Timelapse video is great. Overrused, maybe, but that's because it's both easy to do and effective. Timelapse sequences can be used to support the narrative of your film, conveying a sense of the passage of time, but more often than not, the justification for using timelapse is that it simply looks amazing, as this beautiful film by TSO Photography demonstrates.
Shooting timelapse is one of those skills that's very easy to learn, yet takes a lifetime to master. The simplest way to achieve a timelapse effect is to shoot a scene with your video camera "locked off" on a tripod or resting still on a wall. You can then speed up the footage in your editing software. This technique is fine for the kind of filler shots that you see on news reports: clouds moving behind a skyscraper, people buzzing round a shopping centre, that kind of thing. It's the easiest way to do it, but the disadvantage is that you can only film so much before your tape, memory card or hard drive fill up.
A far better way to do it is to shoot individual frames every few seconds, minutes, hours or even days, and then play these back at standard video frame rates (usually 24 - 30 frames per second). To do this you need a video camera that has the built-in functionality to shoot frames at intervals, or a DSLR stills camera with an intervalometer, pictured.
This video by Zach Wise explains the technique:
The video includes instructions to create a single video file from jpeg stills using Quicktime Pro, which costs £20. There are also freeware programmes that do the same thing, such as Photolapse.
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