Join Tim Grey for an in-depth discussion in this video Taping up the lens, part of Time-Lapse Photography Workshop.
In most cases with time-lapse photography, we're capturing the same scene from the exact same location using all of the same settings. And so it's very important that we have a stable platform, that nothing is changing about the location, position, settings for the camera. That's why we use a tripod for example, and that we'll want to make sure the tripod is nice and stable, that the ball head is tightened up securely, and that the camera is using fixed settings so that every single frame will be captured with the same settings and the same framing. One of the issues that you might not anticipate though is the ability of the lens to adjust itself essentially. For example if I were at a high vantage point shooting downward I've got my lens pointed down, and this lens has an external adjustment. It actually is able to move, and so gravity can actually adjust the zoom for the lens over time.
It'll essentially start Start to drop. The problem is that that movement is very, very slow. It's almost imperceptible. So even if you're standing here watching the camera, you're probably not going to notice that it's moving. But when you assemble the time lapse video, when all the captures are finished, then you'll see that that zoom is changing. The framing of the subject is changing over the course of the video. And so once I have my zoom setting and my focus locked in where I want them, I'll actually tape up the lens. That will help them make sue that everything stays stays locked solid.
It's important to use painter's tape, or masking tape. You don't want a tape that's going to have any goop on it that will stay behind on your lens. And I actually, when I'm shooting time lapses,' I'll have a strip of tape attached to one of my tripod legs, so that once I've adjusted my zoom and focus I can simply tape up those adjustment rings on the lens itself, just apply that tape onto those rings so that now I don't need to worry about them adjusting. Obviously, if I went in and used a lot of force to turn the dial, I might be able to free that tape. But when the cameras sitting there undisturbed and of course during the time lapse capture I'm generally going to be nearby making sure nobody touches anything.
That's going to do a very good job of securing both the zoom and focus for me. So a simple thing as tape will help make sure you get the best time lapses as possible.
- Equipment for time-lapse photography
- Finding a time-lapse subject
- Setting up the tripod
- Exposure settings
- Auto-focus and stabilization
- Taping up the lens
- Capturing time-lapse frames
- Reviewing and processing the images
- Assembling a final time-lapse