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Using the interval timer

From: Shooting with the Nikon D800

Video: Using the interval timer

You've probably seen a time-lapse movie like this before. This was created by shooting one frame every so often and then stringing all those frames together into a movie, which shows a tremendous span of time. There are two ways of shooting time-lapse on the D800. The first is an interval timer, which simply tells the camera to fire off every so often, for a certain amount of time. The second mode is the Time Lapse Photography mode, which actually spits a movie directly out of the camera. The advantage of doing time lapse with the interval timer is that it's actually shooting normal still frames exactly to your specs.

Using the interval timer

You've probably seen a time-lapse movie like this before. This was created by shooting one frame every so often and then stringing all those frames together into a movie, which shows a tremendous span of time. There are two ways of shooting time-lapse on the D800. The first is an interval timer, which simply tells the camera to fire off every so often, for a certain amount of time. The second mode is the Time Lapse Photography mode, which actually spits a movie directly out of the camera. The advantage of doing time lapse with the interval timer is that it's actually shooting normal still frames exactly to your specs.

So you can choose to shoot in raw, which gives you a lot of extra editing power. You've also got access to each individual frame of the movie. When you drop those into a video editor you've got more options for controlling time within the movie. You might also use the interval timer simply for times when you need to collect some data about a scene over a certain amount of time. Maybe someone's stealing crabapples off your tree and you want to know who, so you set it up to take a picture every hour or something like that and review them later. Finally, when shooting with the interval timer you get full-pixel-count images, which gives you a lot of additional postprocessing options later.

You could crop just a part of a scene out of an image. You've got more resizing options. When you shoot with Time Lapse Photography, you're going to be outputting at standard video sizes. To configure for time-lapse, I go to my menu, and in the Shooting menu I have an option called Interval timer shooting, which of course defaults to off. I'm going to come in here and take a look at this. I've got a range of parameters that I'm going to be scrolling through from left to right up here, and this down here is a status display that's going to show me how things are progressing as I set each of these options.

First, I can choose to start my time-lapse as soon as I'm done configuring, or I can set a time. So this is really nice if you're wanting to do a time-lapse of sunrise. You don't actually have to get up before the sun rises and configure your camera. You can say start this at 5 a.m. or whatever. After I've configured this, I can hit the left or right arrow button here to go to the next parameter, and that is the Interval: How often do I want it to take a picture? By default it's set for 01 second. I can configure this for hours, minutes, or seconds, or some combination thereof.

After that, the number of times, that is the number of intervals that I want it to go through, and the number of shots that I want it to shoot at each interval. So to figure out the number of intervals I would need to do some calculation on my own. If I want to cover a certain number of hours and I'm only shooting once every five seconds, I would need to do the math to figure out how many specific intervals that I would need to go at and then dial that in here. At each interval I can tell it to take a number of shots. So say, for example, I am shooting an HDR time-lapse and I want 3 shots taken at each one of my intervals. I would configure it this way.

I would need to make sure that I've turned on Auto Bracketing and configured that before I start my time-lapse. Finally, I get to this page. I'm all set up here. It's saying that it's going to start right away once I start it. It's got a 1-minute interval. It's going to go 111 intervals, shooting 3 shots each time, for a total of 333 shots. Finally, this is simply a clock showing my current time. You want to be sure if you're traveling that you've adjusted your time zone appropriately to be sure that your clock is accurate on your camera, especially if you're using a timer to start the time-lapse.

Since I don't have a timer set right now, I would simply go here and hit the OK button and it would start. There are a few things to check before you start your time-lapse though. First of all, make sure that you are run not in Self-Timer mode or Mirror Up mode; both of those are going to mess up your time-lapse as soon as it tries to trigger the Shutter button. Because my face is not going to be behind the Viewfinder here during the whole process, it's going to be possible for light to get in there and bounce around inside the camera and that might create flare, so I'm going to flip this closed so that closes off my viewfinder to be certain that no light gets in.

Finally, I want to be sure that I've got enough storage, so I need to do a little bit of calculation about whether 333 frames are going to fit on my card. I see up here that I do have enough space remaining. If I was shooting raw, obviously that would go down. Since I've got two card slots, I can put in a second card, and if I've configured for overflow, then I will very easily have enough space. My Release mode does impact interval timer shooting. If I've chosen to shoot multiple frames at each interval, if I go here to the low continuous rate, then they're going to shoot at that speed.

If I go here to the high continuous rate, they will shoot at my high continuous speed. If I'm on single shot, then they're going to go at the speed that is defined in one of my custom functions. If I come down here to the d category and go to d2 CL mode shooting speed, that's my low speed, which is currently set to 2. So if I have to find multiple frames in my interval timer, they're going to shoot at 2 frames per second.

Once I have started a time-lapse, I can go back to the Time Lapse menu item to either pause the time-lapse or stop it, if I need to stop it early, or I can just turn the camera off. Obviously, for best results you're going to want to be locked down on a tripod. If you're going to be shooting through a length of time that's long enough that your lighting is going to change because the sun is coming up or going down, or moving around, then you're going to need to give some thought to your exposure. Do a little research into time-lapse to learn more about what mode you should choose and what you should expect in the way of exposure changes over time.

Show transcript

This video is part of

Image for Shooting with the Nikon D800
Shooting with the Nikon D800

107 video lessons · 13121 viewers

Ben Long
Author

 
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  1. 9m 28s
    1. Welcome
      2m 16s
    2. What is an SLR?
      5m 18s
    3. Using this course
      1m 54s
  2. 30m 59s
    1. Exploring basic camera anatomy
      6m 34s
    2. Attaching a lens
      3m 28s
    3. Inserting media cards and a battery
      6m 14s
    4. Powering up
      2m 8s
    5. Working with menu navigation and factory defaults
      3m 1s
    6. Setting the date and time
      1m 50s
    7. Setting the language
      1m 20s
    8. Formatting the media card
      2m 15s
    9. Holding the camera
      4m 9s
  3. 26m 35s
    1. What are shooting modes?
      2m 11s
    2. Exploring the viewfinder display
      4m 41s
    3. Using the LCD screen protector
      46s
    4. Autofocus basics
      2m 42s
    5. Metering basics
      1m 31s
    6. Reviewing images
      2m 21s
    7. Working with image playback
      7m 16s
    8. Adjusting beeps and timers
      1m 52s
    9. Changing button behavior
      2m 2s
    10. Using screen tips
      1m 13s
  4. 26m 58s
    1. Exploring Program mode
      50s
    2. Working with exposure compensation
      4m 16s
    3. Changing ISO
      2m 30s
    4. Using auto ISO
      4m 25s
    5. Exploring Flexible Program
      2m 49s
    6. Exploring image format and size
      6m 18s
    7. Setting a virtual horizon
      2m 17s
    8. Setting the color space
      1m 22s
    9. Configuring multiple media cards
      2m 11s
  5. 12m 49s
    1. Exploring focus modes
      2m 6s
    2. Exploring autofocus area modes
      4m 50s
    3. Using focus points
      1m 57s
    4. Using manual focus
      3m 56s
  6. 9m 57s
    1. Using auto white balance
      1m 1s
    2. Working with white balance presets
      3m 8s
    3. Adjusting white balance manually
      5m 48s
  7. 11m 54s
    1. Exploring Continuous mode
      5m 56s
    2. Exploring Quiet mode
      53s
    3. Using the self-timer
      3m 26s
    4. Locking the mirror up
      1m 39s
  8. 34m 40s
    1. Exploring metering modes
      3m 4s
    2. Using the auto exposure lock
      4m 35s
    3. Exploring Aperture Priority mode
      3m 3s
    4. Using depth of field preview
      2m 50s
    5. Exploring Shutter Priority mode
      2m 32s
    6. Working in Manual mode
      2m 40s
    7. Exposure bracketing
      6m 40s
    8. Using Active D-Lighting
      1m 19s
    9. Using the Vignette Control feature
      1m 6s
    10. Using the Auto Distortion Control feature
      58s
    11. Using long exposure noise reduction
      1m 41s
    12. Using high ISO noise reduction
      1m 22s
    13. Using the Bulb setting in Manual mode
      1m 2s
    14. Using the Info button
      1m 48s
  9. 19m 54s
    1. Adjusting LCD brightness
      2m 31s
    2. Protecting and deleting images
      4m 43s
    3. Hiding images
      1m 35s
    4. Toggling the Rotate Tall feature on and off
      50s
    5. File naming
      1m 21s
    6. Creating a file number sequence
      2m 35s
    7. Creating storage folders
      2m 3s
    8. Adding copyright info
      1m 50s
    9. Using in-camera retouching
      2m 26s
  10. 7m 14s
    1. Using the fill flash
      1m 48s
    2. Using Flash mode
      3m 18s
    3. Working with flash exposure compensation
      2m 8s
  11. 22m 25s
    1. Understanding high-dynamic range (HDR)
      5m 38s
    2. Creating multiple exposures
      3m 38s
    3. Using the interval timer
      5m 42s
    4. Shooting time-lapse photography
      1m 19s
    5. Working with the image area
      4m 25s
    6. Using the remote control
      1m 43s
  12. 8m 33s
    1. Defining picture controls
      2m 7s
    2. Selecting a picture control
      1m 38s
    3. Modifying a picture control
      2m 38s
    4. Using the monochrome picture control
      2m 10s
  13. 15m 42s
    1. Activating Live View
      8m 9s
    2. Focusing in Live View
      5m 27s
    3. Reviewing some Live View drawbacks
      2m 6s
  14. 17m 27s
    1. Configuring and activating video
      4m 34s
    2. Focusing and working with exposure
      7m 11s
    3. Using Playback mode
      3m 17s
    4. Customizing movie controls
      2m 25s
  15. 12m 44s
    1. Using menu banks
      3m 31s
    2. Using the My Menu feature
      2m 12s
    3. Customizing controls
      4m 0s
    4. Autofocus fine-tuning
      1m 25s
    5. Saving and loading settings
      1m 36s
  16. 14m 5s
    1. Working with custom settings
      51s
    2. Using the Focus Priority feature
      2m 15s
    3. Using the AF Activation feature
      1m 34s
    4. Controlling the number of focus points
      36s
    5. Using ISO sensitivity step value
      1m 8s
    6. Working with EV steps for exposure control
      1m 7s
    7. Using exposure flash compensation step value
      1m 1s
    8. Turning on easy exposure compensation
      1m 31s
    9. Using Exposure Delay mode
      1m 20s
    10. Using the Assign FN button
      2m 42s
  17. 6m 45s
    1. Camera sensor cleaning
      3m 29s
    2. Exploring operating conditions and temperatures
      1m 57s
    3. Getting firmware updates
      1m 19s
  18. 15m 43s
    1. Exploring focus and composition
      4m 55s
    2. Using an exposure strategy
      6m 50s
    3. Controlling exposure through Program mode
      3m 58s
  19. 22s
    1. Goodbye
      22s

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