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Learn how to speed up time and create compelling visual effects with time-lapse photography. Join Rich Harrington in the field as he captures nature's patterns at Red Rock Canyon in southwestern Nevada, and shows how to frame your scene and choose the proper camera settings. He'll show you how to capture great images, whether you're using a DSLR camera and a motorized slider or just a smartphone you have handy. Then join him back in the studio to transform your still footage into a storytelling time-lapse video, using tools like Photoshop, Premiere Pro, and Final Cut Pro.
This course was created and produced by Rich Harrington. We are honored to host this content in our library.
Rich: We're ready to start shooting Time Lapse. The very first thing, we need is a rock solid platform. Now, in a pinch you might cradle your camera and set it on rock, but a far better choice is a real tripod. Now, by real I mean, get the best tripod you can afford. You want something solid. Not the rickety thing that you get at a big box electronic store. So, for example, you could start small. Here I have one from Manfrotto, there's lots like this. ME-Photo and others make similar sized ones. Pretty straightforward, this is what we call an ultra compact tripod.
And it's very light weight, easy to travel with, not a lot going on there, and it extends pretty far. (SOUND) You're going to want to get the tripod to a comfortable height. Now, it doesn't need to be at eye-level, it's ultimately up to you. The important thing here though, is to just make sure you're locking down those legs, so that things don't move. I generally work my way through each leg, and do a little push. So I turn to release, (SOUND) pull it out, and then lock each one down, there we go, making sure I get a good solid turn on each.
I don't want to crank it down so far that I can't open it again or close it, but I do want it to not move or sag during the shot. Now, a lot of tripods like this one I have here, actually have feet on the bottom that could be adjusted. Right now, this is set, and they'd have the rubber part sort of extended, but if I want to spin this, I could actually get two spiked feet. Not so good for carrying on an airplane, but pretty good if you're on a soft surface.
Right now, we're shooting on rock, so extending this is not going to make a stable platform, so I'll go back to the regular rubber feet, and make sure those make full contact with the ground. There we go, I'll extend that out, and place it. Now, once I've done that, you've got a couple of choices to make. You want to stabilize the tripod, make sure it's an even platform, it's up to you. Some tripods will have a bubble level here, maybe you've got it on the plate itself.
Typically though, you're going to adjust the top of the tripod, so that you can get a nice flat even surface. Now, with Time Lapse unlike say, panoramic photography, you don't actually have to be obsessive about leveling the tripod. You want to get a dramatic angle, go right ahead. You want to extend that leg out more, so you're shooting up into the sky to get the clouds, go ahead. Just make sure the tripod is locked out and ultra stable. And a lot of tripods will have a hook at the bottom here, where you can hang something, like a sandbag or your backpack.
Now, make sure it's heavy enough that it's pulling that down, adding stability, and not blowing in the wind making a shaky platform. Now, that's a ultra lightweight tripod. Very useful if you're traveling out and need to hike somewhere. If I want to do the most professional Time Lapse though, I'm going to go for something like this. Now, I'm using an Induro. There's lots of brands out there. Really solid, carbon fiber tripod. Weighs, a decent amount of weight. It's not heavy like steel, and it's much lighter than the older ones used to be. But I turn those down again. Nice solid, so that's a good tight fit, and I get that locked in. Same thing, spread those legs out.
Let's make sure that's tight and I'm not a small person. I easily just put 300 pounds of pressure on that pushing into in and pulling downward. It didn't move, camera's going to be sitting on top, it's going nowhere. And that's important, you want to absolutely minimize vibration and shake. Now, when you choose to place the tripod, think about your environment. Right here, we're on a nice hard rock surface, so there's not going to be a lot of vibration. But you put this on a walkway, maybe a wooden patio. You got a bunch of tourists and people walking around, you're going to get vibration.
If you put this in a place, where a lot of people are going to be passing through, you gotta be careful. We're out here in a popular destination, and there's lots of folks walking around. You've seen them, you maybe even heard them a little bit in this training video. Rather than putting the tripod in a place where lots of people are walking say, the path through here, or you know, down there where there's lots of folks being busy. I'm going to find a less traveled path as well as a solid surface, so I'm just going to move a few feet over here. So, we're further away from the walking path and we're on a good solid surface to shoot from.
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