Modern Time-Lapse Photography Techniques

From its inception in the 1870s, time-lapse photography has come a long way.

Yet it is still thought to be in its early days, rapidly developing in the modern day and becoming more & more popular. This is because it is now being widely used in the media and entertainment industries.

It has now evolved so significantly that there are many distinct ‘forms’ of time-lapse, taking it beyond its structured beginnings.


One of these is hyperlapse, essentially a ‘sped up’ time-lapse (even quicker than the ‘norm’). It is achieved through the use of smaller intervals, alongside the use of more complex motion paths. There are many of these on the internet that show the entirety of a city in just a short clip; a great way of advertising the city. It shows all aspects of it in a minimal amount of time, and draws attention to movement within the busy cities themselves.


Another additional method of time-lapse photography is entitled tilt-shift. Tilt-shift (or “miniature faking”) basically consists of taking a normal photograph of a real-world scene and editing it in Photoshop, or done optically through the use of a special lens. The effect it gives is an illusion of even the grandest of objects appearing as tiny and magical.

Disneyland is the most popular theme park brand worldwide and has started to use tilt-shift, a form of time-lapse photography, to capture different aspects of its many parks. The videos posted on their YouTube channel have proved extremely popular and gained over 2.5 million views, demonstrating the increase of popularity for time lapse in both business and leisure projects. Along with Merlin Entertainments, these are just two of the big brands using this technique more frequently.

Above: a tilt-shift video from Disney’s YouTube channel, produced by the resort.

Rapid interval capture

Above: rapid interval image from The Smiler

Rapid interval capture tends to be used for short-term projects due to the nature of it and the fact that it captures a greater number of images – as quick as multiple per second!

Back in 2013, we captured some rapid interval footage for The Smiler, from a range of different angles. We deemed rapid interval to be more suitable for this particular part of project as it tends to be used to document things moving at a faster pace, and the rollercoaster, which can be found at Alton Towers Resort, reaches speeds of up to 85 km/h.

These are just three of the more recent developments for time-lapse photography, showing that – although now almost 150-years-old, the technique is still in its infancy.

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