Timelapse. We’re revisiting an old topic. If photography is likened to cooking, this is your slow-cooker crockpot recipe.
Why? Because you really have to wait for the whole process to finish before you can enjoy any of it.

Watch this awesome homemade time lapse video by SJCAM user, Trần Việt Hùng of Hanoi, Vietnam.

There are many, many places and ways to use timelapse photography that you will never run out of ideas with it, not to mention the almost endless number of combinations you can do with them.

To name a few:

These links above are actual works of SJCAM users, publicly available via YouTube. That last one is just pure epic!

You may want to try it out, and see how wonderful this camera feature is. Don’t be afraid to experiment! Combine 2 or more of those listed above and you will quickly fall in love with this camera technique.

To start you off with this tutorial, you will need these things:
  1. A steady surface. Flat as possible. To place a camera rig on.
2. A sturdy tripod. A monopod/selfie-stick will do but you need to tie it down real tight.
3. A large-enough powerbank.
4. Patience. Lots of it.
5. A plan. Or you mess up #4

Though not entirely necessary, these too will help you heaps:

  • Duct Tape. To completely immobilize your camera’s base. Tape down your setup so you don’t knock it over.
  • A companion. Someone to talk to while you wait, someone preferably entertaining, will bring you food, and will pick up items you absent-mindedly left on the scene because of your excitement to watch your footage on a bigger screen.

Alright. Let’s get to it…


Know in advance what and where you want to shoot, and plan the best time to set up your camera. Some scenes require you to be in tough to reach places. You don’t want to be late for that perfect timelapse opportunity.


Okay, remember, the slightest bump to your camera setup in the middle of the shoot will be so obvious in the final footage that you might not want to show it to anyone. Use duct tape, rocks, or other heavy objects to keep your tripod from moving. Once you start, you should never touch it or come near it again until you’re done shooting.

SJCAM - Camera tripod for best timelapse footage


If your timelapse requires you to record more than the battery’s limit, you cannot change batteries in the middle of your timelapse recording. It will not look good.
So charge up your main battery, and hook up a powerbank to the camera so it has enough juice for this.

Powerbank image


The difference? Videolapse is 1 seamless movie file stitched together on-cam. Photolapse is 1 separate image file saved to the card for every frame of the timelapse.
Both have strong points, and both have downsides. In Photolapse, you need to edit to make a movie, whereas in Videolapse, since output is a compressed MP4 video, will not have as sharp images as Photolapse. Choose well.

Photolapse and Videolapse settings (timelapse)


Go to Videolapse or Photolapse mode to make the necessary adjustments to camera settings.
You should not set anything to Auto. Nothing.
Go Manual.

If the camera shifts whitebalance, or exposure, or ISO mid-shoot, the whole setup is ruined and you will see it as a flicker, you can kiss your timelapse goodbye.
Here below are common basic settings for daytime timelapse:

  • ISO: 100
  • EV (Exposure Value 0)
  • Whitebalance: Daytime
  • Gyro: Off
  • Exposure Time: 1/3sec

Obviously, ISO, EV, and WhiteBalance must be adjusted depending on the light conditions, tweak to compensate.


Timelapse makes everything slow look fast. This pace can be set depending on how you want to present it. Time will have literally lapsed before the next frame is recorded. Choose from 1 second to 60 seconds.
Standard TV framerate is 24-30 fps (frames per second), so, if you can move those frames apart and scatter them over time, and then played at the standard speed, you got yourself a  timelapse.

Timelapse frame interval

The longer the interval, the faster things will appear on screen. I will not try to bore you with the math, nothing can beat experimentation when it comes to this, but do it before setting out to take your masterpiece footage.
Check your viewfinder to make sure your settings are right and see if the scene you want is properly framed. Once ready, go ahead and shoot away. O, by the way, I hope you brought snacks and drinks with you. Timelapse recordings take a really long time to make.


Before you can show the world how wonderful your creation is, you must first, of course, make it wonderful!
Go search for free downloadable video editors, there are even phone apps for this and most of them are very simple to use.
For Photolapse, all you need to do is choose your photos, and let the app take over and turn it to a playable movie.
For videolapse, you can edit out parts of the before and after, to take away that shutter press start or that shake at the end when you took the camera from the mount in your haste to watch it.

That’s it for now, we hope you liked it.

Don’t forget to show us your works, and join the discussions at the SJCAM Community Forums!


O, and, by the way, if you want to see a tutorial using the RAW function, here is a link to one by SJCAM community user BezBod (Bogdan Bezpalyi):
How to make awesome time lapses from RAW photos”




By Troy | Originally written on August 16th, 2017 |