Time-lapse photography gear essentials checklist

Seems like time travel has been the storyline in a lot of well-received movies, I got much attracted as well, and in the field of photography, we got something similar, yes, you got it right, It’s time-lapse photography I am referring to.

time travelflower blossom

What is time-lapse photography?

In Wikipedia’s interpretation:

Time-lapse photography is a technique whereby the frequency at which film frames are captured (the frame rate) is much lower than that used to view the sequence. When played at normal speed, time appears to be moving faster and thus lapsing. For example, an image of a scene may be captured once every second, then played back at 30 frames per second; the result is an apparent 30 times speed increase. Time-lapse photography can be considered the opposite of high speed photography or slow motion.

Quite informative but also quite narrative and hard to understand ?

To put it simple:

It is just shooting hundreds of photos of the same subject with movement which might be subtle to human eyes, stay camera-on over a period of time, and displaying them together into one video that plays back in a shorter amount of time.

For example, shooting the process of flower blossom ,cloudscapes and celestial motion, people in the city etc, usually the typical subject. Or to be more creative, we could interpret it in our own way, to record our lovely baby’s slow movement or something else we love.

2 4

To interpret with my personal feelings?

In such a speed-oriented 21st century when I even heard about speed yoga, I found my shooting process quite a tranquility time, getting away from the hectic life in metropolitan city with night-to-five routine schedules , set me free and enable me to discover something that are subtle to human eyes. And as someone puts it: It has a way of slowing the world for you the photographer while at the same time accelerating it for everyone else. It’s a way to cut through the noise and find fresh energy to share with others. Well, exactly how I feel about it.


So based on above, would you like to join us and escape a while in time-lapse video shooting? It’s actually quite east to get started if you already got the basic equipment for photography, just by adding a little bit more, we can get on the road.

I sorted out a barebones checklist for time-lapse photography gear, check out what you’re missing:

  1. A Tripod system for stability

A tripod would be quite necessary, or the prerequisite, as I mentioned, you’re supposed to shoot the slow motion over a period of time, unless you’re not a human being, there is no way you get to stay still for that same shooting status for a long time, so a very portable and stable tripod would be of great assistance. Sure needless to say we should also get tripod heads that goes with it( we’ll explain in our later blog about the types of tripod head) usually, you could easily find the package deal with both the tripod and the tripod head.


  1.  Intervalometer

A intervalometer helps you to get hundreds of photos at precise intervals .As you need to calculate based on the film rate you apply to display, for example, to get a 10-second video, film rate 25/s, in total you should get 300 pictures, set the interval time to be 4 seconds, then the time for your shooting process would be: 10*25*4=1000seconds, about 16.6 minutes.


And I would like to share a very unique electronic tripod head here as it’s much more than just a tripod head, yes, you didn’t get me wrong, a ballhead and can also be used as Intervalometer and who doesn’t love the word of “being versatile” especially our boss who always expect us to be multifunctional.

Here is a narrative from our versatile Sevenoak SK-EBH01 Ball Head:

Hi, everyone, as you can see, I am a ball head, but not a ordinary one, specially designed for time-lapse photography. Taking me along with my big brother tripod, time-lapse video shooting turns out to be so easy as I could help you snap hundreds of photos at precise intervals, and don’t forget I am also a ball head, which just made your bag lighter,Be light-hearted on the road! As this is supposed to be a journey for escape.

tripod head& intervalometer

  1. A camera

For me, a DSLR is good enough unless you’re shooting for really big screen like IMAX. Affordable, portable and very ease to use. Make sure you get fully charged before you start off, otherwise it could be such a buzz killer if you’re fascinated by the shooting while find it hald-done and have to start over.

That’s pretty much the basic, such a easy start right? And investment on tripod system and an intervalometer is quite affordable and just think about the shooting fun and the unnoticeable things you’re going to present to other human naked eyes.

Some supplements:

What I usually take with me would also include:

  1. A Track slider Dolly

which helps a lot when I was trying to capture the slow motion and always have the subject stay within the focus area, like sunrise, sunset, cloudscape movement ect, manual or electronic both okay, but I’ll vote for the electronic version as I need quite stable performance.

slider dolly

2. A ND filter

We’re supposed to  slower shutter speed for time-lapse video shooting in bright environment, so the light intensity should stay low, and that’s how a ND filter is gonna help without altering the color of the light. So that we get to capture motion of the moving subjects in time-lapse sequence.

ND filter

Other stuff like(optional, but definitely bring more convenience)

  1. Extra Memory Cards: since we are going to get hundreds of or maybe thousands of photos just for one sequence, make sure you got enough memory for that

2.  Battery grip: allow shooting in longer distance, avoid exposing yourself to the scorching hot sunshine sometimes and also house two batteries, enabling long shooting process without stop.

Battery grip

  1. A comfortable camera bag or case with large capacity
camera bag

camera bag with large capacity


Needless to say, to put them all together for a more convenient journey.


Now, if you’re fully equipped, let’s hit on the road and start our time-lapse shooting journey, what’s your favorite subject?

By Hannah from Linkdelight, July1st,2015

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