Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Using a Time-Lapse to Record your DIY Projects

I've been looking into improving my photos taken in the Workshopshed and asked Jeremy Cook from DIY Tripods for his thoughts.

Using a Time-Lapse to Record your DIY Projects
If you're going to make an interesting project that you might want to share with the world in the future, one great way to communicate what you've been up to is by making a time-lapse video. Unlike a traditional video, your hours and hours of work can be compressed down to just a few minutes or even seconds, depending on what you think your audience has the attention span for. I'll go over what you need to make this, as well as ways to produce your video.

Tools Needed
For my time-lapses, I've switched between several devices. These include a webcam using the program webcam time-lapse, a DSLR camera equipped with an intervalometer, and a GoPro camera. You can also use a smartphone with any number of apps available for them, but I've yet to try this.

As of now, my favorite method is the GoPro camera. Extremely tough, light, and with a self-contained power source, these cameras practically beg to be used in the shop environment. If you want to get creative, you can even place one on top of a kitchen timer for a cool panning effect. Here's a 'lapse I made while cleaning up the garage using both a panning GoPro and a DSLR camera:



Processing Methods
If you're going to use Webcam Time-Lapse, the processing is done in the program itself, but using a GoPro or DSLR will take some more work. The easiest free method I've found is to import your photos into Windows Movie Maker as a slideshow and save it as a video. Restart WMM and import the video you just made into it. The video can then be sped up to make your time-lapse run at the desired speed. There's also a similar method using the Linux-based program OpenShot if you use that OS.

If you are willing to shell out some money for your software, better options are available. I use CyberLink PowerDirector which has saved me a huge amount of time and effort. I'm sure other paid editing packages also do a good job with time-lapses, but CyberLink is the only one I've tried so far.

Results
In addition to the earlier video, here's a lapse I made while manufacturing a “Hank Drum” out of an unused propane tank with the valve removed:



About the Author
Jeremy Cook is an avid maker and writes about interesting ways to mount and control a camera at DIY Tripods

Reference
DIY Tripods
Jeremy Cook's Youtube Channel
Panning using an egg timer
Webcam timelapse software
PowerDirector review

Additional reference
Linux Timelapse howto
Making an intervalometer using Arduino

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