Clock Timelapse (how not to do it)

I wanted to create a video of time passing quickly, through the device of a clock. It’s not possible to video the clock for 12 hours, at least not with my camera, and it wouldn’t be the best solution anyway 🙂

The option I chose was to shoot a timelapse instead. This involved taking one shot every 2 minutes, for 12 hours, giving me a total of 360 shots. I used an intervalometer to control the camera, and left it running.

The clock was sitting on my living room table, which is right beside a large window. I knew the light would change over the course of the shoot but that was fine, because I wanted the lighting to change as the day went on. I had to make a stylistic decision about whether to leave automatic exposure turned on, which I decided to do. The effect of this would be to cause the camera to try and achieve the same exposure result in each picture. As evening approached and the lighting levels dropped, the camera would increase the duration of each shot to compensate. I made this choice to ensure that the clock was visible throughout.

I didn’t have the patience to wait the full 12 hours, in fact I turned off the camera after just 6, when I realised that I’d forgotten to turn off the automatic white balance on the camera. This is a rookie mistake to make when shooting a timelapse, my only excuse is that it’s been a while 🙂

I’ve included the botched result below, so you can see the effect of the camera randomly choosing different white balances is very obvious. Also apparent are the stutters where I’ve had to reset the intervalometer, because it only takes a maximum of 99 shots. That’s why I didn’t bother trying to correct the white balance issue, which is possible, but for this sequence wasn’t worth the effort.

[vimeo clip_id=23342567]

I’m going to try again next week, but in a more controlled environment. I might even purchase a light tent and some lamps to ensure total control over lighting and white balance. I’m browsing ebay as I write this, looking for cheap options. I’m a bit way of running lights I bought off ebay for 12 hours though. Might be an idea to have a fire extinguisher handy 🙂