I'm planning to do a time lapse of my wedding from 9 am to midnight (I know that's a lot of photos) Thinking of doing one every 5 seconds to capture everything (space is not really an issue).

I have the following kit

  • Nikon D60
  • Sigma 10-20mm f4.5 - 5.6
  • 50mm Nikkor f1.4 afs
  • Tamron 18-270 f3.5 - 6.3
  • Tamron 90mm 2.8 Macro
  • Laptop with timelapse software and USB cable
  • A sturdy tripod
  • External power source for camera and laptop

The camera will be located above the room in a balcony; the room is about 20m by 80m.

There are four big windows which light the room quite well, but not massively.

I want to achieve a nice smooth time lapse, where people are blurred but sometimes still, and I need to account for the changing light conditions throughout the day

Given the above equipment and info, what camera mode and other settings should I use?


For those who were intrested - thanks the wedding went amazing and here is a link to the time lapse http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xx7YpDhaeV0

I've also written a blog post here if that helps anyone.

  • 5
    \$\begingroup\$ Thanks for the update - great to see the final product. I especially liked the people standing up to toast during the speeches! \$\endgroup\$
    – Matt Grum
    Sep 18, 2011 at 9:13
  • \$\begingroup\$ Ah Matt thanks - It was a great sense of achievement when it was finally all put together - A friend of mine was inspired to do it at his wedding - my fave bit is the circle dance at the end (guess the song? :P ) \$\endgroup\$
    – Rob
    Sep 18, 2011 at 12:49

1 Answer 1


You might get lucky, but I don't think that it's likely you'll be able to get an entire 9am to midnight timelapse capture with no human intervention at all, regardless of the equipment chosen, barring the construction of a light-sensitive intervalometer which can make adjustments shot-by-shot[1]. The reason for this is that it is still a complex and 'fiddly' task for cameras to handle lighting changes during timelapses (especially during the critical day --> night transition which can easily span more than 12 stops of light).

Having said that... With the equipment you have, the only potential way to achieve a smooth day-to-night timelapse transition with no human intervention is to do the following:

  1. take bracketed exposures[2] with as many stops between the brackets as your camera will allow, cross your fingers that at least one of the bracketed exposures will be 'in the ballpark' of properly exposed, and then use fading transitions in a video post-production solution to 'fake' a smooth transition when the most drastic day --> night lighting changes will occur.
  2. Set your camera to its Manual mode, focus the lens, set the aperture[3], and then disengage the lens from the camera by unlocking it and giving it a quarter turn so the communication contact points are no longer touching.[4]
  3. Start the timelapse and hope for the best.

[1]Yes, I have built one. No it is not easy, and it does require both electronics and imbedded circuit programming knowledge (or at least the time and willingness to experiment with them). Sadly, there is currently no commercial equivalent on the market, though I'm aware of a couple different manufacturers who have been poking around the Timescapes forum (where all of us hardcore Timelapse geeks hang out and experiment with these sorts of things). So at "some point" down the road there might be a commercial option available.

[2]Which if you're planning to shoot at 5 second intervals will work out to be approximately 32,400 individual frames, so... Make sure you've got plenty of space on that tethered laptop! :-)

[3] You'll probably want to set your aperture to give yourself a relatively deep depth of field... Somewhere between f/8 and f/11, I'd guess...

[4] Your camera resets its aperture between every shot. While it is accurate enough for still shots when performing this reset, there is still some variation every time it performs the operation... Which will cause constant flickering throughout your timelapse unless you disengage the lens so the camera can't change the aperture between shots.

  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ It's interesting that you disengage the aperture to prevent variation between shots. Are there no software tools to fine-tune the shot-to-shot variations? Panoramic stitching tools (e.g. hugin) do a fine job with that, so I would have thought there'd be a good software approach. \$\endgroup\$
    – coneslayer
    May 16, 2011 at 17:50
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    \$\begingroup\$ @coneslayer: There are de-flickering plug-ins that one can use (dependent on the NLE that is being used) but the processing power and time it takes to normalize a large set of images (the OP will potentially have more-or-less 10,800 images to contend with) makes it potentially unwieldy and prohibitive as a solution. Personally, because disengaging the lens can save me literally hours of additional plug-in rendering time in post, I'll always choose to disengage the lens, which takes mere seconds to accomplish. :-) \$\endgroup\$ May 16, 2011 at 18:16
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Here's the problem with aperture priority mode... Your lens has to be engaged in order for the camera to control the aperture... Which brings us back to the problem I mentioned in note [4]... Because dSLRs have rough 'steps' between exposures (1/8-1/3 eV) your aperture will 'wander' slightly between shots. Unfortunately this wandering is what causes really obvious flickering in timelapse photography, and especially pronounced flickering when the lighting is changing (such as a day-to-night transition, or a lit-to-darkened-dancefloor transition)... \$\endgroup\$ May 17, 2011 at 17:19
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ I have not personally used it (so this isn't so much an endorsement as a 'you may want to check it out'), but I've been told that 'Cam Control' (d-software.co.za) can do bracketing for the D60... The good news is that it's free, so it won't cost a bunch to check it out and see if it's going to meet your needs... \$\endgroup\$ May 17, 2011 at 17:23
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ I haven't used this one either, but a friend just recommended giving 'Diyphotobits Camera Control' (diyphotobits.com/download-diyphotobitscom-camera-control) Also free, so like Cam Control at least you won't need to drop any coin to see if it'll work for you... \$\endgroup\$ May 17, 2011 at 17:25

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