14 May 2014

Time lapse videos

Most of us don’t have the time to sit and watch changing cloud formations. We notice flowers opening, seeds sprouting, and fruit ripening as a series of disconnected observations. Yesterday the flower was in bud, today it is open, tomorrow the petals have begun to fall.

Time lapse photography allows us to see such events as a continuous process. Multiple, frequent images of the same object or place are run together to form a video that speeds up the action. Now we can see the flower blossom, open and fall over a matter of minutes, as in this video by Neil Bromhall.

While modern equipment makes the process easier than it used to be, time lapse photography clearly still takes a lot of skill. Placing the object, managing the lighting, setting up the camera and processing the result all have to be done correctly to produce a good result. Video-sharing sites like Youtube and Vimeo have many wonderful examples.

Some photographers, however, go a step beyond the rest and add something which make their videos works of art rather than simple demonstrations of technical skill.

So Youtube has many videos of fruit gradually wizening and decaying. But James Knott reversed his sequence of a tomato shrivelling and produced a video that shows a shrivelled, moldy tomato gradually filling out and becoming whole. It’s intriguing.

Similarly, many people have used time lapse photography to film the process of their pregnancy. Most are well done. But this one by Armands Alps adds a story line and a touch of humour that makes me smile.

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