Do you know if it is possible to achieve a time lapse effect using the Canon 70D by just going to the same location each day/week/month and then piecing all the photos together to create a time lapse photo video.

I want to chart a building project from demolition through to new building. But I don't have nor can afford a specific time lapse camera.

My thinking is that I would just mark a specific location, which I would use every single time for a photo, with the idea that I would then put all the photos together somehow to form a time lapse video.

Hope that makes sense and that someone can help. Many Thanks in advance

  • I don't know if this will work well (hence I'm not writing it as an answer), but you could try marking the ground with the positions of your tripod's legs, and screwing down everything tight on your tripod head so it won't move. Then you can just set the tripod up in the exact same place every day and take the shot from the same angle. It won't be exact but Photoshop should do a decent job aligning the shots. Make sure you shoot a wider angle than you need, because the edges will get cropped off during that process.
    – N. Virgo
    Nov 16 '16 at 14:41

Yes, it is possible. The ideal case would be if it was visible from your home so that you can leave a tripod stationary and just attach the camera when you need to. If the construction site is somewhere else, however, you can't use the tripod to mark a location. Better try to think of a good location to shoot from with something that won't move for a while - e.g. a road sign, a traffic light, a post box, a hydrant or something else. From there, choose an appropriate focal length (taking into account that at first you'll only see the foundations but the building will grow tall) and framing (maybe using the camera's focus points in the viewfinder to "mark" something in the frame). Then proceed to actually shoot once or several times a day (depending on how much stuff is happening to the construction site). Photoshop can do a relatively good job at aligning consecutive frames (even shooting from a tripod will cause several pixels' worth of deflection); worst case scenario you will have to do some aligning by hand (but not aligning the images perfectly might not be that bad since the exposures will also differ).

Before everything, you may look around the construction site for a sign - it should describe the project, how long it should take and so on - to give you an estimation of how much time you have.


Short answer: Yes.

Longer answer:

Make sure you shoot with the same focal length (and - even better - using same lens). You'll have to note a couple of points in order to shoot the same frame (f.e. upper left point in viewer, central focusing point, and lower left point). However your photos still will not be perfectly aligned and you'll have to use some software to align them for video.

Better shoot in raw, because chances are high you will need to adjust the brightness and contrast of your photos which will be made in different weather conditions.

  • The alignment may be challenging because by the very definition of demolition and construction, many fixpoints will not be available (or visible) during the full timespan and even trees may grow a bit. So you will probably need different alignment helpers in the beginning than in the end. Nov 16 '16 at 10:59

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