Timelapse Photography II: The Art of Hyperlapse | Ian Norman | Skillshare

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Timelapse Photography II: The Art of Hyperlapse

teacher avatar Ian Norman, Photographer / Creator of Lonely Speck

Watch this class and thousands more

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

    • 1.

      Motion Types and Anchor Points


    • 2.

      Hyperlapse Shooting Techniques


    • 3.

      Stabilizing with YouTube


    • 4.

      Advanced Stabilizing in Adobe After Effects


    • 5.

      Explore Photo Classes on Skillshare


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About This Class

Welcome to Timelapse Photography II: The Art of Hyperlapse

Camera motion is arguably the most impressive addition to any timelapse movie. Where timelapse adds the dimension of time, hyperlapse adds the dimension of depth. Hyperlapse is the ultimate form of motion timelapse with camera motion that covers long distances.

Usually the addition of camera motion requires expensive equipment like motorized dollies or belt-driven camera sliders. Hyperlapse is extremely accessible and requires no special equipment. Anyone with a digital camera can create a professional, high definition hyperlapse movie. 

Timelapse Photography II: The Art of Hyperlapse is the second part of a three course series on timelapse photography. Students will create a hyperlapse, a specialized timelapse with camera motion over long distances.

In the prerequisite course, Timelapse Photography I: Introduction to Timelapse, students learned the basic professional timelapse workflow and created a timelapse of their favorite local landmark. 

In the final course, Timelapse Photography III: Seamless Day to Night, students create a sunset timelapse that seamlessly transitions from day to night. 

What You'll Learn

  • Hyperlapse Motion Types and Anchor Points.  Pre-planning motion and camera setup.
  • Hyperlapse Shooting Techniques. Executing the hyperlapse shoot and techniques for the smoothest motion.
  • Hyperlapse Stabilization Methods. Compiling and stabilizing frames into a high definition movie 

What You'll Make

  • Deliverable. Create a high definition hyperlapse movie of your favorite local landmark. 
  • Brief. You'll learn how to setup, shoot and edit a professional quality hyperlapse sequence with camera motion that covers a long distance. You will learn how to stabilize and compile your frames into a high definition movie to share with the world on Vimeo or YouTube. 
  • Specs. You'll use a digital camera or smartphone to shoot a hyperlapse sequence. You'll edit these photos in Adobe Photoshop Lightroom and add background music. You'll share a stablilized sequence on Youtube or Vimeo.

Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Ian Norman

Photographer / Creator of Lonely Speck


Ian Norman is a commercial photographer specializing in Timelapse Photography and Night Photography. He is the creator of Lonely Speck, where he shares astrophotography techniques and tutorials, and Photon Collective, a creative photography project community.

You can find more about Ian at his site's facebook pages for Lonely Speck, Photon Collective and on twitter and Instagram.

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1. Motion Types and Anchor Points: Hey everyone. Welcome to The Art of Hyperlapse. This is the second course in a three part time-lapse series. In the last class, we learned all the skills necessary to shoot, edit, and compile a time-lapse sequence. In this class, we'll learn about hyperlapse. Hyperlapse differs from other types of time-lapse with camera motion because the camera moves over really large distances. The best part about hyperlapse is that it's really easy to get started and surprisingly requires no special equipment. All we need is a camera. In the example for this class, I'll actually be using my smartphone. So, before we start shooting, let's talk about the four basic types of camera motion that we can use in our hyperlapses. The first one is called a dolly push, and that's when the camera moves toward the subject. The opposite is called a dolly pull. Next, when we move the camera from right to left, we call that a truck left and the opposite is called a truck right. The next and probably most important thing to talk about is the anchor point. Every hyperlapse sequence has an anchor point, even if it might not be initially obvious. In this example, it's in the center of the frame on the top of the building. You can see that the anchor point stays in a fixed position on the screen. So, let's see if you can find the anchor points on the next few hyperlapse clips. In the first one, it was in the center of the screen at the top of the dome. In the second, it's also on the top of the dome, but this time, it's off-center to the right. On the last clip, it's actually on the far right corner of the building on the right side of the screen. The type of motion and the anchor point that you choose will drastically affect the look of the resulting hyperlapse. So, I recommend trying a few different types of motion and experiment with different types of anchor points. Remember that it doesn't always need to be in the center of your subject or in the center of the screen. The only thing that's left is to pick your favorite local landmark as a subject. In the next video lesson, we'll learn how to execute the shoot. 2. Hyperlapse Shooting Techniques: Hey everyone. Welcome back. In the last video lesson, we learned about different types of motion and how to pick anchor points. So, by now, you should have a pretty good idea of which local landmark you want to use for your first hyperlapse. For this example, I'm going to use the Berlin Cathedral in Berlin, Germany. It's one of my favorite buildings in the area and it's a really great subject for hyperlapse. I'll also be using my smartphone for this example, but remember that any digital camera should work just fine. Just remember to have a clear memory card and a full battery. If you're using a smart phone, I recommend that you use an advanced camera app, like Camera Awesome; we used it in the first class in the series. I like camera awesome in particular because you can use it to separately lock your focus and exposure points to anyone on the frame. So, in preparation for the shoot, the first thing to do is to pick your path. I'm going to do a truck left in this example, and I'm going to use the lines in the sidewalk as a guide. I think that this is a really helpful technique to use. So, I suggest trying to find or even create some sort of straight line on your path on the ground to make the creation of the hyper lapse easier. The second thing we need to do is to pick our anchor point and lock our focus. I'm going to use the top of the dome, so I'll set and lock my focus point there as a frame marker. On my digital camera, I'd first focus on my desire to anchor point, set the lens to manual focus, and then I'd use one of the focus marks or grid lines as a frame marker on the anchor point. So, now that we know our path and we figured out our anchor point, the last preparation is to lock the exposure. In this example, I'll lock the exposure on the building. Remember that you can lock your exposure on your digital camera by setting it to manual exposure mode and manually setting the ISO f-number and shutter speed, just like we did in the first time-lapse class. So, now that we have everything set, we're ready to shoot. All we need to do is take a photo with our frame marker around the anchor point, and then take a step along the path and take another photo making sure that we keep the frame marker on the same anchor point. Then we can just repeat this until we reach the end of our path. The rate of your hyperlapse will depend a lot on how large are steps that you take. So, if you take larger steps, the hyperlapse will result in faster motion, and if you take smaller steps, the hyperlapse will result in slower motion. I generally like taking smaller steps if possible because it results in more frames and smoother motion. It's really important that you try to maintain the same anchor point throughout the entire hyperlapse. So, once you reach the end of your path you should have a rough hyperlapse sequence. So, in the next video lesson, we'll learn a couple of methods for stabilizing the raw hyperlapse sequence. 3. Stabilizing with YouTube: Hey everyone. Welcome back. In the last video lesson, we learned how to shoot a hyperlapse sequence. So, now we should be ready to stabilize our footage. The first and simplest method is to actually use the stabilization algorithm in YouTube. It's not the fastest method, but it doesn't require any special software like Adobe After Effects and it actually works almost as well. First, we'll compile our sequence just like we would any other time-lapse. I'm using a free program called Time Lapse Assembler for Mac and I've included download links to it and Photo Labs 3 for Windows in the project guide below. So, open time-lapse assembler and we'll pick the folder that contains all the photos from our hyperlapse sequence and then we'll set our Codec to mp4, Framerate of 24 frames per second. We'll resize and scale proportionately the output movie, so that it's 1920 pixels wide, which is standard HD resolution. We'll make sure the quality is set to max and then we're ready depressing code. I'll just save it to the default location for now. So, once that's finished encoding, you should have an unstable hyperlapse sequence that's ready to upload to YouTube. So, I'll go to youtube.com/upload and I'll click the Select files to Upload button and find my unstable hyperlapse sequence and I'll click Upload here. Now, I'll just name this the Hyperlapse YouTube Stabilization Example and wait for it to upload. So, when it's finally finished uploading click on the Video Manager at the bottom of the page and then we'll find our hyperlapse sequence. We will click on the little drop-down arrow next to the Edit button and select Enhancements. So, on the enhancements page, all we need to do is click the Stabilize button on the right side of the screen and you can see that it gives us a preview of the stabilized version of the hyperlapse sequence. You can add any other enhancements or fixes that you might want to include and then all you need to do is click the Save button and then YouTube will take some time to process the final hyperlapse sequence, so, you'll have to wait for a little while it finishes processing. So, once it's done processing, you can click Play and see the final result. That looks pretty good. So, now that YouTube's finished processing, we can go back to the Video Manager button and then we can download our movie to our desktop by selecting the drop-down next to the Edit button and then clicking Download mp4 and I'll just save that to my desktop. Then you should be able to open the file and see the final result. Here's another example of a different hyperlapse sequence that I've uploaded to YouTube and applied the enhancements to and you can see that YouTube does a really great job of stabilization. In the next video lesson, we'll talk about how to use Adobe After Effects to do the same sort of stabilization. 4. Advanced Stabilizing in Adobe After Effects: Everyone, welcome back. In the last video lesson, we use the built-in YouTube stabilization algorithm to stabilize our Hyperlapse. YouTube is nice because it's completely free but it doesn't really give us very much control over the stabilization technique and sometimes, it doesn't do the best job. The very best form of stabilization that's available now is through Adobe After Effects. You can download a trial version of Adobe After Effects in the link, in the project guide below. The first thing that we're going to do in Adobe After Effects is import all of our individual photos by selecting, File, Import, and then selecting the very first photograph. We should check to see that JPEG Sequence is selected. This support all of the photos from our Hyperlapse sequence. So, once the JPEG Sequence has been imported into your project, you should check and make sure that the frame rate is set to 24 frames per second. We'll do this by right-clicking on the JPEG Sequence and selecting Interpret Footage, and then Main, and then we should look over at the frame rate here and make sure that that's set to 24 frames per second. Then, we can click OK. So, the next thing we want to do is drag our JPEG Sequence into a new composition by dragging it over the Create a new Composition button, and then we're actually ready to stabilize by right-clicking on the Composition Layer and selecting Warp Stabilizer. Then, After Effects will go through and process all the frames and stabilize our footage. You can check on the progress of this in the Effects Control Toolbar. In Effects Controls, we also have a few different options for our stabilization. So, for example, we can choose the level of smoothness of the stabilization and that'll determine how much warping and cropping the stabilization algorithm uses to stabilize our Hyperlapse sequence. So, once Warp Stabilizer is finished processing, we can check to see what our sequence looks like by pressing the Play Button in the Preview Toolbar or we can press spacebar to initiate playback. That looks pretty good. So, now, that our Hyperlapse has stabilized, we're ready to export. So, we can click File, Export, and then select Add to Render Queue, and that'll add our sequence down here to the Render Queue. Then, we want to make some adjustments to the output modules so our file sizes aren't too big. So, I'm going to click on where it says, Lossless here, and that brings up the Output Module Settings window. Over on the right here, I'm going to select Format Options. Then, under Video Codec, I'll scroll down and I'll actually select Photo - JPEG, which is my preferred method for creating a really high-quality file that you can edit later. Then, I'll use a little bit of compression and bring it down to about 95 or so, and that keeps file sizes relatively reasonable. Then, finally, I'll go ahead and select the output size that I want. I want this to be roughly 1080p, so I'll select HDTV 1080 at 2400 frames per second, and then I can click OK. All right, now, we should be ready to render, so all we have to do is click the Render Button. Then, After Effects will go through and render each frame into our output movie. So, now, we should be able to go and open up our movie and see how it did. That looks pretty good. So sometimes, After Effects doesn't always do the best job at stabilization. So, I'm going to show you one more method that allows us to stabilize our footage with a little more accuracy. So, I've another Hyperlapse Sequence here and I've already imported all of my frames and created new composition. So, the first thing that I want to do is make sure that I have my Tracker Toolbar open. So, I'll go to Window, and make sure that Tracker is selected, and that'll bring up this toolbar over here on the bottom right. Now, that we have our Tracker Toolbar enabled we can select Stabilize Motion, and then down on Track Type, we'll make sure that that says Stabilize. Then, we'll make sure the checkboxes for Position and Rotation are selected. What that'll do is that'll create two different tracking points that we can move around the composition, and each of these tracking points has a different role. Tracking point one will track for position and then tracking point two will track for rotation. So, tracking point one needs to move to our anchor point, tracking point two should be moved to a portion of the image that stays relatively still relative to our anchor point throughout the entire sequence. So, in this example, my anchor point will be this top window on this tower. I'll adjust the outer box of the tracking and point to give it a little bit more leeway for our unstable footage. What this box does is it tells After Effects where it should look for the feature that's in the center box. Then, I'll move tracking point two to this lower window on the bottom of the tower. So, for most Hyperlapses that use a track left or track right, I recommend selecting your tracking points based on some vertical feature like the corner of a building, or in this case, I'm using the two windows on the building. Basically, we want two features that aren't expected to move relative to each other in position or rotation. So, I'll go ahead and adjust the tracking boxes so that they're a little bit larger, so that After Effects searches for our feature over a larger area. This is really important for our initial footage because it's pretty jittery and the feature is expected to move around a whole bunch. Then, we can start clicking through the frames under analyze. When we're confident that it's tracking it pretty well, we can go ahead and click the Play Button under Analyze, and that will go through each frame and track the two points that we specified. So, now that After Effects has fact all of our points across the entire Hyperlapse Sequence, we can go ahead and click Apply, and then make sure that it applies it to both dimensions X and Y, and click OK. So, if you press spacebar to see how After Effects did, we can see how it rotated each frame so that our two tracking points stay relatively stationary. So, that's relatively a good start but you can see that we still have some jitteriness on the corners. So, the next thing that we're gonna do is I'm going to take this composition that we did the initial tracking stabilization on, and we're going to drag it to the Create a new Composition button and create another subcomposition. Then, we'll apply Warp Stabilizer to this new composition. So, once Warp Stabilizer finishes, you can go ahead and press spacebar to see what the final result looks like. So, that looks pretty good but you can still see that we have some black edges showing up on the corners. So, we'll go ahead and drag our video footage to fit a little bit better on the bounding box by selecting one of the corners and be sure to hold down shift so that you keep the same aspect ratio. That looks just about right. Then, we go ahead and check and make sure that none of those black corner show up again by pressing spacebar to review the footage. That looks pretty good. So, we're ready to export just like before. So, I'll select File, Export, Add to Render Queue. That'll adjust my export options under the Output Module Settings and I'll select Photo - JPEG format option and set compression to 95 percent. Then, I'll do the final resize at HDTV 1080p at 2400 frames per second, and then click OK. Now, we're ready to click Render. So, once After Effects is finished rendering, we can open up and file and see how it did. So, if doing a single pass of Warp Stabilizer isn't working very well for your Hyperlapse sequence, using the motion tracker points can help you gain some more control over the synchronization. That just about covers it for the best ways to stabilize your Hyperlapse footage. Now, that you have a fully stabilized Hyperlapse Sequence, you should be ready to cut it in your favorite video editor, maybe add some music and then upload it to YouTube or video. 5. Explore Photo Classes on Skillshare: