Alright we are now time lapsing!! Time lapsing seems to be a really big thing on the internet...kind of doing for visual art what videos did for music in the 80s! I'd like to say I don't get it, but the fact of the matter is, I have found myself lost in the rabbit hole of following link after link of time lapsed speed drawings and paintings on the internet. It is a great way to connect with your audience and share your process, allowing with a further level of understanding with what goes into an individual piece of work.
What tools did I use?
My first time lapse was more of an experiment. I used a Panasonic Lumix FZ80/82 to create the time lapsed footage. I set my increments at one shot every two seconds. I started using an mode that favours aperture over shutter speed to start, and later went full manual. The biggest problem I encountered was white balance, or auto white balance (AWB). I didn't turn it off on the camera and this resulted in major flickering. Once I did turn it off I resolved the issue of flickering but created a new problem of very dark whites. After the process, I read online some tutorials about adjusting the white balance manually, and I will do this if I return to the camera for a future time lapse, but I will be trying the program "Lapse It" on my Android for the next one.
I also used a pretty standard tripod lent to me by my father in law, and two cheap LED lights that I purchased from Walmart for about $9 bucks each. Because I was working on a vertical composition, I knew that sitting at a flat desk with a tripod overhead would not work for my reach, so I chose to work lying down on our home office floor. I used a watercolour board I had a co-worker make for me and I taped off any contact points of the drawing and tripod on the floor and board in case something moved. Incidentally, my daughter turned 1 last week and we needed the tripod for family photos and the board to prevent sparklers on the birthday cupcakes from burning our dining room table!
For the next time lapse, I will be using a small tripod attachment I purchased from Amazon for around $20 bucks that will clamp my phone in place at the top of the tripod.
What did I learn?
1. I learned that proper lighting and the correct settings are key to making the process as smooth as possible. Some of the "effects" I achieved from not having my AWB turned off on the camera really frustrated me. When I finally did turn it off, it really frustrated me that I didn't have the white balance set properly.
2. I learned that 2 seconds is too short of an interval for a 14 hour drawing! I kept filling up my memory card and having to transfer to my PC and build videos after the fact! If I am going to time lapse a big drawing using the Lumix again, I am probably going to set my intervals to as much as shot per 10-20 seconds! 1 shot every 2 seconds @ 30 frames/second of video = 1 hour of drawing over 1 minute of video. Instagram doesn't even let me post a video longer than a minute, and I must admit, I lose my interest in most time lapses after the 2-3 minute mark. So a 14 minute time lapse drawing seems a bit gratuitous to me! Let's keep it real!
3. I learned that maybe it's better to time lapse smaller projects to start, until I can get more time to invest all at once. A two hour drawing will be way more doable and way easier to shoot than a big 14 hour drawing. It also means I'll be able to work at my desk and control my surroundings a little better than on the floor.
Thanks for reading guys! Stay tuned for more, and if you have any questions feel free to post them in the comments!