Magic Crystals

What a day yesterday was!

Since about the age of 10 I’ve wanted to do a timelapse film. Yesterday I managed it. I’m so chuffed with it 🙂

Beth bought me a magic crystal tree back from Scarborough.photo 1 Must be the soil there or something. The packet didn’t say what the crystals I was about to grow were. I’m guessing salt crystals of some kind.

It took about 8 hours for them to grow the way they did. Tbh the film stops where it does because my camera battery ran out after 956 shots. I might need a spare for other projects.

Other than the Magic Crystal Tree kit you need something to take the pictures, something to automate the picture taking (so you can go out and meet yor mate in the pub) and regulate the intervals of shots, and something to process the pictures into a film.

It’s really easy to get this stuff together nowadays. I used my second-hand Cannon 300D camera (takes the pics), a Yongnuo Intervalometer (automates and regulates the shots), a free bit of software on my PC – PhotoLapse (It’s really easy to use and even allows you to adjust the frames per sec and whether to reverse the film) and WindowsLive Movie Maker to add music and splice the forwards/backwards vids together.

This was a complete blind run. I’ve never done this before, so had no way of telling how things would work out. I plumped for 1 shot every 30 seconds. This means, at 24 frames per second (cinema-ish film speed) I would fit 1 hour of crystal growth into 5s of footage. Sounds canny enough eh?

Here’s the set-up of my mini “studio”:photo 3

Pretty low-tech. The camera was auto-focussing and auto-exposing. It did a pretty good job, but sometimes could’t decide whether to use the flash or not. You can see this in the flickering of light/dark in the early part of the film.

The software was a doddle to use. PhotoLapse is a tiny but brilliant programme. Make a folder of all your shots for the timelapse vid (jpg files), pop the PhotoLapse exe into the folder, run it, click “load files from current folder”, choose the number of frames you want per sec, and press “create movie”. Simples.

There are tonnes of timelapse vids out there. Lots of them are people growing these magic trees and gardens! Here’s one of my fave’s:

There’s also lots of info out there on how to make timelapse vids. Here’s a good one: http://www.cliffsenkbeil.com/time-lapse/2011/3/27/tutorial-guide-how-to-make-your-own-time-lapse-movie.html

Go on, have a go! It’s great fun 🙂

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