By playing with time and motion in your videos, you can reveal a world that's normally hidden from view – slow down fast-moving action, or speed up longer events such as the sun rising or clouds drifting across the sky. Here specialist filmmaker Matthew Vandeputte shares his techniques for shooting across the time spectrum, from slow-motion to time-lapse and hyper-lapse video.
The key to all these techniques is frame rate. This sets the recording and playback speed for video footage, in frames per second (fps). The most common standard recording and playback speeds are 25fps or 30fps. Movies are usually 24fps, so 25fps looks more "cinematic" while 30fps looks crisper and is often preferred for capturing fast-moving sports and news, for example.
It doesn't really matter which you choose, but normally your recording and playback frame rates should match each other. To produce slow-motion footage, you need to record at a faster frame rate – if you record at 50fps, for example, and play this back at 25fps, then any movement will be shown at half speed.
To speed up the passing of time, you need to record at a slower frame rate. By shooting 25 individual frames over a longer time period and then playing them back at 25fps, you can condense minutes, hours and even days into just a single second of video. This is how time-lapse and hyper-lapse videos are created. A hyper-lapse is a type of time-lapse where the camera is moving. Time-lapse is traditionally shot on a tripod or on a motion control slider, so the camera stays in almost exactly the same spot, but for a hyper-lapse, you move the camera position between each photo.