Home Uncategorized How to Shoot a Timelapse video with a Canon Camera

How to Shoot a Timelapse video with a Canon Camera

How to Shoot a Timelapse video with a Canon Camera

Whether you are a filmmaker or enthusiast photographer you always want to take photos or videos in a much more creative way. One such creative way is shooting timelapse videos. With the timelapse video, you can make your videos much more dynamic and stunning.

Before we explain how to shoot a timelapse video with a Canon camera, let’s first know what exactly a time-lapse means? Timelapse videos or movies are nothing but a number of photos put together to produce a video where time passes very quickly.

Timelapse can be created using hundreds or thousands of images stitched together. If you take more photos in timelapse then you can get longer timelapse videos.

When and why do we need time-lapse videos?

Actually, normal videos give 24 frames per second and the normal video takes that much time what our eyes generally see. For example, if a video has been shot for 25 minutes then you have to see that video for 25 minutes.

But in the case of timelapse videos, you actually reduce that time where you can watch 25minutes or hours of captured photos within a few seconds in video format. By using time-lapse options you can actually capture many events which usually take hours or days, weeks or months.

If you are in an event that lasts for a week then you can set a time interval to capture each of the scenes and combining those scenes you can get your desired timelapse videos.

Some examples of the timelapse videos could be a flower that takes a whole day to blossom but with timelapse, you can actually see the flower blossom in seconds. Other examples are sunrise to sunset which takes a whole day and with the timelapse, you can see the sunset in a few seconds.

In short in timelapse videos you can compress the longer time (hours, days, weeks)  into seconds. The concept of timelapse videos is pretty simple, just take the photos in various time intervals put together those photos, and get a timelapse video. But to create timelapse you have to do some settings in order to get professional-looking results.

Thanks to Canon’s new EOS cameras which come with built-in timelapse movie shooting mode which can automatically create a timelapse for you. The EOS series which have timelapse video mode includes EOS Rebel SL3, EOS 80D, EOS 250D, EOS 850D, and EOS 5D Mark IV. But what about the older Canon cameras which do not have timelapse video mode? Don’t worry, for that there is the option of intervalometers too.

By using intervalometers you can take photos even without touching the camera. Canon also has its own intervalometer i.e. TC-80N3 Remote control which can work pretty cool with older EOS bodies.

So, now let’s understand the difference between the intervalometers and timelapse video mode and how they work in different Canon bodies.

Difference between intervalometers and timelapse video mode

While the new series of Canon cameras have a timelapse movie mode, the older ones also have the option of an intervalometer. Both the timelapse movie mode and intervalometer function in the same way which allows you to take as many as pictures you want and put an interval gap between each photo.

Actually, the main difference is in the timelapse movie mode, the camera can automatically create a video clip whereas the intervalometer has the capability to save each snap in the memory card which later can be converted to a movie using the software.

Both of the options i.e. intervalometer and timelapse video mode have both advantages and disadvantages. Actually, there is more flexibility you can see while using an intervalometer as you set a particular time interval between each snap.

With the intervalometer, you can actually shoot Raw files too. Apart from that here in the intervalometer you can use flash and can do adjustments to the playback of images as well.

In addition to this, between each picture, you can also do a variety of adjustments. The adjustments such as tweaking the focus exposure, picture style, and white balance can be done while using an intervalometer. But while adjusting all those things you also have to do more things on the computer for a long time too.

While on the other hand, timelapse movie mode works in a very simple way. The image which is captured gets automatically cropped in a standard aspect ratio and creates a movie quickly which can be shared instantly too.

The disadvantage of timelapse video is it does not offer more flexibility as intervalometers do. Here in this option you also can’t use flash. So if you ever want to change the camera settings while recording, you can’t do so. For a perfect camera setting, you should have done all those settings prior to the recording.

How many shots can you take for your timelapse movie?

How many shots can you take for your timelapse movie?

While you are setting up your camera for time-lapse, recording time and playback time play a major role that one should consider. The speed of the photos which you want to capture largely depends on the interval between each picture.

Suppose if you are capturing long photo-shoots such as flower blooming (slow-moving subject) then you must set the time interval in minutes between each photo. While in fast-moving subjects such as shooting a landscape on a windy day you might need a time interval in seconds between each photo.

Time intervals also depends on how long the time-lapse will take to record too. You can see the recording time is changing when you adjust the time interval into timelapse mode.

Apart from that the number of shots also has an impact on recording time and playback time. This can be monitored when setting up timelapse mode on the camera menu. There you can see an increase in recording time if you increase both time interval and number of shots.

The playback time also largely depends on the number of frames to fill one second as per the standard playback speed. If you set your camera to the PAL video system then it can generate 25 frames per second and if you set it to NTSC then you can get 30 frames per second. For a 10second time-lapse video, you have to take nearly 250 to 300 frames.

Which subjects show the passing of time?

There is a diverse range of subjects that can suit this time-lapse technique. For example, melting ice cubes, playing with pets, or doing things in the kitchen could be a great starting point for time-lapse.

While shooting timelapse you must have to be clear about your start and endpoint. It is because at the end you are able to distinguish the final frame from the initial frame.

Suppose if you are taking a timelapse of flower blooming then you must have to position your camera straight to its petals so that you can get a better timelapse when the flower will fully bloom.

The same thing applies to the sunrise and moonrise where the sun is the starting point and the moon is the ending point of a timelapse. For further clear cut timelapse you can also do some post-processing using the software too.

Apart from all that whether you shoot indoors or outdoors the timelapse also depends upon the quality and quantity of the lights as well.

How to set up the camera for timelapse video?

  1. First go to the menu button then switch to timelapse movie mode.
  2. Then hit the info button for accessing time interval and number of shots.
  3. Then select an interval time i.e. how much gap you want to set between each snap. Actually interval time depends on the subject. If your subject is fast moving then you can set a time interval of 2 or 3 seconds. Whereas for slow moving subjects like flower blooming, you can set the time interval of 20 or 30 seconds.
  4. After setting the time interval now you can choose the number of shots as well.

Below are the rough references for the shot number and timelapse length.

  • 750photos – 30 seconds of timelapse video
  • 1500photos – 1 minute of timelapse video
  • 4,500photos – 3 minutes of timelapse video
  1. At last compose your shot and hit the shutter button.

Recommended equipment for timelapse videos

  • Camera – Many dslr cameras have built-in timelapse movie mode.
  • Tripod – Maintain the composition for each shot that the camera captures.
  • Lenses – Wide angle lens great for cityscapes, macro lens is great for the flower blooming, prime lens is great for the low light situations (sunset and night sky photography).

Following things, one should consider before taking timelapse

  • Use slower shutter speed
  • Be patient
  • Keep an eye on your battery power
  • Keep an eye on the ‘card-time left’ number.
  • Shoot in manual mode

Bottom line

The above article describes how to shoot timelapse videos using Canon cameras. Though some of the Canon cameras lack the timelapse movie mode still you have the option of an intervalometer too which you can go for.

We have tried our best to give a detailed description regarding time-lapse videos and if we left something please let us know in the comment box. Thank you. Have a nice day.


Q. How do you do a timelapse video on Canon?

A: Switch your camera to the timelapse movie mode then set the time interval and number of shots and finally hit the shutter speed. You can also use a tripod for getting the same composition throughout.

Q. What canon cameras have timelapse?

A: Most of the new EOS series such as EOS 80D, EOS 250D, EOS 850D, EOS 5D Mark IV cameras have a timelapse movie mode.

Q. Does Canon EOS have a timelapse?

A: Most newer EOS have timelapse.

Q. Does 70D have a timelapse?

A: No, 70d does not have a timelapse. For timelapse video one has to use an intervalometer.

Q. How do you shoot long-term timelapse?

A: By setting a high range of time intervals and high number of shots one can shoot long-term timelapse.

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