When I first got my D5000 I spent some time like I do with all new cameras, searching through all the menus. When I reached the bottom of the Shooting Menu I found a setting entitled Interval Timer Shooting.
I was surprised to find this feature as it is usually only found on more expensive DSLR models. Since I have a job next week that involves a 24 hour time-lapse shoot I thought it would be fun to play around with some interval shooting this weekend but for a much shorter duration. Making time-lapse videos is not extremely difficult but it does require a little pre-planning. There are two factors to consider when setting up the camera. The first is exactly what the frame rate will be. Frame rate will dictate how often the camera fires. The D5000 has a limit of 999 images that can be captured in the interval shooting mode, which means that the rate will be effected by the duration of the project. If I wanted to capture a scene for 2 hours, I would not be able to set the timer to take more than one frame ever 7 seconds. Another consideration is what the final frame rate of the time-lapse movie will be. At 30 frames per second, a time-lapse video made from 999 frames will last about 33 seconds. Luckily time-lapse vedeos usually look more interesting at slower frame rates like 15, 10, or even 6 frames a second.
Lucky for me, I was only interested in creating a short video from 600 frames so I set my capture rate at 1 frame every 3 seconds. I also set the camera to shoot JPEGs using the smallest image size possible (2144×1424 pixels) because my final video would only be 640×480 so shooting at full resolution would be a waste and require longer processing times.
Once I had set up all the parameters I let the camera do it’s thing and record my 600 images. Once done, I transfered the images to my computer hard drive to make the video processing go smoother. Next I created the video using QuickTime Pro. There are a lot of ways to make time-lapse videos using different software but QuickTime Pro is by and large the easiest method I have ever used.
To create the video, go to the File menu in QuickTime Pro and select Open Image Sequence…
When the Open dialog opens, locate the folder that the sequence images are in and just select the first image. and click open.
The next step is to choose the frame rate that you want the video to be. I selected 24 fps for my short video.
QuickTime will then create then render the video at full resolution. I reduced the size on the screen so I could see the whole thing and then played the video to see if I was happy with the current frame rate. If not, all I had to do was close the video without saving and just run through the Open Sequence process again and choose a different frame rate. I was happy with the 24 fps but, because I want to upload it to the web, I chose to export the video at 640×480 using the standard QuickTime video settings.
That’s all there is to it. My final time-lapse was then uploaded to Viddler so you could check out the final result. If you would like to use QuickTime Pro for your time-lapse video creations, you can purchase a copy for about $30 by visiting the Apple QuickTime page. It is available for both Mac and Windows.
As a side note, the D5000 actually has a time-lapse feature in the Retouch Menu called Stop-motion movie. It is pretty nice and actually creates the video right in the camera using sequence images on the memory card using any number of frame rates. The only restriction is that it can only handle 100 images so it fell short of my particular needs this time.