We love a good time lapse. So does everybody, and its amazing how common they have become in film and media. They will be used to demonstrate the passage of time and the physical changes that occur during that period which can be quite breathtaking. The time and effort that goes into creating a successful time lapse can yield spectacular results. However let it not be forgotten how challenging they can be to the uninitiated. From the obvious fact that it can take a very long time to get the necessary number of images to how the subject matter can completely abandon you; there is no shortage of challenges one can face in the pursuit to create a memorable time lapse sequence.

So here are some things you should know before you begin.

1. Get a good tripod

This should be a no brainer but unfortunately, that rickety plastic and aluminium tripod is not the best solution especially if you are outdoors. Sequences can be ruined by a gust of wind, careless pedestrian or unstable terrain. Investing in a heavier tripod with a more secure head will potentially save your shoot. Some things cannot be fixed in post so get it right first time.

2. Get Permission

Before anything can touch the ground you need to have permission to be where you need to be. Whether private property or public space, notify the necessary people to inform them of what you are doing and how long you expect to be. This is especially important if you consider yourself in anyway the professional operator. The last thing you want is to be moved on or worse when you are midway through a shoot.

3. Remote control

While a good tripod is a sound investment, so too might be a Wireless remote for your camera. Whatever lengths you go to to support your camera on the tripod, the action of taking the picture with your finger can offset the image by just enough to spoil your shot. Though remotes can be pricey, they can save you a lot of time and stress.

4. Stay Safe. Take a friend.

Don’t be foolish. Don’t do anything that could harm you or others. Night time lapses by the roadside can be spectacular but don’t set up yourself in a place that could obscure signs or hazards. The same goes for shooting in the wilderness. If that is your goal make sure you know what you are doing or have somebody with you who can help out if needed. Shooting in the wild really deserves a list of its own. Common sense is king in this profession.

5. Have a Plan B

So you may not have a decent tripod, or permission, or a remote control or any friends. In which case you are relying on determination to get what you need. While I can’t really advocate filming without these things I would be lying if I said that I had not once done it myself. However, there should always be a back up plan. Cant get to your ideal location? Have another one. Battery running low? Take a spare. Again, once common sense is applied to a problem, it will usually solve itself.