A free step by step tutorial covering the fundamental aspects to create your time-lapse video, from the equipment down to the final assembly!
Before we start, there is something you should know.
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:
- 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
- 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!
- 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.
- 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)
- 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.
- 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
- What is flickering, how to avoid it and how to correct it
Almost certainly your time-lapse video, when played, will suffer from an annoying continuous micro change in exposure that is called ‘flickering’. This is a very common problem so don’t worry. It can be corrected by the use of specific software. In this guide, we discover what causes this flickering, how to prevent it and most importantly, how to stop it.
- Basic Workflow for time lapse processing with LRTimelapse
The software LRTimelapse is the most popular solution readily available to quickly eliminate the annoying flickering problem in time-lapse. Here we provide a complete guide to using it.
- LRTimelapse 4 Video Tutorials: the Basics and Holy Grail
Learn the basics of the most famous tool for time-lapse photography, LRTimelapse by watching these free video tutorials. Master it by learning more complex techniques like the full automated 3-way ramping of shutter time, ISO and aperture for transitions.
- How to create a time-lapse in Adobe After Effects
If you have digested the whole sequence of the Lightroom section before, after following through with the LRTimelapse you are now ready to assemble your video. This guide teaches you how to do so using the software called Adobe After Effects.
- How to Remove flickering with TLTools
The software programme TLTools is the free solution most loved by the community of the Time Lapse Italia, which helps to remove flickering in time-lapse. Here we provide a complete guide to the use of this program, developed by our friend (and genius) ‘Mamo’.
- How to remove the flickering for free on Mac with TLTools
TLTools can be also installed on a Mac, allowing you to remove for free flickering in time-lapse even if you do not own a PC equipped with Windows.
- How to remove flickering with MSU Deflicker for Virtual Dub
MSU Deflicker is a free plug-in for Virtual Dub software. Give it a try!
How to make a HDR time-lapse
- A complete Guide to the post-production of HDR video time-lapse
HDR photography allows you to create spectacular effects, which combined with the time-lapse, can generate a video of undoubted effect. For instance, look at some of the HDR time-lapse video reviewed on our website.
Creating HDR time-lapse requires a different way of looking at your workflow, and in this guide we will show you how to tackle this.
How to create astro time-lapse (AKA Milky way time-lapse)
- Motion star time-lapse: a step-by-step guide (incl. Video Tutorial)
Astrophotography is one of the most spectacular forms of photography there is. Learn how to do it and add motion to it using the Syrp Genie from the award winning photographer and time-lapse filmmaker Mark Gee, and master the Lightroom + LRTimelapse workflow too!
- How to create a time-lapse of the Milky Way
Let’s focus now on the astronomical aspects of a time-lapse video: in this free guide you will learn the tricks that will allow you to include the starry sky (and perhaps the Milky Way itself) in your next time-lapse
How to create a hyper-lapse video
- Hyperlapse Tutorial: how to make a time-lapse in motion
By using the word hyper-lapse, we mean that type of time-lapse made in motion in a physical space, very broadly, without the aid of a slider/motorised dolly. If you do not know what we’re talking about, you can take a look at any of these fantastic hyperlapse videos. This guide will teach you how to design your own
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:
- A beginner’s guide to drive-lapse (or “car time-lapse”)
The following tutorial will show you the basics to learn how to create a drive lapse sequence from your car.
- Motion Day-to-Night Traffic Urban time-lapse made easy: a step-by-step guide (+ Video)
This detailed Day-to-Night Traffic Timelapse video tutorial includes Mark’s tips for finding the right location, setting up your equipment, including motion control, and how to take your freshly shot timelapse through the editing process in Adobe Lightroom and LRTimelapse Pro.
- Magic Lantern: what it is, how to install it and what improvements it provides
Magic Lantern is an open platform for the development of new features for Canon DSLR cameras, and expands the limits of your Canon SLR way beyond your imagination.
- Flow Motion tutorial: how to create a flowing hyper-lapse video
A flow motion video can be seen as the ultimate level in the hyperlapse technique. Know what it is, watch an example and learn how you can do it!