Time lapse, also known as intervalometry (as in measuring intervals between photographs), is a method of taking pictures slowly over time and then compiling them into a video of compressed time. I've always been fascinated with time lapse videos. I remember when I was very young, seeing a time lapse video of a vine growing and creeping around at night. I was amazed! A good time lapse video can change your whole perspective and understanding of seemingly uninteresting everyday things.
I always assumed that making these videos would require specialized equipment that would be out of my price range. Turns out, you can produce high quality time lapse videos with a very small investment, my own output was just $45 for a spare camera, though you may have to pay more or less depending on your situation.
I had purchased the equipment I needed a while back, but then let this project sit on the back burner. When I was down at Maker Faire in spring 2011, I got to talking to mikeasaurus about the idea--he was working on his own time lapse videos involving a shoulder mounted webcam. We talked about it and played with his rig, and we were originally going to make a collaborative project, but sadly his effort suffered from some technical difficulties and had to be shelved.
In the mean time, I returned to Oregon and started seriously working on my own time lapse stuff. Take a look at the videos below, the first is all my best stuff up to about mid August of 2011, and the second is some longer term stuff I've worked on since then. Read on if you'd like to learn how to make your own cheap and easy time lapse videos!
I highly recommend you make this full screen and full resolution to get the total effect:
Step 1: Gather Materials
For the videos, you will require:
- A Canon brand digital camera that is compatible with CHDK (see step 2)
- An SD card, the biggest compatible with your camera
- An AC adapter for your camera (not required but very useful)
- A computer with an SD card slot or an SD card reader and simple movie making software
- A waterproof tupperware (or whatever) container
- A small piece of clear plastic
- Hot glue
- Silicone caulk