Action cameras are versatile electronics that you can put any fun or creative ideas into it. Today, we’ll focus on the time-lapse and make the most of your action camera to create amazing footage.
What is a time-lapse?
Time-lapse is a photographic technique to take lots of pictures at set intervals and add them all together to show a seamless sequence of images as the frame rate you set. Wait, what is frame rate? Just like a comic book, each page is a frame and when you flip through, you will see all frames together as one continuous moving image. So if you have a frame rate of 30 fps (frames per second), that means in one second the camera captures 30 individual pictures. When played back, it displays as one continuous video.
Difference between time-lapse and fast-forward
Some of you may think the time-lapse effect is similar to fast-forward mode. It’s true, but the way they work is totally different. 24fps (frames per second) is the standard for films or web videos. A fast-forward video means you multiple frames per second to accelerate it, 48fps to 2X and 72fps to 3X. The increased viewing speed means you will see more pics in one second, even you may not realize it. A time-lapse is another way to make a video. Place your action camera into one place, and the camera automatically takes pics every interval time as you set, depending on the fps you want for your time-lapse video. Besides, you can also fast-forward a time-lapse video though.
What frame rate and interval should I use?
As you can see from its definition, the frame rate and interval may influence how long you need to wait to get a time-lapse video. The table below collects all the frame rate and interval time that you can choose for your APEMAN action cameras.
Time-lapse Interval Time
Action Camera A66
Action Camera A70
Action Camera A77
Action Camera A79
Action Camera A80
Action Camera TRAWO
Usually, 30fps is a quite common frame rate for the time-lapse effect. Let’s do the mathematics to make this point clear.
If you choose the interval time into 5s for an example, you will get
60*60/5s=720 pics after one-hour recording.
Then, 720pics/30fps=24s 720pics/60fps=12s 720pics/120fps=6s
So you can only get a 6s time-lapse video if you set the frame rate to 120fps. Furthermore, 60 frames per second and 120 frames per second and even higher frame rates are meant for recording video to be played back in slow motion. Therefore, you need to choose your preferred resolution at a frame rate of 30fps, like 4K/30fps or 1080P/30FPS.
Question: If you set the interval time into 2s, what’s the time length when you record a time-lapse video in 1080P/30fps for an hour?
Next, choose the right time that the camera will wait between shots, from 1s to 1min. The shorter the duration, the longer and more fluid your time-lapse will be, but you'll capture less real-time action before your battery or memory card gives up. If the time interval is set too high, it may be a little too repetitive and if you set it too slow, it may look very choppy and rough. Here are some common scenes that may be helpful for you to choose an ideal interval, just for your reference.
How to turn on time-lapse mode?
Instead of using video-editing software like Final Cut before, you can easily create time-lapse videos with your action camera. Take the TRAWO for an example, all you need to do is just set the interval, press the button and shoot, then your action camera will do all the other work for you.
So, you know what kind of scene that you want to record (i.e., where to place your action camera), and how to select the right interval, then what else should you do before creating an amazing time-lapse? Hold on, watch this video below and you’ll find what to do for your next step.
I guess you may not like the first one, right? It looks very shaky and the whole scene moves so fast that you may not realize what just happened. So, it’s important to keep your action camera stationary and stable to create an effective time-lapse video. There are mainly three ways to place your action camera for a long duration.
Keep in mind that your camera will remain in the same position perhaps for an hour or two. So if there is a strong wind or anything like that, you may need to move it indoors or use a heavy tripod. Whatever you do, to keep your action camera still, away from shaking, is very essential to create great video footage.
I guess you may notice the third one, panoramic time-lapse, which stands out for its rotating and wider field of view. To create this effect, you need to use a rotating time-lapse mount or some other instrument that allows your action camera to move on a single axis.
Time-lapse video is a great way for storytelling, and it enables us to see the natural world at an altered speed. Instead of waiting for about several hours to watch the clouds moving, now you can just take one minutes or two to find out how they move. So what do you think of time-lapse, and what’s your way to creating a great time-lapse video?