Activity 5: Time-lapse


Video Unit, Activity 4, Time Lapse example from Digital Voices on Vimeo.

About Time-lapse: Time-lapse is like a fast forward for reality; it allows you to observe things happening faster than they actually occur. Time-lapse helps us understand the world by visually showing changes that we cannot normally perceive. You could sit for several days in the same place and watch a flower bloom. But the change happens so slowly that you could not mentally compare one state of the flower to the next. The human visual system is designed to detect change. Our eyes and minds can perceive complex changes in a scene better than any instrument or computer system. But it functions only at a certain speed and timescale. Time-lapse allows us to tune the speed of change to the speed that our own eyes and mind can best understand and appreciate.

How Time-lapse Works: We will use the term “movies” (things that move) to refer to both film and video. Movie cameras actually record a series of still images, called frames. From 18 to 60 frames are recorded per second, depending on the movie format. These still images are then played back at the same rate. The human eye perceives this rapid series of images as actual motion. Consider a movie in the cinema which is normally recorded at 24 frames per second. You could create a time-lapse by recording one frame every second. When you play the movie, the frames recorded over a period of 24 seconds are played back in one second. So the recorded scene moves 24 times as fast as the real scene.

Time-lapse movies are created by recording frames more slowly. The frames are then played back at the normal rate.

One hour of recording would play back in (60/24 = ) 2.5 minutes.


View more Timelapse videos at:

Task and Criteria:

  • Students are to work in groups of 2-3,
  • Students are to create a 120 second time-lapse movie,
  • Groups are to follow these steps to creat their Time-lapse movie:
    • Step 1: The Plan. Plan out your setting and Camera angle(s) as carefully as as possible. Decide what kinds of camerea shot you’ll need for your time-lapse movie. In Microsoft Word identify the title of your time-lapse, setting(s), Filming duration, a descriptive paragraph of intent.  Save the document as:  firstlastname_activity4.docx in your Video Unit/Activity 5 folder.  Each student must Copy and Paste the text to their Activity 5 subpage.
    • Step 2:  Create a storyboard.  Use a storyboard for your time-lapse movie and visually note when your camera will change. Save your storyboard as:  firstlastname_activity5sb.jpg in your Video/Activity 5 folder.  Each student must upload the storyboard to their Activity 5subpage.
    • Step 3: Filming.  Students are to film atleast 120 minutes (in a minimum of two locations or different camera shots of the same setting) of footage for the time-lapse movie,
    • Step 4:  Upload your footage.  Upload your footage to your Media folder in your thawed drive.  Modify the speed/duration a minimum of three times.   Craftfully modify the speed/duration a minimum of 3 times in Adobe Premiere CS5.
    • Step 5: Add Sound.  Layer in a royalty-free audio scores/sond effects from Adobe Audition CS5.
    • Part 6:  Add a title and Credits.  Students are to start the video with a title depicting:
      • Name of the “time lapse”,
      • Time-lapse created  by: your names
      • Digital Voices, Video Unit, Activity
      • Intro should look like the image below
      • text should read: The following TIME LAPSE ACTIVITY has been approved for DIGITAL VOICES BY YOUR NAMES, WINNIPEG, MB., CANADA.  www.yourwix and
  • Students are to end the video with credits presenting:
    • Original names of  score and source
    • Time Lapse filmed and edited by: your names,
    • Digital Voices, Video Unit, Activity
    • Reference all music artists, videos and URLs at the end of the video,
  • Step 7: Saving, Exporting and Posting.  Export your time-lapse movie as: firstlastname_activity.flv in your Video Unit/Activity 5 folder.  Upload firstlastname_activity5.flv to your vimeo channel.  Each student is to embed your vimeo file to your Activity 5 subpage.