How to make a timelapse video

How to make a timelapse video

A CNN producer, who's a bit obsessed with timelapse photography, shows how he creates his movies for CNNGo TV

One of the most common questions I'm posed about about the CNNGo TV show is how we make the timelapse videos featured in each episode.

It started as a random idea one afternoon in Shanghai, and has turned into an obsession of sorts, across more than a dozen cities.

Here I'm going to take you through the basic lessons in timelapse photography, which you can then put to use by submitting your own timelapse videos to CNNGo.

Keep in mind that along with your trusty camera you'll need a tripod to keep your kit perfectly still. You might also want to pick up a remote control trigger, which can be a great help as well.

Here's how I set up my camera:

1. Set the images to a manageable JPEG size, usually small or medium. You might take several hundred images that will then need to be compressed into a movie file.

2. Set your focus to manual, as you don't want the focal points to change throughout the shots, which can certainly happen as subjects pass through the frame or light sources vary.

3. Set your F-stop to a setting that gives you a wide depth of field, generally F8 or higher.

4. Set the remote control with timer to whatever interval will work best for the shot. If it's watching the sun drop from dusk to night, one shot each minute for two hours; if it's to show movement at a crowded intersection, 30 frames a minute for 10 minutes -- just as a rough guide.

Then take those images and run them through any converter -- Final Cut Pro, or MPEG Stream Clip, etc -- and that's how you make a timelapse video.

Now put this theory to practice by sending us your own timelapse videos. The best will be featured on CNNGo. Click here to get snapping.

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