Framing the Shot for Time-lapse Video

© Jim Ball

If you’re shooting time-lapse on a DSLR, there are two problems you need to address:

  • Sensor versus frame size
  • Overall composition

Sensor vs. Frame Size

Ultimately there is a key problem when it comes to shooting time-lapse on a DSLR camera.  The aspect ratio of the sensor will nearly always be different that the aspect ratio of your playback screen. With time-lapse photography you are shooting an image with a 3:2 ratio (as opposed to the delivery size of 16:9). You may want to mark your LCD or LiveView panel with tape or just remember the difference when you compose the frame.

Overall composition

Speaking of composition; be sure to set your frame to minimize unwanted action. Some moving elements in your frame will distract from your time-lapse shots. For example, if you are recording an action that dictates flowing/natural movement (such as clouds), frame out the more hectic elements of the scene like tree branches moving frenetically in the wind. If you are shooting in the city, perhaps shooting general urban activity, be sure to hide the camera from view or place it at a height that will prevent unwanted attention from gawkers staring into your lens.

About Richard Harrington

Richard Harrington is the founder of RHED Pixel, a visual communications company based in Washington, D.C. He is the Publisher of Photofocus as well as an author on Rich has authored several books including From Still to Motion, Understanding Photoshop, Professional Web Video, and Creating DSLR Video.

Posted on November 9, 2011, in Time-lapse and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Comments Off on Framing the Shot for Time-lapse Video.

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