Time lapse is that fantastic technique that lets us see plants grow, flowers blooming and clouds move rapidly across the sky, it allows us to see things that otherwise happen too slowly. A similar and very much related technique is ‘stop motion’ which is the technique for creating clay animations such as Wallace & Grommit and model animations such as the many Lego animations that can be seen on YouTube.
Both of these techniques are very easy to setup and use, basically all that is required is a suitable camera and PC/Mac with appropriate software. The software used for capturing the images will export a video and may also offer some editing functions as well.
The only difference between time lapse and stop motion is that time lapse uses a scheduled interval between frames and stop motion uses a manual interval, so an object can be moved. When played back at normal speed such as 25 or 30 frames per second these can make up a smooth video.
Some digital cameras now include software to enable time lapse or stop motion. Otherwise examples of suitable software include Dragon Stop Motion (PC/Mac) which works with a number of digital cameras. iStopMotion (Mac) from Boinx suitable for both stop motion and time lapse. A search on the web will reveal many more.
Update: Smoovie from Open Planet Software is reported as being easy to use.
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