Movies from Stills - time-lapse and stop-motion

Time Lapse

Time-lapse photography is not a new thing and is a well used technique for both film and still photography. In essence, time-lapse photography simply requires a subject or scene to be photographed at regular intervals over a period of time, with the resulting images then presented either as a collection of photos alongside each other, or, as is more usually seen, as a video with each time-lapse shot forming a frame of the final movie.

This technique allows events that take a considerable time to unfold to be viewed over a much shorter time frame; think of the wildlife documentaries that show a plant growing and blooming (an event which may take several weeks) over the course of a few seconds. This in itself can create some incredible footage, but when this technique is combined with equally impressive subject, the result is nothing short of phenomenal.

We came across this video by photographer Mike Flores, created with time-lapse photography using a Canon EOS 5D MkII in combination with 16-35mm f2.8 II, 14mm f2.8 II, and 24mm f1.4 II Canon lenses and were stunned by its beauty. An overstatement? Have a look at this video and make your own mind up...


Even if you don't have immediate access to the wild deserts of North West Mexico (and let's face it, not many of us do) it's still possible to create impressive videos from a collection of still photos. In fact, if you put your mind to it, you don't even need to set foot outside! Stop-motion is a similar technique to time-lapse in that in uses still image frames strung together to form a video. Anyone familiar with Nick Park's work (creator of Wallace and Gromit) will already have seen the stop-motion technique in use, but you don't have to be a clay-modelling master to make a stop-motion masterpiece.

Although it perhaps lacks the majestic beauty of Mike Flore's landscape time-lapses, this video by photographer Kim Pimmel uses the motor from a record player, a variation of light sources including cold cathode case lights, EL wire, lasers and more, and a Nikon D90 digital SLR to create a hypnotic video made from a string of exposures of 20 seconds. The resulting light show is truly spectacular, and you could achieve it in the living room of a flat.