Timelapse…can be simple, can be hard.
This is my first blog post and to get started I wanted to talk a little bit about timelapse photography.
After working in broadcast television for over a decade my back finally gave in and stopped me from continuing my career as a TV Camera Operator. To save myself from rotting in a corner thinking my life was over as I couldn’t do what I wanted to do and worked so hard to get to do, I became a teacher of the profession instead. I always wanted to teach so it wasn’t a hard decision to make given that my back had gone, so now I teach the profession and in my spare time I shoot timelapse footage. I shoot for clients and for myself.
Timelapsing is simple.
It couldn’t be easier!
You set your camera up, set your intervalometer, wait, go home and process the images and hey presto, you just made a timelapse!
Timelapsing is hard.
It couldn’t be harder!
There are so many variables to shooting timelapse. From what I can think of in my head right now (I will miss things but you will get the message) honestly, the mind boggles.
- Rain almost always stops play, making timelapsing in the UK difficult.
- Heavy wind always stops play, making being in the UK even more difficult.
- One mistake can ruin everything, if you make a bad choice in your setting up, the whole time taken to get the shot is a waste.
- The tricks you learn to stop things from going wrong are only learned from making the mistakes first. Making learning the craft more time consuming than first thought.
- Getting the shot is difficult most of the time. Be it out in a field in the middle of nowhere or deep within an urban environment, most of the time, it will have been a lot of work to get there. There is the odd break where it’s easy but these are few and far between.
OK so if it’s so hard why do I do it?
Simply, because I love it. It’s nice to do things you love. It’s nice to have something that you do because you love it. It keeps the mind focused and aids in creativity. I couldn’t not do it, I like to work hard and the rewards for doing it are huge when you get the great shot you were looking for.
The pursuit of mastery
They say you need 10,000 hours doing something before you can consider yourself a master at it. I don’t know who said it but it rings true for timelapsing. I’ve worked with cameras for the best part of 20 years, just over ten of those in a career. I have learnt a lot about framing and composition, operation technique and workflow. I use these accrued skills every time I go out timelapsing. If I didn’t have these skills I would have found it so much more difficult. I’m no master though! :)
My point is you have to work at timelapsing to get it right. To get what YOU want. In my first year timelapsing, I don’t think I did one good shot. I THOUGHT I did lots of good shots, but looking back, it was all just practice. Over time I have developed my skills into something that means most of the time, I will get what I want. I still mess up though. I don’t think I would be human if I didn’t. And I still beat myself up about messing up. Not too much, but enough to hopefully stop me from messing up again.
This blog will have mess ups in it, I won’t be able to stop that from happening all the time so I’ve accepted it’s just going to happen. This blog will have a lot of tips and workflow suggestions too, to hopefully stop others from wasting as much time as I have over the last few years.