How to Make Time-Lapse Video | Step by Step Guide

How to Make Time-Lapse Video | Step by Step Guide


time-lapse video

Time-Lapse Video, is an interesting technique. It involves time-lapse photography to record a scene or objects that changes slowly. Which is than played in high speed as a video.

Time-Lapse video basically consists of  Photography. Shooting a bunch of Photos of the same scene which is changing slowly,spread out over a period of time. 

Than combining all those shots together, run them in fast forward motion one photo after the other and producing a video. Its basically showing a long scene in a very short amount of time.

Time Lapse lets you see the natural progression of time. Allows you to see how things progresses in nature in a short time, without you waiting through the actual length of it. For example, sun’s movement, right from sunrise to sunset in a 10 second video.

Having said that, Now there are a few basic things you need to know in creating a Time-lapse video:

  1. Choose your subject/object on which you want to shoot. As an example in this short time-lapse video showing cloud movements.(see below)
  2. Figure out everything first, like where to place your camera, so you can capture the scene nicely (whole frame)
  3. Set your camera to take the automated shots at a preset time interval (in seconds)
  4. Assemble all your shots together in to a video (more on that later)
  5. You can edit your video, adding titles, music etc.
                                                  Example :Time-lapse video clouds                                                    number shots taken 375 

Now the big question (many of you wanted know) how many shots to take ? what should be the time interval between the shots ?

As far as how many shots to take, depends on what is your subject for time-lapse video.

The Magic formula: What should be the interval between the shots.Most of the movies that you see, has 24 to 30 frames per second (FPS). The more the FPS the smoother is the video, lower FPS will produce a jerky video.We also need  to take in to consideration how long we want the final movie to be.
So how do you calculate ? say you want your final movie to be 30 seconds long with 24 frames per second
                      24 frames/second multiply with 30 seconds = 720 frames.
If you know how long you want your final video be, you can easily do the mathematics.Say for example, at 24 frames per second (fps) for a 3 minute long video: First multiply the video fps with the length of the video (in seconds)

So 24 fps X 180 seconds (3 minutes has 180 secs) = 4,320 : What this figure shows : You want your final movie to be 3 minutes long. Now if you decide to shoot an event or a particular scene for 24 hours, than the interval between the shots will work out as follow:-

24 hrs. is 86,400 seconds divide this with the total length of the film(in seconds) in our case 3 minutes which is 4,320 frames (86,400/4320)= 20 seconds. So the interval between shots should be 20 seconds. for taking an event lasting for 24 hours.I hope I made it clear.

If you are taking a long term event,eg. blooming of a flower,germination of a seed, which may take days, you can use a much longer interval of minutes or even hours.

                                                    time-lapse video

Now that you got your shots, copy and save all your shots in your computer. Lets now compile and learn How to make time-lapse video.

I am going to use QuickTime Pro to compile the photos and make a time-lapse video.

time-lapse video

Open – quick time pro – click on file – from the drop down menu choose “open Image sequence” navigate to the folder where you saved the images earlier. You need only to select the first image and quick time pro will load the rest,before you click on open.


At the bottom of this window you have to select the frame rate as shown below, because after this there is no option to change that.Quick time will load,render the movie and play it (Have some patients it will take some time).

After rendering is over it will play the movie.To save click on file – export – from the drop down menu at the bottom you get all the options in what format you want to save your movie choose the format and click save That’s it your Time lapse video is rendered and saved in the folder you specify.

                                    time-lapse video