Tutorials

Welcome to my Tutorials page


Here you will find a range of tutorials for photography and video editing. If you have tutorial request, leave a comment or send me an email.

How to remove black border in Sony Vegas (easy way)

By far the quickest & easiest way to remove the black borders from your video.

This is a tutorial for Sony Vegas Pro on how to remove black borders on video. This will work when you are using standard definition videos, HD videos or even when combining the two into a single video.

What you will be doing is changing the aspect ratio - This video shows you how to make 4:3 look like 16:9 in YouTube. It is short and to the point - I hope you find it useful. Please feel free to email me with any queries. 

 

How to create a time-lapse

As a thank you for all your support, to celebrate 1000 subscribers I have developed this comprehensive tutorial on how to create your very own time-lapse. This tutorial assumes little or no prior knowledge (see my other tutorials for details on aperture etc.) and also assumes you don't have tons of cash to spend on software and equipment.

Equipment you need

 

Camera  - you can create a tutorial using a simple point & shoot if it has video mode. In this tutorial, I show you how to make a time-lapse with one and also a DSLR. If you are going to use a DSLR, start out using a second hand one while you learn the ropes.

Tripod - this is essential, but doesn't have to be expensive. As you see in the video, if you are using a compact even a small tripod will suffice but whatever you do, keep the camera still to avoid a shaky video. The heavier the tripod the better, but you can add weight to ca cheap tripod.

Intervalometer - some cameras can be programmed to shoot automatically. If not, don't worry because you can pick these up real cheap. An intervalometer (measures intervals) can be used to time the delay (when you want the time-lapse to start), how long you want the shutter to remain open (more light, more motion blur), how long an interval you want (gap between shutter activations) and  finally N (the number of pictures). Most have a sound on/off option - to prevent you cracking part way through from that incessant beeping, put it on silent. 
Battery grip (or spare batteries). Again, you don’t need an expensive one, you can pick these up quite cheap if you are happy not having a branded one. If you are taking a long time-lapse (say a night sky) it is well worth investing in a battery grip. I don’t recommend swapping the batteries as this can mess your set-up and this shows when you come to stitch the time-lapse together.
Decent memory card. Tutorials often forget to mention this, but no matter how fast your camera is, if you don’t have a decent memory card it won’t be able to store the photos quickly enough. For your first attempts, a basic memory card will suffice (my first one was a 2GB flash card!) especially if they are standard shoots such as clouds passing by. If you are taking long exposure shots, you will find that a basic memory card just won’t cut it.

Step 1: Setting up your shot. Whatever you choose to use for your time-lapse, a DSLR, a point and shoot, a video camera or your mobile phone, you need to take some time choosing your shot.

a) Keep it still. Use a tripod or sturdy location to place your device. Use a battery grip if you plan to be there for a considerable amount of time.

b) Take a shot. Don’t just rely on the viewfinder, take a test shot of the area check your exposure and make sure the focus is set at the right point.

c) Adjust the settings. If you have the option, turn off all auto features and use manual mode. Set the shutter speed, aperture and ISO. If you can, turn off auto white balance to prevent flicker.
  • Shutter Speeds: If you have a shutter speed that is too fast, the output will be choppy, a slower shutter creates a smooth, blurred motion effect.
  • Interval Times: The interval times refers to the time between shots.  This depends on your subject, if you have a fast moving object, you want a smaller interval between shots. If the object is slow, you want to have a longer interval. A good comparison is fast moving clouds or ice melting.
  • Battery Power: Make sure you have enough battery power in both your camera and your intervalometer. You may be able to run the whole shoot on a single battery, especially if switch off the display. If you need the display you will find the battery will drain quickly.
  • Memory/Image Settings: Depending on what you want to use the time-lapse for, you can adjust the setting to take smaller images so you don’t eat into your storage space.  There is an ongoing debate about RAW vs. JPEG. Personally, I use a high capacity and fast (class 10) SD card so like to take large images. I very rarely shoot in raw for time-lapse but have done so at night. High quality JPEG is recommended as it allows you to zoom in during editing whilst maintaining a decent resolution. Remember, as technology develops, you may wish you took those shots in a greater resolution…
d) Take another test shot. Just to make sure the images are properly, this only takes a second but it could save you a whole shoot if you spot a mistake.  


Step 2: Setup your intervalometer. An intervalometer just means ‘measure intervals’. This basically sends a signal to the camera to take a shot. This can be used to time the delay (when you want the time-lapse to start), how long you want the shutter to remain open (more light, more motion blur), how long an interval you want (gap between shutter activations) and finally N (the number of pictures). I never set a fixed number of pictures because I don’t want to risk missing something. If you do want to have a  set number of pictures, you will need to calculate this.

a) Calculate how many shots you need (optional)

As  I am assuming you are new to this, I’ll just cover the basics first. When you watch a film in the cinema the motion looks smooth because the frame rate is at least 24 frames per second. This means that there are 24 pictures being displayed to your eye every second.
If this frame rate drops below 20, you will notice a flicker in the video. Remember those flip chart drawings always looked a bit choppy? That is why. So that is why the frame rate is above 20 frames per second.
Most likely, you are going to create a video which will be somewhere between 24-30 frames per second. To make this simpler, we will say you want a video with a frame rate of 30 frames per second.
  • That means you will need at least 30 pictures in order to create 1 second of footage.

  • Therefore, if you want your time-lapse to last 10 seconds, you will need 300 pictures.

  • Now, this is where the interval (gap) between the shots is important. If you have a long interval between each shot (say 10 seconds) you will need the camera to be taking pictures for 3,000 seconds (50 minutes).
You can use the above to guess roughly how many pictures you need but I would feel I hadn’t prepared you well enough so here is the formula for working out exactly how many shots you will need. Remember – always have a few more extra, just in case.

Accurately calculate out how many shots you need
  1. Determine the desired length of your video:
  2. Decide your frame rate (24fps, 25 fps, 30 fps)
  3. Frames required
  4. Amount of time passing
  5. Interval required
a x b = c

Desired duration in seconds × Desired frames per second
 = Amount of frames required

30 * 24 = 720 frames 

To calculate your interval,
You need to first decide what you will be shooting. If you will a time-lapse of grass growing, you won’t want to be taking a shot every 3 seconds. If you are showing clouds passing by, a few shots an hour won’t look very good. Let’s go for a sunrise -You want to capture the change of colours before and afterwards so we will go for a full hour shoot. 
     d:  Translate the total time into seconds
(hours) × (60) × (60) = seconds (d)

d = 1 x 60 x 60 = 3,600 seconds


e:  Divide the time in seconds (d) by the amount of required frames (c) 1 to come up with your interval (e)

e = d / c
e = 5 seconds 

Even with that formula, I would still go with at least a 3 second interval. I would end up with more shots but then I can always speed up the video. However, if I went with a 5 second interval, I can’t slow it down without risking it look choppy. 

Have a go yourself….how many frames and how long an interval would you need for a dawn till dusk time-lapse (24 hours) for a 1 minute video?
  1. Determine the desired length of your video = 60 seconds
  2. Decide your frame rate (24fps, 25 fps, 30 fps) = 24fps
  3. Frames required = a x b
  4. Amount of time passing in seconds = 24 hours (d)
  5. Interval required = d / c
C = a x b
C = 60 x 24
C = 1440

E = d / c
E = (24 x 60 x 60) / 1,440
E = 86,400 / 1,440
E = 60

So to create a cool ‘dawn ‘till dusk’ time-lapse in a one minute video, you need a 60 second interval


Set it going. When you are happy with your set up, start the intervelometer and leave it running. Obvious stuff, but don’t leave your camera unattended :)


Compile the video.

Now you are ready to stitch together your time-lapse. You don’t need expensive video editing equipment – in this video tutotial I show you how to create a time-lapse in Windows Movie Maker (download here for free), Adobe Premiere and Sony Vegas. I cover Lightroom in a separate tutorial (see below)

I split the tutorial into two sections:

1. Creating a time-lapse with photos (DLSR, compact camera)
2. Creating a time-lapse with video (GoPro, Camcorder, compact camera etc.)


In each section, I show you how to create a time-lapse in Windows Movie Maker (download here for free), Adobe Premiere and Sony Vegas. I cover Lightroom in a separate tutorial (see below)




Here is the download link containing 600 FREE 4k  'Clouds and Blue Sky' pictures for you to practice with: Clouds and Blue Sky CC-BY NatureClip - these are free to re-use under a Creative Commons by Attribution license (free alongside credit). If the link is dead, let me know by email (natureclips@gmail.com). Note: do not re-upload or sell my content in it's raw form, please mix with your own content.

The video covers the rest :)


That's the basics. You can get fancy but there is really no need unless you intend to take this to a professional level. For a hobby, you have enough to get along with. If you want to step it up a gear, check out my tutorial for this video below.




How to create a time-lapse pan

 - Coming soon -

Copyright infringement 

- what to do if YouTube claims you are using someone elses' content

- what to do if someone has breached your copyright

- Coming soon  -

Creating a time-lapse using Lightroom

- Coming soon (if enough requests) -

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