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Timelapse with a DSLR

Andrea Allen
December 16, 2010 by Andrea Allen PRO

Step 7 Bend the Space-Time Continuum with a Timelapse

Timelapses are one of the most popular things to do with DSLRs because the camera is first and foremost a stills camera. This means the resolution of your still images is much higher, which allows you to get some really beautiful timelapses. 

A timelapse is a period of time that is captured and played back at a much faster rate.

For your timelapse, you’ll need a timer remote, or an intervalometer. You can specify how often your intervalometer tells the camera to take a photograph so you don’t have to stand around the hit the button each time. Believe me, I’ve done that before and it’s super boring.

Be sure to check the settings and read the manual so you know the timer-remote is set up correctly -- timelapses take a lot of time, and that means a lot of time potentially wasted if you aren’t careful! So make sure to double check your settings before that eight-hour timelapse you have planned or you may return to a giant disappointment! Also, keep safety in mind when choosing your location. You’ll want to shoot in a place that’s safe to be shooting with your fancy schmancy DSLR camera for a long period of time. For instance, the middle of a freeway man not be the best place for your first timelapse.

Pro Tip: Use a crane or a dolly to get some truly epic timelapses. Watch this video example by our friend Tom Lowe who uses a Kessler Crane in this timelapse.

*E***For extra credit:** Shooting is one thing, now how do you edit it all together? Time to pop over to our Timelapse Vimeo Video School Lesson where dalas teaches you how it works.

Ready for a challenge?

Put what you just learned to the test and upload your video to the Timelapse group!

Accept this challenge
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Rod Velasquez

How many photos does one usually need to take per minute for a time lapse?

David Wicker

You need at least 24 frames per second. times 60 seconds. = 1440 frames. an hour needs 86400 frames.

Brian Coles

Can someone suggest a good software package for assembling the collection of stills into a movie?


I don't have a DSLR, I have a Canon Powershot SX50 (to paint a picture for you) is it still possible in anyway to do timelapse? I looked into the settings and haven't noticed anything.

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