Time lapse photography is all the rage today. Everyone’s employing creative ways to use time-lapse videos to fulfil many objectives, like making music videos, films and cooking clips. If you’re someone who wants to start making their own time lapse videos, then the Canon 550D is the perfect camera to use. It is the best piece of equipment no matter if you’re a beginner or a professional photographer/videographer.
The camera comes with many unique features that aid greatly to time-lapse videos. It has an incredible APS-C CMOS sensor that shoots with an 18-megapixel frame which gives your images and videos astonishing visual clarity. Additionally, the camera can also shoot at 3.7 frames per second, which means your time-lapse videos will have every last frame that is needed to make the video all the more interesting and detailed. In fact, with this camera, you’ll also be able to shoot individual shots at 1/4000 sec.
With its DIGIC 4 imaging processor, your videos and images will have a soft glow and visibility to them that not many cameras can provide. Your time-lapse videos will not only be visually appealing to the eye but also to the mind since this camera’s video recording functions give it incredible depth.
The 550D’s processors and the sensors collectively work to produce the best content you desire for and help you advance your time-lapse photography, taking it to new levels with each incoming video. There are a lot more functions to explore in this camera, and how they can contribute to your time-lapse photography.
Here are 5 tips on using the Canon 550D for time-lapse photography.
Use Manual Mode
When shooting a time-lapse video, you have to make sure that your camera is set on manual mode. This mode is easily accessible on the dial, placed beside the shutter release button. The reason why you should set your camera to the manual mode is to avoid flickering in the final video. Since manual mode allows you to keep the settings of the camera at a constant, you don’t have to worry about them suddenly changing in the middle of recording.
If you use the auto mode, for instance, your final video is bound to have some flickering in it, which generates a very unprofessional interpretation from the viewers about you. Since a time-lapse is recorded in a lengthy format, your camera may stay on and record for hours on end, which means it will have to go through several atmospheric light changes.
On the auto mode, these light changes will cause the camera to automatically adjust the settings, including ISO levels, aperture, shutter speed and white balance, which will practically cause flickering to happen. On the manual mode, all this hassle can be avoided.
Obtaining the manual mode on the Canon 550D is incredibly simple. All you have to do is locate the physical dial on top of the camera, placed between the flash and the shutter button, and rotate it to the ‘M’ mode. This means you can now adjust your ISO levels, aperture and all other functions that the camera provides. In this way, your photography and videography can be customized in whatever way you wish for it to be. You can add more lighting or shadows or even slow the video down through the manual mode.
Lock Your Focus
A time-lapse is often recorded to visualize slow processes, like growing plants and moving clouds, in a sped-up manner. Since the subjects being recorded are constantly moving, you have to make sure that the focus is locked on the subject. You can use various methods to ensure that. For instance, you can use the auto-lock function on a camera to allow the focus to stick to the subject, or you can use the subject tracking function to do the same. Locking your focus becomes essential in this way.
For example, if you’re recording a time lapse video of a growing plant, then the stem, the branches and the leaves are bound to move. If your camera’s focus is not locked in place, then the movements of the plants will cause the lens to lose focus which will leave you with a blurry video. If you lock your focus, the blurring can be avoided. It is easy to lock your focus. All you have to do is either use the manual focus function or use the methods above like subject tracking and auto-lock.
The Canon 550D has many different focus functions. It obviously has the conventional manual and autofocus capabilities. However, it also has specific settings that allow you to lock focus on any subject you are shooting. This camera comes with 9 different autofocus points which will enable you to focus on several subjects in the same frame. Also, the 550D also has a TTL phase-detection system which records any movements that happen.
Use The Right Interval
Most time-lapse photography happens at an interval. You have to set the right intervals for you to be able to create good quality and consistently times videos. The interval is basically the time frame that you shoot for. This can vary according to whatever you are shooting. If the process you’re shooting is slow, then the interval can be longer, while if the process is faster, then the interval has to be shorter.
For example, if you’re shooting a growing plant, then the interval has to be much longer because you will have to compress weeks worth of videos into just a few seconds. Whereas if you’re recording a heavily populated street, then the interval can be smaller since the video will not be as long anyway. The fact that people move fast and the idea of the hustle and bustle is appropriately conveyed, you can use a smaller clip. However, since plants are slow in growing, it may take you longer to record.
You can use the Canon 550D in many ways, including interval shooting. Since it can take several hours for you to shoot the shot, the camera comes with a rechargeable lithium-ion battery. This way you can buy extra batteries or use the same one again and again. The battery for this camera can give you hours worth of recordings and the memory card slots will help you store all your files for your time-lapse videos.
Pick Good Music
Time lapses were formerly used only for documentaries and films. However, today they are used for practically everything. From Instagram posts to film shots to youtube videos, anyone and everyone can make a time-lapse. For this reason, more and more people are trying to aestheticize their videos which includes picking good background music. You have to match the music to the video so that the viewer can fully experience the video as if s/he were in it.
In picking the music, you also have to remain conscious about what the pace of the video is. For example, if the video is a fast-paced street where cars and people are moving fast, or if it’s a thunder cloud coming your way, then the music should ideally be upbeat. However, if you’re showing a serene jungle growing, then use slow and mellow music that calms people down. So, always choose the music in line with what you have in the video.
The Canon 550D has an HDMI and a USB port which you can use to easily export videos onto another device for editing. You can also import music on to the camera or watch your record videos live through its live casting function. This way, you will have the opportunity to watch the video as you’re selecting the music for the background.
Make Use Of Motion
Another essential thing to mention about time-lapse videos is motion. While unplanned movement and shakiness are strictly discouraged in time-lapse videos, slight use of motion is welcome. This movement needs to be planned and needs to represent something. It must show something that the viewers have not previously seen. The movement of the camera should ideally be done by mounting it onto a motorized tripod which can be slowed down to match the intervals of recording.
For example, suppose you’re recording the growth of a jungle. In that case, you can use motion to create a panoramic effect of shrubbery growing all around the camera. It will make the viewer feel like the jungle is growing around her/him. In this case, your camera will have to move at an incredibly slow speed. To take another example, you can set up your camera in the middle of a busy street and rotate it to take a panoramic view of the whole surrounding. It will make the viewer feel like s/he is in the market her/himself.
The Canon 550D has several mounting locations for tripods and external flashes to be attached for better photography experience. You can use these mounts to attach motorized tripods to help generate some motion so that you can get the panoramic views of any place you’re shooting. Thus, there are many ways that you can incorporate the different features of this camera into creating a fantastic time lapse video. So go out there and start recording.