Time-Lapse Photographs and the iPhone | iLounge Backstage

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Time-Lapse Photographs and the iPhone

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By Bob Levens

Contributing Editor
Published: Thursday, April 16, 2009
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Two months ago, I wrote about a way to create panoramic photos using the iPhone’s camera. This week, during a visit to our in-laws in Cumbria, I decided to try and push the iPhone again and see if I could capture some worthwhile images of the birds that feed outside the house. Rather than just taking one or two pictures, or trying to make a bird feeding panorama, I used FotoTimer v2.0 to take a series of sequential, time-lapse shots.

Since the iPhone’s lens and color performance is limited, I decided to do a little testing to optimize the color balance and focus before taking the pictures. Once I felt comfortable that the shots were going to be exposed well, I set the iPhone up close to the actual feeding stations, and had to figure out how to hold it in the same spot for minutes at a time. After a bit of head scratching, I opted to use a big rubber band and a six foot garden cane which was in an outbuilding. After pushing the cane into the ground at a suitable distance to the bird feeders, I tied the iPhone to it with the rubber band tie. This isn’t the best or safest way to mount an iPhone, I know, but there’s no tripod… I wonder if Apple would mind if someone made one called “iPhone tripod?”

Setting FotoTimer to take a picture every 15 seconds for 15 minutes, I then left it running.

The resulting pictures, when viewed on the iPhone as a “slideshow,” gave the images a time-lapse effect, and after importing them into iMovie I produced a short film of the bird life visiting the bird feeders. You can view the iPhone time-lapse movie here.

Once again the basic iPhone camera plus one of the many photo apps available does produce some reasonable results. Even if the new iPhone does get a better camera and video recording functionality, it’s nice that current iPhone and iPhone 3G users at least have something cool to play with whilst we wait for contracts to expire.

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