Time lapses are everywhere these days, but it can be hard to know where to start.

Want to learn how to shoot a time lapse? Start Here


What is a time lapse?

A time lapse is a series of images taken at a certain interval and then the images are played back at 24 or 30 frames per second (fps) to make it into a video. A time lapse is usually used to speed up time in a video.

For example I might shoot 240 images with 2 seconds between each image. When I play back this series of images at 24 fps you will see the passage of 8 minutes of time in only 10 seconds.

What interval should I pick?

When you are first starting out it can be tough to pick your interval time. Your interval time is the time between each image capture. Here are some general tips to get you started:

  • 2 second interval for fast moving objects like clouds or people.
  • 5 second interval for clouds
  • 10 second interval for sunrise/sunset
  • 30-45 second interval for stars

How long will it take?

Time lapses can take a while so make sure you are comfy. I usually shoot 240 images for my time lapses. Here is how long that will take with the shooting intervals I listed above:

  • 2 second interval will take 8 minutes to shoot
  • 5 second interval will take 20 minutes to shoot
  • 10 second interval will take 40 minutes to shoot
  • 30 second interval will take 2 hours to shoot

In our next articles we'll talk about what equipment you need to shoot a time lapse and how to edit a time lapse clip once you capture the images.