Nikon Learn & Explore

Online Exclusive: Time Lapse Photography Adds Interest to your D-Movies

© Steve Heiner

Want to control the space-time continuum? Sure you do; it's fun, and you can do it when you add time-lapse footage to the D-Movies you make with your Nikon DSLR.

Time-lapse is, in effect, a compression of time. Set the interval timer function that's available on most Nikon DSLRs and mirrorless cameras to take x-number of frames every x-number of seconds—say, one frame every three seconds—and when the images are played back time seems to speed up.

Time lapse goes way back, farther even than the original Time Lord, Dr. Who. If you ever sat through a high school science course you've seen the bean-sprouting footage. More recently it's likely you've seen intriguing time-lapse sequences on cable TV's nature and learning channels. Well, your D-Movies can be likewise creative and exciting.

Nikon's resident D-Movie maker is Senior Technical Manager Steve Heiner, and from time to time Steve blends time lapse footage into his D-Movies for a couple of reasons. First, it's a cool story-telling transition device that moves viewers from scene to scene in an interesting and appropriate fashion. Second, it compresses time so viewers can experience the essence and importance of an event without having to see the entire episode. As Steve points out, with time-lapse a multi-hour process takes place in multiples of seconds. Third, and perhaps most striking of all, time lapse presents the ordinary—the transit of traffic through city streets or the rush of clouds across the sky, for example—in a visually extraordinary way.

Take a look at Steve's time lapse demo reel right here, and be sure to read about the techniques of time lapse in Moving Pictures, his column in the spring issue of Nikon World magazine. Click here to go to the Nikon World article.

Dr. Who, meet Dr. D-Movie.

Time Lapse Video - Time-lapse is a compression of time. Learn how easy it is to add to DSLR video.

Steve Heiner

Steve is the former Senior Technical Manager and Media Spokesperson for Nikon. After working as a photojournalist for several hometown newspapers in his native state of Utah, Steve joined Nikon in 1985 as a Technical Representative. During his time in the field, Steve provided technical assistance and training to pro photographers during major sporting and news events. He had trained government and military specialists around the country and while at sea. 

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