360° Time Lapse with a GoPro Hero 4

Are you looking for an easy way to create a brief video that shows a 360° view of a natural landscape, a park or playground, a city block, or the interior of a building? I’ve produced a two-part tutorial showing how to do it with a GoPro camera, an egg timer, and GoPro Studio.

If you conduct field research, this might be a great way to document a study site or create a unique view of whatever you are studying. Put the time lapse video on your website or use it in a presentation.

Time-Lapse Videos Based on Mining of 86 Million Photos Posted Online

If you are fascinated by time-lapse videos, this news item might be of interest. A group at the University of Washington (in collaboration with Google) has created an automated process of scanning the 86 million photos posted online and turning them into time-lapse videos showing glaciers shrinking, skyscrapers being erected, and much more (a total of 11,000 time-lapses). Their approach involves clustering the photos into landmarks or popular photographic sites, sorting by date, warping each photo to a common viewpoint, and stabilizing the sequence to minimize changes in lighting.

Below is a video showing some of the 11,000 time-lapses they created:

And here is a preprint of their paper to be published in ACM SIGGRAPH 2015:

Download (PDF, 29.55MB)


Using Time-Lapse Video To Demonstrate Mangrove Restoration Techniques in Mekong Delta

I’ve been attending a conference this week (Turning the Tide on Mangrove Loss) and have been pleased to see so many presenters using video in their talks to show various aspects of their research. One effective video used time lapse photography to show the construction of “t-fences” in the Mekong Delta. T-fences are used to capture sediment and help build soil elevations sufficiently to support mangrove vegetation. Here is the video (link in case you cannot see the player window):

If you are interested in learning how to create a time lapse video, I’ve produced several tutorials and written posts about the topic:

Use Time Lapse to Reveal Unseen Biological Phenomena

How to Create a Time-Lapse Video with Your Smartphone

How to Create a Time-Lapse Video from Still Images

Time Lapse Tutorial for GoPro Hero 3+

Time Lapse Tutorial for GoPro Hero 3+

You may have seen a couple of my tutorials on creating time-lapse movies using still images taken with a camera and with Lapse It, an app for smartphones. In this post, I provide a tutorial for those of you who have (or wish to) the popular action camera, GoPro Hero (I recommend watching their marketing trailer–it’s great).

In the tutorial, I show how to set up the camera, shoot, and then edit (with the free GoPro Studio application for Mac or PC) a time lapse film (select HD version in settings and full-screen for best viewing; if you cannot see the player window, here is the direct link to the video):

I found the GoPro Hero 3+ easy to use to capture a series of images for time lapse. Because it comes with a waterproof housing, the camera can be set up underwater, in the rain, or in other wet locations. You can shoot over long time periods without worrying about water damage due to a sudden rainstorm.

You do have to edit the images to create the final time-lapse film, but the GoPro Studio application makes this process pretty painless. As you saw, just import the images from the camera and within a few minutes, they are converted to a movie clip.

Tip: Note that the GoPro Hero 3+ can take up to 12 megapixel-size images, which are beautiful, but huge. If your time-lapse film will be shown on the internet, you don’t need such large images, which will result in a very large file when converted to a movie. Dial back to 7 or 5 megapixels.

I’ll be doing additional tutorials with the GoPro Hero 3+, so stay tuned.

Want to learn more techniques like this? If so, you may be interested in my ebook, The Scientist Videographer, which covers everything you need to know to produce an effective and professional video. Available in iTunes Store (fully interactive version for iPad, iPhone, & Mac), Smashwords (text version), and Amazon Kindle (text version).

Use Time Lapse To Reveal Unseen Biological Phenomena

I’ve written previously about how useful time-lapse video can be in showing biological or physical phenomena that cannot be readily observed in real time. Most people are fascinated by time-lapse movies—a reaction the scientist videographer can use to advantage. I came across an article in the BBC News Magazine about “Underwater time-lapse shows secret life of a coral reef“.

You can see the video that accompanies the BBC article here. It includes a lot of amazing time-lapse footage of coral reefs. You can also get an idea of how the scientist (Dr. Pim Bongaerts of the University of Queensland) captured some of the footage in aquaria or in the field.

If you are interested in using time-lapse photography in your research or in a science video, check out my tutorials explaining how to shoot time lapse below:

How to create a time-lapse video with a smartphone

How to make a time-lapse video from still images