Timelapse Photography for Video

I finally purchased an intervalometer / timer for my Canon 5D & 7D (fits both) as I have been dying to do some timelapse photography for video. I decided to purchase an inexpensive (made in Hong Kong) Canon knockoff off of ebay for a price of $34 delivered (The Canon TC80N3 sells for $135) and it has worked flawlessly.

What is timelapse photography for video?

You set the camera up to take a series of still-frames that are spread apart from each other in time. For example, if you had the camera take one photo per minute for 5 hours, you would end up with 300 still photographs (60 minutes x 5). If these 300 still images were played back at a standard TV frame frame of 30 frames-per-second you would have a 10-second video that represents that passing of 5 hours in time. That’s timelapse photography – for video. Some professional video cameras can also be set up to record timelapse sequences in much the same way.

Since I have a love for low-light / night photography I decided to capture stars and then show their movement in a timelapse video. This isn’t something that can be done with a video camera, since a video camera just doesn’t have the low-light sensitivity to record a night sky. In order to capture the night sky with a stills camera you need to set up the camera to capture long exposures (20-40 seconds) and then have the camera repeat this step over and over again using the intervalometer.

With my new eBay purchase in hand I headed over to the Nubble Lighthouse in Cape Neddick, Maine
where I had a perfectly dark sky each night (went 3 or 4 times this past week) – an ideal set up for capturing the night sky. The moon did rise each night but not until after 10:00 p.m., giving me a few hours to play. Since the camera could only take about 1 picture a minute based on the long exposure of each image, a 3-hour period only provides about 4-5 seconds of actual video. A lot of work for such a short final product, but when done right the results are breathtaking.

I combined some of my favorite footage from the week with other video that I captured around the Seacoast this week. These look better full-screen so feel free to enlarge them.

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