How to make a simple time lapse video

Over the years we’ve seen many hotels grow in size to accommodate more rooms, larger dining rooms, a spa, the list goes on. The problem is, when the building is done and the wraps come off it, what was there before is all but forgotten. However, with a little bit of planning and setting up of the right technology, it’s possible to create an entertaining and informative video that you can display on your website or show in the foyer of your hotel.

Time-lapse photography is a technique that records a scene over time by taking pictures slowly over time (hours,days or weeks) and then compressing them into a video of just a few minutes long. This then gives the illusion of the scene changing quickly so a new building seems to appear in just a few minutes.

Making your first time-lapse

The best thing to do is to start with something simple. Time lapse by its very nature will take a long time to do. If you spend hours on a setup, create your first video and then realise after a week that it hasn’t worked, it can be a bit of a let-down. Instead, pick something you can try out for a few hours. Some great things to try are:

  • Traffic – if you live near a traffic island or a junction, this can make for an interesting time-lapse as the cars seem to stop then zoom in and out of roads.
  • Clouds – they move fairly quickly anyway, speed it up with time lapse for an interesting effect
  • Ice melting – this can look fantastic, especially with some interesting lighting


What camera to use

I’d love to say go out and buy yourself an expensive digital SLR camera and go for it, but again, we’re starting small here so let’s be sensible and instead use the web cam on our computer. If you don’t have a webcam built in, they can be purchased really inexpensively from Amazon and you don’t need to buy a super-quality one, you’re simply testing things here.

When you’ve got your camera, you’ll then need some software to control it and there’s a fantastic package called “Webcam Timelapse” which is totally free and controls your webcam for you. You can get a copy here :

Check out their example video:

Brilliant eh?

Give that a go and see what you can do, in a few days we’ll explain how to take this a little bit further with a higher-spec camera and create some stunning videos to wow your clients.

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