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3.1 Smart Apps

In just about every project you could possibly tackle, you're bound to hear somebody tell you, "There's an app for that!" Well, the same is true for time lapse video work. In this lesson, you'll discover a few helpful apps that will come in handy while you scout locations, calculate frame rates, and track the setting and rising of the sun and moon.

3.1 Smart Apps

Of course, one important piece of kit that should never be left at home is your smartphone. Whether you're an Android or iPhone user, you'll find a plethora of apps to assist you in your time lapse endeavors. Whether it's calculating your intervalometer, geotagging locations, or simply beating your high score in Angry Birds whilst waiting for your time lapses to complete. You'll find your smartphone has got you covered. Here's a short list of apps I turn to when I'm preparing for a time-lapse shoot. The weather is gonna have a big influence over when you shoot your time-lapses. If you're planning to shoot cloudscapes, then a clear blue sky or an overcast sky aren't really gonna be much use. Partly cloudy day however, will make sure the sky is full of drama when you head off out to shoot. There's many apps for calculating the weather on your smart device but the built in one is probably just fine. I'm gonna use the iOS app to check the weather conditions for my cloudscapes. How's the weather today? >> Nice weather coming up today. Up to 19 degrees Celsius. >> Well, I'm in luck if I want sunshine but I'm actually looking for clouds. Let's try tomorrow. [SOUND] Will it be cloudy tomorrow? [SOUND] >> Yes it will be cloudy tomorrow. >> Okay, looks like I'm in luck. So tomorrow I'm gonna grab my bag and go off and shoot some cloudscapes. Living Earth is a weather app that not only reports temperature and weather conditions, it dynamically generates cloud data. The cloud data updates every three hours and is rendered on a 3D globe that enables you to visualize cloud patterns and wind conditions. By selecting an icon, you can quickly jump through the temperature, and the wind, and get a visual description of how the weather conditions will be for that day. It hosts a number of other features, such as sunrise and sunset times. You can also get different notifications, but for time lapse shooting, probably the dynamic cloud data is going to be the key feature here. Magic Hour is a simple app for calculating when the sun will set or when the sun will rise. The term magic hour, or golden hour, is the period before and after sunrise or sunset. The term hour is often used loosely. For many photographers, magic hour is the preferred shooting time because direct light intensity is dramatically reduced and the sky and colors simply look awesome. The magic hour app feeds you information based on your current location and tells you when the sun will rise or set. It has a countdown timer, which today doesn't seem to want to work, which is a little bit awkward. Do sort to out Magic Hour developers. You can also configure it to send you alerts and notifications before Magic Hour begins. So that you have enough time to get your batteries charged and your kit ready. If you suck at math and need help setting up your intovolometer, then Timelapse Helper is for you. Timelapse helper is a simple tool for calculating your time-lapses based on your number of shots, your interval, and the number of frames per second. So if I wanted to shoot a cloud lapse with a interval of three seconds, and I only wanted 400 shots, and I am gonna shoot 25 frames per second. It's going to tell me that I am gonna have to wait 20 minutes while it completes the time lapse. My playback or my output video will be 16 seconds long. At a frame rate of 25 frames per second. Star Walk is an interactive astronomy guide that enables you to visualize the position of the sun and stars. It's an augmented reality application that uses our position and your telephone's compass to superimpose useful information on the sky. Shaking it will enable you to move your device, and align it with points of interest. You can use it to calculate the position of the north star for shooting night trails. Or you can use it to track the sun, and see how it's going to move in time for your shot, to help you get the perfect composition, and the timing. The Photographer's Ephemeris, or TPE, is not only a useful smartphone app, it's also a desktop app. You have to pay for the smartphone app but the desktop app is free. This application is your best friend when it comes to planning landscape photography. It will give you detailed information about the sun and moon positions as well as shadow lamps. It tells you when the sun will rise, when the sun will set, and dragging the slider will show you the different positions of the sun and the moon through the day. It also has a feature where you're able to calculate the length of the shadows as time progresses. You can choose from a range of different maps. So I'm using the google satellite one but you could go with your smart devices standard one, but personally I prefer to use the satellite one. Right now I'm using it to plot a position that I'm going to use for a later video in the series. And we're gonna shoot some time-lapses of this lake. And right now I've got this position here, which is gonna be useful when I come to framing my shots. And using this in conjunction with the view finder app that we'll take a look at in a moment. You can also go forwards in time and check different dates. And see how the sun is going to behave on different days. It also has this nifty calendar feature, where you can see all of the celestial events over the year. And see when the magic is gonna happen in the sky. When you're scouting locations, it's good to have a way to visually log interesting places. And also consider what kind of lenses you might need to get the best shot. The Artist's View Finder does both of these things. You begin by telling it what type of cameras you have, then you tell it what lenses you have. You use the app like a camera. Crop marks appear indicating what your lenses will be able to capture. The app stores the camera information and the location data, which can be conveniently accessed at a later date. Used in conjunction with a photographer's ephemeris, a powerful combination to plan your productions ahead of time. I'm using a slightly older version of the app, so if you get the newer one it's not gonna be the same, but my old one works just fine. So I don't see a reason to upgrade. Basically hold down the button here and choose the camera body. You're gonna have a whole list of cameras to choose from. And, when you select that it's gonna ask you to choose your lenses. Once that's configured, it's gonna add them to this view here. So I'm commonly using my 5D Mark II. And, if I wanted to use the same lenses with my 7D, I'm gonna have a slightly different look because of the crop sensor. So, this is great for capturing those scouting moments without lugging your camera around with you. And still getting an idea of what lenses you are gonna need later on when you want to return to these places. Now that you know what apps I'm using, it's time to go out and put them into practice. Because I'm an iPhone user, my knowledge of apps on other devices are limited. But I hope now you have a better idea of what kind of apps are out there and can find similar apps for your own smartphone. Regardless of whether you're an iPhone user or not should not prevent you from following the rest of this course. Now that we're armed to the teeth with smart apps, let's find a decent location to put them to use.

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