SchoolArts Magazine

September 2015

SchoolArts is a national art education magazine committed to promoting excellence, advocacy, and professional support for educators in the visual arts since 1901.

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New Methods for Time-Lapse Photograph 24 SEPTEMBER 2015 SchoolArts David Gran M E D I A @ r + s I n the Sketches of the City project that I wrote about a few issues ago, the Student Creative (studentcre- challenged students to contribute unique views of their cities to our global collaborative video proj- ect. Through both film assignments and open creative challenges, students will contribute their creative visions of their cities to a film that is a love song to city life. One of the important ways that we will capture the feeling and move- ment of the city is through time-lapse videos. Although time-lapse video is nothing new, the tools available to create time lapses have changed greatly in the last few years. Condensing Photographs Typically, a time-lapse video is cre- ated by taking a series of photographs at a specific interval over a period of time. Those photographs are then imported into a video-editing program as single frames. To determine the interval of frames, you must consider how long you want the final time- lapse to last and how much time you want to condense. To figure that out, Time Science ( has a convenient automatic calcula- tor. However, condensing a period of hours down to seconds is time con- suming—both on the production and postproduction sides of the process. Hardware and Software Options The condensing approach does not have to be inherently difficult. An intervalometer is a device that you can attach to your camera in order to automatically control the interval between shots. You can purchase an inexpensive model for a range of DSLR cameras from a camera supply store or online. Some cameras have an internal intervalometer as part of the software package, or it can be added as a "hack." The Genie and Panolapse For the more advanced time-lapse aficionados, the company Syrp ( recently kick-started the Genie, a hardware device that con- nects to your camera and allows you to add motion control to your time- lapse videos. In addition to having an internal intervalometer, the genie will also rotate your camera at your desired rate or pull it along a cable system for tracking shots. A cheaper, yet effective option is a program called Panolapse (, which creates simulated motion in a time lapse by using perspective correction within a cropped high-definition video. The license-free version comes with some restrictions on image quality, but the program gives you a great deal of con- trol over how you make the camera move. Apps and Hacks Other options abound if your camera of choice is the one attached to your smart phone. Various apps, such as Hyperlapse for Instagram (hyperlapse. use an algorithm to turn your handheld device into the equivalent of an HD time-lapse cam- era with a steady cam. In addition, if you don't have nearly $1,000 to drop on a Genie, and if iPhonography is more your speed, a popular DIY hack is to attach a tripod mount for your phone (which can be found online for a few dollars) to a flat-topped egg timer. The slow rotation of the timer creates a perfect panoramic move- ment for your video. The key to a good time-lapse video is capturing interesting movements and change that we would not nor- mally perceive in real life. Give it a try—we look forward to seeing what your city looks like in high speed. David Gran teaches high school art and film classes at the Shanghai American School in China and is the author of The Carrot Revolution, a blog about twenty- first century art education. carrotrevolu-,

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