Join Richard Harrington for an in-depth discussion in this video Designing the shot, part of Shooting a Time-Lapse Movie with the Camera in Motion.
So when it comes to designing your shot, you arrive at the location and you have a million thoughts going through your head. What do I want to do? What do I want to accomplish? What's the light looking like? What is my subject doing? All these things, you really have to think about hard when you're actually designing your shot. >> And it can be a bit overwhelming because with motion, nothing is really off limits. You can create a shot that starts facing one way and have the camera pan all the way in the other direction. We can set up a 360 degree time lapse if we want, and so, some of the limits that you're used to with traditional photography are removed.
And it's really about applying some self control. You have to start making decisions and being comfortable right away, right? >> Oh, absolutely. I mean, you really have to know exactly what's going to happen. >> And sometimes it's easy. Your clients are going to say to you, oh, well we want a time lapse about our building. It would be great to land on the front sign, or start here on the sign for the company logo and then pan to the top of our building with clouds going past. And that makes sense. Other times it's a blank slate and it's up to you. The thing to remember is, is you need to make a decision and stick with it because if it works, great.
If not you can try it again. Now Keith, when you immediately see a scene, and obviously there's the weather, there's the lights, what are some of the things that first cross your mind when you're designing a shot? What's the first thing you think about? >> Well, when designing a shot for motion in particular, we're always worried about the foreground subject and what is in front of our camera that we're able to show distance and perspective. Then once we actually get that down, I mean, then we're just looking at all the other things that are going to come into play with our shot. How are the clouds going to move? Where is our subject going to move? What is the light going to be? >> And so In a way, you're using motion to add emphasis to the dimensionality of the space.
You're trying to create a 3D environment, not like a 3D movie, but where you really get a sense of perspective from near to far, and you're moving past that. Now, when you're doing that, I imagine that, that can become a bit complex because you have to get the focus, the, the distance right. Are you changing f-stops over time or you just have to sort of average it out? >> Usually we always go manual, so we trying not to change any, any settings over time, just to prevent flicker and, and distortion of the image over time. >> If you're a still photographer, you're used to being able to make changes in between each shot.
But now as you design the shots, you kind of have to really lock things in. We can't change the ISO really over time. We can't adjust the f-stop. Any of those things will destroy the smoothness of the time lapse. >> Usually with time lapses the rule is stay manual if you can. The only exception to that is when you're doing what's called the holy grail, where you actually might put it on aperture priority and you're changing the you're letting the camera make the settings gradually over time. So, you're able to watch the entire sun set and still keep the exposure correct. >> Yeah, so, think of it this way.
During the course of shooting, in this course, and when you start to head out there, when you design your shots, try to think about the beginning and the end. And sometimes it means making compromises. Choose the settings on your camera that look the best for both the start and the end point. Once you've done that, there's a lot that could still happen in post production. I'm assuming Keith, that you do most of your time lapse shooting raw at this point. >> Oh, absolutely yes. >> How come? >> With raw, you have so much more flexibility when you're processing your image in the post. I mean you're shooting JPEG, your image is processed right there on camera.
When you shoot raw, you can reprocess multiple times. You can HDR if you'd like to and, and really bring out all the full potential of your images. >> So there's a lot more to this process. But we'll explain our logic with designing shots and when you think about your own shots, remember, think about the beginning and the end, and make any compromises in order to get a good exposure that looks good for both the start and end frame. Shoot raw so you've got the flexibility in post to make the tweaks. And then, with a little bit of magic, all the pieces come together.
In this course, author Rich Harrington is joined by time-lapse video expert Keith Kiska. Together, they explore the hardware, software, and creative decisions involved in creating moving time lapses, while on location in Las Vegas, Nevada. Rich and Keith detail the types of motion that you can add to a time-lapse video, from basic movement of the camera to left-to-right, sliding, and two- or three-axis movements with high-end, motorized rigs. They also demonstrate hardware add-ons in a variety of price ranges, and show the post-production techniques that yield the highest quality.
Interested in more time-lapse tutorials? Check out more here.
- The benefits and challenges of motion in time lapse
- Determining available light
- Selecting a camera, memory card, battery, and other gear
- Panning the head
- Using a slider
- Adding motion in post
- Adding three-axis motion
- Designing and shooting a hyperlapse shot
- Advanced post-production techniques