Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Minnesota Twins Fans at Home Opener in Time-Lapse

Thanks for all the emails about this quick TIME-LAPSE sequence created of baseball fans streaming into Target Field for the Home Opener of the Minnesota Twins in downtown Minneapolis.

I enjoy photographing crowds and this was a good opportunity in a festive environment (even if they did lose the game!) to observe the river of people flowing towards the ballpark.

I won't go into deep detail on this process since there's no substitute for experience, but here's a few tips to get you going. Once you create your first time-lapse sequence, your brain quickly fills with ideas that will take you out shooting feeding that creative energy.

For the one created here, I shot 500 frames at 3 second intervals. I'm using my Nikon D3 and in the Shooting Menu I scrolled down to Interval Timer Shooting. Check your owners manual for this camera and the camera you have for add'tl detailed info. To capture this many images it took 25 minutes. 60 seconds divided by 3 fps (frames per second) = 20 x 500 = 25 minutes.

Once the images are captured, I load them into Lightroom, and for the purposes of speed and efficiency, I converted them all to 72 dpi. Once converted, I placed them in a folder on my desktop and opened Quick Time Pro, a $30 software program that turns the images into a Quicktime Movie. To see how this is done, there are several wonderful videos on You Tube with good lessons on creating Time Lapse movies.

As an alternative to Quick Time Pro, you can also use Lightroom. While Lightroom does not have a 24 fps preset (which is the most desired fps) you can get one free from Sean McCormack at and download the presets in a Zip file and load into LR. Thanks Sean for creating this. Follow his simple instructions and your on your way.

I tried several different fps and as expected, the 24 fps were the best for this. When I dropped down to 10 fps the time-lapse appeared choppy and too slow. While I could see more of what people were doing, the flow was off and not pleasing. I jumped to 50 fps and I got tired just watching all the people run so fast. So, settling into 24 fps worked well. There is enough time to see the flow, watch what people were doing and not lose interest.

If you have time-lapse settings on your camera, take the camera out for a walk and give this a try. You could even train the lens on the birdhouse in your backyard and shoot 500 frames per second as they feed their babies this Spring. Of course, with time-lapse you will need a tripod, and turn off the auto-focus. I've done exposure both ways, on manual and auto. Both worked fine. I'd prefer manual, but in the case of clouds moving back-n-forth over the sun, exposures changed 3-4 stops. That's too much of an exposure swing. Keeping the camera on auto allowed for good exposures of my main subject through-out the 500 frames.

Go out and have fun. Think stars, storms and streets. You'll be amazed at the world seen in a time-lapse sequence.


  1. Nice... a feature of my camera I've never used. I'll have to give it a try!

  2. Sorry, but I am going to have to correct your math a bit:

    60 second per minute divided by 3 SECONDS per FRAME gives you 20 frames per minute. 500 frames divided by 20 frames per minute = 25 minutes. I'm not sure where 20x500=25 minutes.