gethin coles timelapse cinematography time lapse photography & cinematography

time lapse


Why Film?

There are digital Time-lapse devices becoming available (see here), but there are still several major problems with this new technology. Digital timelapse does not offer the flexibility with exposure and interval that you get with film:
When I use film I can shoot with an interval as small as a quarter of a second. This is still not possible with digital cameras. Small intervals are excellent for events that are have a reasonably short duration (sunrise with a telephoto lens, quick-changing clouds) or where the subject matter changes so quickly that any interval will effectively randomise what you see. For example - a waterfall, or light sparkling on water.

I frequently use long exposures, with heavy neutral density filters during daytime shooting, to slightly or grossly blur the subject matter. This creates a very different feeling to the staccato jumpiness usually seen in timelapse. Long exposures on digital severely drain the battery of digital cameras. My Bolex is clockwork! Literally! It will never run out of battery power, and my time lapse unit is powered by a lead acid cyclic battery that will go for several days without a charge.

Negative film has a huge latitude and is very tolerant to overexposure. Light levels frequently change during a shot. When the film is transferred I usually take 2 runs of each shot - one for the brightest sections of the shot, one for the darkest. These can then be blended in post-production to give huge lattitude and smoother transition from lighter to darker.

Its What You Do With It

Many timelapse professionals shoot on 35mm, I use 16mm at the moment: At the end of the day it doesn't matter what equipment you've got... A camera is a camera. Check out the portfolio...

timelapse cinematography


more to come...
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