Time lapse is a technique in photography in which you take a serious of continuous photographs to show an accelerated view of an otherwise slow process. This technique can be used to show a flower blooming, clouds shifting, movement around a city, or any other process in which you would like to see in faster motion. The technique of time-lapse has been used in photography and film for a wide variety of uses, but I personally like to use it to create humor in an otherwise unexciting situation.
I came home a recent Sunday afternoon to find my neighbor about to build a large trampoline for his sons. Immediately I told him to stop so that I could set up my camera for a time-lapse video showing the construction of the trampoline. He did not quite know what I had in mind but he luckily went along with it.
To put together a time-lapse video, I recommend a camera that has the capability to take continuous shots on a set interval, a tripod, and film editing software to compile the photos (I used iMovie). The trick with time-lapse is knowing how long you want the end product to be as well as knowing how long the task takes. This way you can best estimate at what second interval to take the shots. To build the trampoline, I had assumed it would take my neighbor no more than two hours so I set the camera to take a photo every 6 seconds. From previous experience, I knew I would most likely set each picture to play in the video for only 0.1s. Therefore, the video would be at max 2 minutes. I prefer to keep these time lapse videos under 2 minutes to keep the attention of the viewer. Another key point is music/sound. Since you obviously are not recording sound when you take a photograph, the music or sound clips you use completely creates the mood and help retains view attention. Sound can completely make or break the film.
Unfortunately, my guess of two hours was off and after a lot of frustration and probably some embarrassment, my neighbor asked me to stop the camera. I took the photographs I had and decided to best recreate what had happened that long Sunday afternoon hoping that he would at least get a laugh out of it.
About 50% of the photographs I took (mostly at the end) were cut because they did not show much action and again, I do not want to lose the attention of the viewer. I decided to put in title pages so that viewers could follow along with what happened and also for a few laughs.
In the end, I was pleased with the product and know I set out what I wanted to accomplish when my neighbor called me laughing hysterically after he viewed it. I could even hear his sons laughing in the background on the other end of the line as they watched it which I considered bonus points. I decided to make this time-lapse film a tribute to all parents who have spent their weekends building contraptions for their children. I am sure there are many frustrated parents who built swing sets, dressers, bookshelves, playhouses, you name it, wishing these things came already assembled. So for all you annoyed parents out there who would much rather do something else on your weekend afternoons than build random apparatuses for your kids, this one is for you. Enjoy.
You can see other time-lapse videos by Natalie Bolea Photography on the natalieboleaphoto YouTube channel at