Time-lapse Trials

Where I mentioned panorama photography as a very popular type of photography a while ago, time-lapse photography is another type that has become immensely popular with the rise of digital cameras.

With time-lapse photography you take a series of images, usually at a set interval, that are later played back at a much higher frame rate, creating a video. Depending on the interval between the shots, this lets the time that passes during the video be much longer than the duration of the video – hence the name time-lapse.

A few months ago I gave it a first try and was hooked immediately. Unfortunately, it’s rather time-consuming. The shooting itself does not need to be: If you trust that you can leave your camera behind, you can just set it up, start it and come back later (however, often you have to stay with it, to guard it from rain, storm and thieves). After the shoot, you typically have a huge amount of images to process: To create a mere 10 second movie at 24 frames per second, you already need 10 x 24 = 240 images! All these images need to be uploaded, manipulated in a raw converter and then converted into a video.

So although I was hooked, I hadn’t found time to do a second trial. Last weekend however I managed to combine a game of hockey with shooting my second time-lapse. It’s a series of 524 images, played back at 12.5 frames per second. I used Lightroom 3 and LRTimelapse to create the video.¬†Given the relatively long interval, the first bit of the timelapse works better than the actual gameplay, but I thought it was a fun and suitable set for getting some practice with the LR and LRTimelapse workflow, including the (new) smooth crop function the latter now offers.

Once the video was created, I combined it with a FreePlayMusic track in Windows Moviemaker, where I also added a title and credits. Unfortunately I don’t have any better video editing software at the moment. For this basic trial I didn’t need it either, but if you can recommend any freeware, let me know. In the near future I hope to own a DSLR with video options, at which point I will need a bit more serious editing software.

To watch the video click here. Don’t feel silly when you clicked the screenshot several times before, you’re probably not the only one ;).

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Eyes on the puck!

If you wonder why there haven’t been any posts in the last week: I was busy enjoying the winter. I have the privilege of working in an office less than a hundred meters from a lake, which was frozen for the last couple of weeks.

Besides playing a bit myself, I took a few shots while recovering from all the aches that come with skating (mostly the falling bit). Here an image showing players doing what hockey players are always supposed to do: Keeping the eyes on the puck.

Although this isn’t a particularly good image, it does illustrate nicely how one can use composition, posture and lines to lead the viewers’ eye. If you didn’t spot the puck initially, chances are that the eyes of the players, all looking in the same direction, as well as the sticks, lead you right to it. So without having the puck in the center of the image, it does become (a) focus of the image.

The player coming from the right didn’t make it into this frame. Although one could argue that this makes the image less complete, at the same time just seeing the stick coming from the right creates some tension in the image. It keeps the viewer guessing as to who stole the puck from the pack on the left and what will happen next.