In this article, I’d like to share my thoughts about what we as timelapsers shouldn’t do (but everyone does that as a beginner). That’s my personal opinion, if you’ve got different things that you consider as the biggest mistakes of timelapsers, leave that in the comments, I would love to compare your list with mine 🙂
1. “I spent so much time on this shot, I can’t remove it”
I think we all have been there. If you haven’t – good for you! Timelapses are very time-consuming, but while you’re editing your film you have to forget how many hours you have been standing in the freezing cold or waiting for good conditions. The only thing that matters here is a good shot that matches your story.
Viewers are quite demanding these days. They don’t care how hard it was to shoot, if it’s not good, they won’t like it. Other timelapsers could be amazed on your film, but your aim should be to impress people, that don’t know how hard it is to shoot this kind of stuff.
I like to create complex transitions between shots in post. The same rule applies here. I don’t like to hurry up too much with post production. I can’t decide to remove one part from my video right after 4 hours of composing the transition or manually stabilizing the hyperlapse shot, because the stabilizer didn’t handle it. I tried and I can’t. The best solution for me is to check that sequence the day after. If you don’t have that much time it could be even a few hours later. Then you won’t be that tired and you’ve got a fresh look at your work.
So remember – if you’re not sure that something is good enough to stay – remove it! Don’t be sentimental for medium quality shots 😉
2. “I want to show everything! This will be freaking long timelapse video!”
I’ve got one advice for beginners: keep it short. If you’ve got too much footage – choose the best of it. Can’t decide? Ask a friend to decide for you.
I’ve seen a lot of good timelapses that I didn’t watch entirely. Of course, you’ve got to remember where you want to show your video. This paragraph mostly about making films for Internet – Youtube, Vimeo, Facebook. People nowadays are used to short videos. They get bored quickly.
I’m talking especially about static shots. There are people that make a 20 sec timelapse shot of clouds and place it in a film. It’s okay if something is going on in this shot, there is a storm coming or a beautiful sunset in the horizon.
Edit your video to be interesting to audience, not just for you 🙂
3. “This hyperlapse/slider shot is too short. I’ll stretch it in post, no one can see that”
The non-filmmakers won’t know, that you stretch your footage in post, but they will know that something’s not right. To be clear – I’m not talking about stretching static timelapse with Twixtor, that would probably turn out good. But with hyperlapse setting your speed to 50% is not enough to get a good result. Especially you’ve got to be careful with changing speed of motorized slider timelapse, it’s very easy to make your silky smooth shot jerky.
4. “I’m not sure how should I set my camera, I’ll keep it on auto”
For beginners it could be a good idea, just to learn how timelapse works and don’t bother about settings. But if you want to do it professionally, you should set your camera on your own, don’t leave it to the camera algorithm. Of course, the final result can be good even on auto settings, but you can’t be sure. In timelapse, there are some situations, that can’t be repeated. Even every sunset is different, every cloud is unique. I won’t risk missing an important shot because of automatic settings in the camera.
So, learn how to set your camera and do it on your own every time, of course thinking about the result you want to get. For example, the shutter speed setting can make a huge different in your sequence, check out THIS post to read about it.
5. “ND filters are useless, there’s no difference”
There is a huge difference. Those little things are what makes our work look “professional”. However, for me it’s not a little thing 😉 Of course, as a beginner I didn’t own ND filters and my daytime lapses didn’t have nice motion blur.
So start collecting your ND filters set 😉 Check out my article to learn more about ND’s: Motion blur in timelapse
6. “January Night shooting? No, I don’t need gloves”
I’ve got gloves always in my camera case. But it’s not only gloves. Remember, if you’re leaving home in the daytime, the temperature will decrease by the night. Warm jacket, gloves, hot coffee or tea in a thermos are the things that could make your shooting less exhausting. Always check the forecast, especially if you’re shooting in the different climate than in your home city.
Timelapses are really time-consuming, and you’ve got to make something to keep you warm for that time. Also, fishing chair or even some kind of blanket can save you a few hours of standing 😉
7. And finally the biggest mistake I know: “I’ll better go out shooting another time, today I’ll stay home”
It’s always better to shoot! Even if it’s gonna turn out crap 😉 You never know, what will happen. It could be the most beautiful sky in the last decade, and you could miss that. Don’t be lazy, it’s better to shoot something, that’s not very interesting, than miss something really awesome 🙂 You have to be in place before sunset to capture that. But before, you never know how it’s gonna be. So don’t be afraid to try, make experiments, gain experience.
As an example: while shooting the video from Wrocław, I had planned sunset from the 250m high viewpoint. 3hours before sunset the weather wasn’t good – the sun was behing clouds. I had hard time to decide, if we should go on a location – if the sunset would not be interesting, we had to do the paperwork again to get into that location. Finally we decided to try and we capture beautiful sunset, as you can see in the picture from the beginning of this post
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