Time Lapse Photography – Special Project

1. Project Date: I have been working on this project off and on for the past 3 weeks or so.

2. Detailed Description: 

LEARNING- The very first thing I did when I began this project was to finally open the Triggertrap my father bought me for Christmas and download the corresponding app on my phone. I was surprised and excited to find that the app had even more features than I initially thought. I then spent many hours watching video tutorials on triggertrap.com to learn more about how to actually use this device. If you just look at the Triggertap cable that attaches your camera to your smartphone it doesn’t seem all that complicated, but there is so much more that goes into it before you are able to produce the final product you have envisioned.

CHOOSING MY SUBJECT- When I first started I was trying to learn about all of the features the Triggertrap has to offer, but soon learned that that would take much more time than I had to spare. So I decided to focus solely on the basic time lapse feature and branch out from there once I had successfully produced a time lapse product. So my next step was to decide what I wanted to do a time lapse of. I spent another good hour or more searching the internet for inspiration by watching videos and looking through images.

TRIAL & ERROR- I eventually decided to try to make a time lapse video of a candle burning down. For my first try I chose a single thick candle which I set up on my kitchen table in front of my tripod. I lit the candle and watched it burn for a while to determine the best interval to set for my time lapse. I decided to set it to take a picture every 3 minutes. I set my camera to manual mode, with an ISO of 100, shutter speed of 1″, aperture at f11, and manual focus. I then turned off the lights and started my intervals. After a few hours I realized that this candle would take much longer to burn down than I anticipated and I didn’t want to leave it burning in my house all night. The next day I decided to try some smaller candles. I had a stash of old birthday candles so I stuck one to a plate with some melted wax, lit it, and timed it to see how long it would take to completely burn down. It ended up only taking about 20 minutes so I decided to stick with that idea. I took 12 of those birthday candles and stuck them to a plate and set the interval to 30 seconds on my first try. However, with the additional heat put out by all of the burning candles they ended up burning down quicker and I got just over 30 photographs by the time they burnt out. When I uploaded the photographs to my computer and edited them into a video it only last about 10 seconds. I tried to lengthen it, but when I did that the video appeared jumpy because I didn’t have enough photographs to properly fill the space. This led to a second try where I learned that if the volume on my phone wasn’t at 100% the camera wouldn’t recognize the trigger therefore I didn’t get any photographs that time. On my third try I set the interval to 10 seconds and ended up with over 100 photographs by the time all of the candles burnt down. This third try was my success! You can see the result in the video below.

POST- Once I had my third (or fourth if you count the first larger candle I attempted) set of photographs I was ready to create a final product. Since I had never made a time lapse video before this required a couple more video tutorials. I then imported my photographs as a sequence into Adobe Premiere where I sharpened them and added a bit of a vintage filter. I manipulated the duration of the sequence a few times until the video seemed to flow nicely. I then went to a site that contains music clips that are free for commercial use and chose one to insert into the background of my video. I added a fade at the beginning and end of the audio clip to help with the flow of the video and began the exporting process. Once that was done I uploaded it to YouTube and embedded it into my WordPress site.

3. Time Spent: 

LEARNING- 3.5 hours


TRIAL & ERROR- 4 hours

POST- 2 hours

TOTAL- 10.5 hours

4. Benefits: I was able to learn the basics of the Triggertrap and time lapse photography in time to teach the class about it in my tutorial last week. I have also scheduled a time to Skype with my father and teach him what I have learned since he also has a Triggertrap and wants to learn more about time lapse photography.

5. Check out my time lapse video below 🙂