lightly for 5 to 10 minutes to get your body ready for exercise. After a run, walk or jog for another 5 to 10 minutes to ease your body back to a resting state.[5]
Warming up and cooling down can help prevent injury and leg cramps. Stretching your legs after a run can also help your muscles recover.

Increase your distances by 10% to 20% per week for about 10 weeks. Increasing distances too quickly is a common mistake. Instead, run at each tempo for gradually longer distances. For instance, add to your long day until you can run for .[6]
If you miss a training session, don’t try to run on back-to-back days. If you miss a week, don’t try to double up your distances the next week.

Every month or so, go easy on yourself and run the distances you ran in week 1. Your body will need extra recovery time as you increase the time you spend on your legs.[7]

Enter 5K, 10K, and half-marathon races during training. Running shorter races can help you learn what to expect on an actual race day. Look online for races and incorporate them as long run days in your training program.[8]
Don’t run more than 3 half-marathons in a 6-month period and don’t run any races within 3 weeks of the marathon.

Incorporating shorter events in your program will help you know what to expect on race day. From check-in logistics to adrenaline rushes, races involve variables that you can’t plan for simply by running on your own.

Decrease your distances by 25% to 50% per week in the last 3 weeks. Taper your training sessions toward the end of the program so you’ll be fully recovered and ready for the big day. Marathon training plans are usually at least 16 weeks; your longest run should take place around week 13. Scale down weeks 14 and 15, then do 1 to 2 light 15 to 30-minute runs during week 16.[9]
For example, if you got to a peak long day run of in week 13, run on long day in week 14, and in week 15.

Don’t run the day before the race. Remember to keep your runs light during week 16.

EditFueling Your Body
Refuel with a healthy snack or meal within 15 minutes after a run. To promote muscle recovery, eat right after you’ve finished running. That goes for training sessions and the big race. Go for high-carb or high-protein items, such as fruit, yogurt, whole grain bread, brown rice, legumes, poultry, and fish.[10]
Never go more than 90 minutes after a run without eating. Your muscles refuel most efficiently soon after strenuous activity.

Maintain a diet packed with complex carbohydrates during training. Healthy, high-carb foods should comprise about 60 to 70% of your diet. For a 2500 calorie diet, that means you should consume 1500 to 1750 calories, or about 375 to 440 grams of carbs per day. Good sources of complex carbs include fruits, veggies, beans, brown rice, and whole grain bread and pasta.[11]
High-carb options could include a whole grain bagel with egg and cheese for breakfast, a whole grain pasta salad for lunch, pieces of fruit and nuts for snacks, and sides of brown rice and steamed veggies at dinner.

Complex carbs supply your muscles with glycogen, which is a substance your body uses to store energy and deliver it to muscles.

Eat at least of protein per day. Go for lean protein sources, such as poultry, fish, and legumes. As a rule of thumb, runners require about 1.5 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight (about 0.7 grams per pound).[12]
For example, a runner who weighs would need about 4 ounces (119 grams) of protein per day. A serving of chicken breast, a salmon fillet, 1 cup (172 g) of steamed soybeans, and 2 large eggs would meet that daily need.

Overlooking protein requirements is a common mistake among runners. Protein is needed for muscle strength and durability. Many protein-rich foods also contain iron, and consuming too little iron leads to muscle fatigue.

Monitor your urine to make sure you’re staying hydrated. As a rule of thumb, try to drink about at least of fluids per day. The exact amount you need to drink depends on a variety of factors, and your urine is the best way to gauge your hydration level. You’re hydrated if it’s light in color, and you’re dehydrated if it’s darker.[13]
During a run, aim to drink about every 15 to 20 minutes. Never wait until you’re thirsty to drink; if you’re thirsty, you’re already dehydrated.

Consume a healthy meal and of fluids before the race. To hydrate your body on race day, drink of water or a sports drink 2 hours before the race’s start time. An hour before the race, eat a 300-calorie, high-carb, low fat meal to boost your energy reserves.[14]
For example, have a whole grain bagel with peanut butter and a banana or pasta with chicken and zucchini.

Be sure to avoid items that might upset your stomach. If, for instance, dairy products give you trouble, steer clear of yogurt, milk, or cheese on race day.

EditRunning a Successful Race
Get plenty of sleep during the week of the marathon. Do your best to sleep for at least 7 to 9 hours of sleep each night leading up to the race. You might be anxious or excited the night before the race and find it hard to sleep. If you get plenty of rest in the days prior, a restless night before the race will have less of an impact.[15]
Set aside 1 to 2 hours before bed to do a relaxing activity, like reading or listening to soothing music. Do your best to keep your mind off of the race, day-to-day responsibilities, and any other sources of anxiety.

Keep your room quiet and dark and, if possible, set the temperature to around .

Don’t drink caffeine in the evening, and avoid eating a heavy meal within 3 to 4 hours of going to bed. Before bedtime, have a healthy snack packed with complex carbs, like cheese and whole grain crackers, whole grain cereal, or a banana.

Check the weather forecast and dress appropriately. If it’ll be cold, dress in layers that you can remove as necessary. In hot weather, wear breathable, lightweight, and light-colored clothing.[16]
Go for moisture-wicking fabrics, especially if it’s chilly. Avoid fabrics that trap moisture, such as cotton. Trapped moisture in cool weather can give you the chills.

If you need to shed layers on the run, wear clothing that you’re okay with losing or leaving by the side of the road. It’s a good idea to ask loved ones to stand at designated spots in case you need a quick change of clothes or socks.

Pack a runner’s belt and bag with your essentials. Assemble energy bars or gels, water, sunscreen, your fitness monitor (if you use one), sunglasses, a change of clothes, and any other necessities the night before so you’re not scrambling on race day. Pack items that you’ll need on you during the race, such as the fitness monitor and energy packets, in the belt. Store supplies you’ll need before and after the marathon in a bag or backpack.[17]
If necessary, make arrangements with a friend or relative to hold onto your stuff while you run.

Check the marathon website beforehand and make sure bags are allowed. You may only be allowed to store items in a clear plastic bag.

Arrive to the race early and check in as directed. To keep your nerves in control, wake up early and give yourself plenty of time to eat, get to the check-in area, and mentally prepare yourself for the race. Give yourself at least 15 to 30 minutes extra time to account for traffic, trouble parking, or other variables. When you arrive, head to the designated check-in area to register and receive your number.[18]

Pace yourself, especially during the first . Your adrenaline levels will spike on race day, and that rush can cause you to push too hard at the start. Use your excitement to stay motivated, but keep it under control. Remain conscious of your pacing, check your heart rate, and hold back in the first half of the race to conserve energy.[19]
During training, you’ll get a feel for the length of time you can stay on your legs and the pace you need to keep in order to stay in the race. Track your minutes per mile or kilometer closely to stay on target.

For the average runner with a goal to finish in 4 hours, the target pace in the first half of a marathon is 8 minutes and 30 seconds (5:16 per km).

Slow your pace toward the end of the race to avoid overexertion. Try to maintain your pace or slow it a bit up to mile 20 (32 km). Then slow down 30 seconds to a minute to push through the last leg. If, for instance, you’re aiming for a 4-hour time, try to run at 9 minutes 30 seconds per mile (5:54 per km) from mile 20 (32 km) until the finish line.[20]
Additionally, make sure you’ve fueled up with energy bars or gels by the race’s midpoint. If you don’t eat something until mile 18 (29 km), you’ll crash by mile 20 (32 km).

Use positive visualizations to stay motivated. Keep your goal in mind, picture yourself crossing the finish line, and imagine the joy and pride you’ll feel. Channel energy from spectators and use their cheering to push forward. If you feel like you’re hitting a wall, stay positive and visualize yourself blasting through it.[21]
Above all, have fun. Enjoy the challenge, and take pride in the fact that you’re pushing yourself to your limits!

Know the course you’ll run as well as possible, including how many hills it has, how long they are, and how steep they are. That way, you can make sure you’re training properly.

Always replace your running shoes after you’ve ran in them. Make sure your gear is broken in on race day; never wear brand new shoes to a race.[22]
Find out in advance if you’ll need a friend or relative to hold onto your car keys and other belongings while you run.[23]
Running with friends or joining a running club can help you stay motivated during training.[24]
During a long-distance run, isotonic beverages or sports drinks will replace salts lost in sweat and hydrate you more effectively than water.[25]
Find out in advance what kind of drinks and food will be available on the course. You may need to bring your own energy bars or gels, but the race will probably supply water or sports drinks.[26]
To avoid chafing, rub petroleum jelly on your thighs, chest, and underarms.[27]
Once you finish the marathon, remember to eat a high-carb, high-protein snack or meal within 15 to 30 minutes.[28]
Never ignore or try to push through pain, swelling, redness, or any other signs of injury. To avoid a chronic injury or complications, see a doctor promptly if you experience any concerning symptoms.[29]
Remember to build your endurance gradually. If you’re not used to strenuous activity or long-distance running, consult your doctor before you begin training.

EditRelated wikiHows
Eat Right for a Fitness Program

Train for a Half Marathon

Begin Running

Run Longer

Improve Your Stride

Prepare for a Marathon (Novice)

Prepare for a Marathon (Advanced)

Run Faster

EditQuick Summary
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