Last week I released a new timelapse video called ‘WINTER’. If you haven’t seen it, check it out here: WINTER – a Timelapse Film and Making Of . Today I’d like to tell you a few words about one type of shot, that was in this video. It’s something between timelapse and stop-motion – an animated move of a person inside a timelapse shot. I mean – I (because I was in these shots by myself) move in normal speed, everything else is a timelapse. Check out the clip and then read below how it was done.

Two of these shots are a little more complicated versions – they include camera movement. All the movements were accomplished with Moza Aircross gimbal. You can check out my review of this gear here: Pan-Tilt Timelapse Head Replacement? Moza AirCross REVIEW . So, for all the shots I used the same technique and pretty much the same settings:

  • interval 4 seconds
  • 1″ shutter speed

We have here a timelapse shot with a tilt or pan tilt movement. Quite easy, if you follow my blog you should be able to do it without any troubles 🙂 Now, the tricky part starts when it comes to the person animated in front of the lens. It’s really good to have some experience in stop motion to make it easier (I’m a stop motion hobbist, check out my video: The Trap – Clay Stop Motion Animation Test). It’s really easy to move too fast, so it would destroy the effect.

The key is to stand as steady as possible. So choose some comfortable position. In timelapse every move will be visible, especially if you’ll be swinging slowly all the time. The second thing is to know the interval, that you’re shooting. I used something similar to timelapse shoot-move-shoot mode – I mean I moved a little, freeze counting 4 seconds in my head and move again.  It’s not neccessary to be in sync with the camera – you can move even during the exposure, it doesn’t really matter. I freezed so I wasn’t too fast. I tried also a constant, very slow hand movement and it was too fast every time.

Of course, you can use shorter interval, so you could move a little faster (still extremely slow ;)), but in my opinion the longer the interval is, the better this effect looks. We get beautiful contrast between slow, animated person and very chaotic, fast and blurred background.

Combining video and timelapse

There is a second way to create similar (but a little different) effect. You can shoot two exactly the same shots, one – background in timelapse, and second – the person in real time video, could be on greenscreen.  The greenscreen won’t be neccessery if you put your actor in front of a wall or something, that’s not moving in timelapse shot. Then just key or mask out the person from the video and put on the timelapse background.

There are a few differences/problems here:

  • The effect is different. And that’s the most important point. I hate when people are trying to advise me, that there was an easier way to do something, and they tell me just different technique. Remember – the technique that you use is your creative choice, because you want to achieve specific effect. In this case – stop motion movement feels totally different from a video – there is no motion blur, the movement is less natural (which for me is more suitable for timelapse background). My movements were quite simple, not everything can be done this way.
  • Camera movement – it’s easy to combine video and timelapse with static shot. If we want to add camera movement – it’s quite complicated. If you want to achieve exactly the same movement in the final timelapse and real time video, the motion control head must be totally different for both. It would depend on your device, if you can preview the movement of the timelapse shot in exact final timelapse clip speed. I’m currently speaking with Moza to add such thing into their gimbals.

So, choose the technique, that suits your project better 🙂

That’s all for today. Let me know, if you have ever tried such technique. You can share your footage on my Facebook group: Also, don’t forget to enable the notifications, so you won’t miss any post. Click the little red bell in bottom left corner 😉 See you next time!



  1. Florentin

    Afternoon Thomas,
    I have seen your timelapse video. Nice work.
    I wander the XENON PRO M is your product or is on market to buy.
    I would be very happy to hear from you.
    Thank you,

    • Tomasz

      No, it’s not my product, but it’s Polish (as me ;))