Time-Lapse Photography Made Simple: A Step-by-Step Guide (2017 ed.)

A free step by step tutorial covering the fundamental aspects to create your time-lapse video, from the equipment down to the final assembly!

What is the Time Lapse Network project?

Welcome to Time-lapse Network, a community dedicated to the fascinating technique of time-lapse.

The Time-lapse Network provides its readers with the most complete free tutorial available on-line that illustrates to you clearly how to create a time-lapse video, step-by-step.

We remind you that all the information and resources that you can find on these pages are offered for free, so it’s crucial for us that you support the project Time Lapse Network – by simply sharing our tutorials on Social Networks like Facebook if you like our articles.

Thanks in advance for your support!

Introduction to the time-lapse technique

Imagine this page as your ‘Starting Point’ and begin here your guided learning journey towards time-lapse photography.

Step by step this free tutorial we will cover all the fundamental aspects that will help you to achieve your first time-lapse video, from the equipment needed down to the final assembly of the final clip.

Let’s get started!

What is a time-lapse video?

Time-lapse is a cinematic technique in which each frame of the final movie is captured in a certain amount of time (which is why it is called ‘time-lapse’) that is longer than the one in which it appears.

Thanks to this method of capture of the scene we are able to speed up the time that passes to such an extent that we can illustrate something that would not normally be noticeable (for example:  the relative motion of the stars;  the simple movement of the clouds; the melting of ice cubes in a glass of orange juice, and so on.)

The technique of time-lapse is capable of producing fantastic results, and its application can cover anything from nature documentaries to the realisation of a business clip or to the simple telling of a story.

A time-lapse video example: here’s what you will learn to do!

Your guide starts here. By following our time-lapse tutorial on the Time Lapse Network, and practicing, you can produce some superb results.

Here are a few examples of Time-lapse projects to show you what you will be able to achieve

Now that you are truly motivated, we are ready to get started!

Time-Lapse photography Made Simple: a step-by-step guide

If this is your first attempt at time-lapse photography, then this is the place to be.

First things first, so let’s begin with the basics:

  1. What do you need to create a time lapse video?
    The basic equipment necessary to create a time-lapse is a camera, an intervalometer, tripod and appropriate software
  2. How to create a time-lapse video: step-by-step
    Now that you have the equipment you can get started with your photographic adventure. Decide on the subject to portray, prepare your camera and get ready to go!
  3. Indicative table of exposure times and intervals for time-lapse
    So you have assembled all of the basic information to create your first time-lapse. Just before you get started, look at this very interesting table of values. Whilst they may only be indicative, they can save you time in a lot of situations, depending upon the subject that you want to portray.
  4. A complete guide to the post-production of a time-lapse video (SDR)
    Now that you have the knowledge to shoot a great time lapse video, it is time to focus on the final post-production of a SDR time-lapse video (some would call them “normal” time lapses, compared to HDR time-lapse videos for which we have a dedicated advanced tutorial too)
  5. Why should you create time-lapse stories, not just sequences
    An interesting essay written exclusively for Time Lapse Network by Gary Yost, a filmmaker and photographer worldwide known as leader of the team that created Autodesk 3DS Max.
  6. 10 things you must NOT do when shooting a time-lapse (+ 3 extra tips!)
    Multi-award winning professional photographer and time-lapse expert Enrique Pacheco reveals the top 10 mistakes people should avoid when shooting a time-lapse.

Advanced time-lapse photography techniques

Now that you have read and understood the basic concepts described in our guide and carried out a little practice, you are ready to move to the next step.

Share with us a whole series of advanced theoretical and practical concepts that you should read in this order:

Time-Lapse Video Post-Production guides

How to make a HDR time-lapse

How to create astro time-lapse (AKA Milky way time-lapse)

How to create a hyper-lapse video

How to make Long term time-lapse videos

  • How to shoot a long term time-lapse
    Long term time-lapse is time-lapse photography captured from a single vantage point over a period of days, months or even years. As the name suggests, it’s simply a time-lapse project that goes for a long time!

Other advanced Time-Lapse free tutorials

Now is the time to push yourself even further, and these advanced guides will show you how:

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