Ever since the earliest days of the first proto-MakerBots, time-lapse footage has been showing up in videos featuring MakerBots. The reason is obvious: watching a MakerBot print is an inherently visually experience, and a time-lapse compresses the entire process of printing into a few minutes like a magic trick.
Last week, Becky and Matt from the MAKE Live invited MakerBot to share behind the scenes tips and tricks for creating time-lapses on their live-streamed show. As I have created many of the recent time-lapses here (posted below), I went on to share my thoughts, and chat with Matt.
Some Tips I Shared with Matt and Becky
- You need something that is fixed or moves slowly to “gel” the time lapse.
- Be careful of auto-exposure and auto-focus, as these kill illusion.
- Sell realism by simulating camera moves — s-curves and ease in/ease out help give the viewer a cinematic handling feel while direct lines feel kinda mechanical (security cameras).
- Typically folks add music after the time lapse — but if you pick music you like, you can make adjustments to the time lapse to connect it to (or work against) the music.
- Shoot a big enough image to give you room for reframing — but make sure the resolution for a tighter shot looks good enough for your needs.
- Many time lapse/stop motion/intervalometer type tools can be hacked to be queued by something other than time. If you are recording something that changes over time, you can create a tool to trigger the shots that are interesting (motion sensing, tracking, sound sensing, etc).
- Once you are done shooting, it is like you have a strip of film. You can use any number of batch file renaming or image processing tools to change parts or all of your sequence well before encoding it as video.
- You can “thin” out your time lapse to have only images doing what you want, and then use a batch file renaming tool to create a new consecutively numbered sequence of images.
What Time-Lapse Videos Are You Watching?
Well, watching time-lapse projects of unboxing/MakerBot assemblies as well as printing and frostruding is always a real treat for me so I wanted to direct you all to take a look at some great videos NOT created by MakerBot and encourage you all to post links in the comments to other great MakerBot-related time-lapses that you have created or encountered in your travels through the Internets.
The above is my currently reigning favorite of the MakerBot kit assembly videos — this one takes advantage of lots of manually triggered time-lapse events as well as tricks to shoot large formats and then re-frame for nice, believable pans and camera moves. Great work!
Another great MakerBot assembly time lapse — the camera position directly above makes this a really fun group build video.
The above video isn’t a time-lapse, but it is a video showing MakerBot Operator RobertHunt working to update Thingiverse Web Warrior Marty McGuire’s gcode-activated time lapse script for the Thing-O-Matic. With a stepper driven extruder going, the time is prime for slipping your camera automation into the gcode for your print!