iPhoneography Timelapse Workflow

iPhoneography Timelapse Tutorial

iPhoneography, the purists pooh pooh the idea of creating visual imagery with it; “A smart device”? “C’mon get real”. No longer a laughing matter today’s smart devices are packing cameras with an increasing amount of punch, it is the area of smart imaging, and in my case, of iPhoneography. For the most part, in the video realm they’re armed with the capacity to shoot in the latest buzz format that is 4K, in lower resolutions they offer higher frame rates and increasing slow motion capabilities. There is a very real, viable and (exponentially) growing number of independent filmmakers eyeing smart devices as serious media acquisition options. One only has to look at the recent success of the film ‘Tangerine’ at the Sundance Film Festival to see how iPhoneography is starting the enter the mainstream indie production realm as a very serious contender. The film was shot in it’s entirety on an iPhone5s using the lens covered in this tutorial, namely the 1.33x Anamorphic Lens from Moondog Labs.

Further catering to this trend is an armada of third part manufacturers, from casings for filming from folks like iOgrapher that allow the user to encase their device in a rigid frame that also has placements for microphones, lighting and other accessories. App developers are releasing options with increasing complexity that go some way to easing the whole film production endeavours of the next budding Spielberg in the family. Smart device imaging is only going to get more engrained in the filming realm. With my interest in Time-lapse I recently had a few trials with using a lens more designed for video than still imaging to see what would give results wise. I was, and remain, pleasantly surprised. I must underline one point here though. I am very much a hands on photographer. I love having that very real connection with both the camera and the editing process. A lot of folks increasingly rely on the ability of an App or software and are happy to relinquish the ‘task’ of creativity instead opting for an algorithm to do all of the work for them. If they are happy with that then that’s fine, they are accomplishing that which they set out to accomplish. From a personal standpoint I do embrace technology, to a point. I still like as much manual control over the whole creative process as possible.

Fitting the 1.33x anamorphic lens from Moondog Labs opens up a massive potential to take predominantly video imagery to the next level. Not only does it yield an additional 30% field of view to the image but it also allows the shooter to present their imagery in a much more cinematic style, and by that I mean the extreme letter boxing offered by the 2:39:1 aspect ratio as opposed to the standard 16:9 widescreen we have become so used to. I wanted to see what results I would get by shooting stills for time-lapse using this lens. Now there are a few steps needed to take in the post processing as the increased resolution is still registered to the standard, in this case, iPhone sensor. Our main area of concern is how to ‘de-squeeze’ the image from the sensor in order to get the massive increase in resolution real estate as it were.

This tutorial hopefully goes some way into explaining how it is I accomplish the final look of a time-lapse sequence shot using the LapseIt app for iOS devices. I used this particular app as it allows me to eventually have full access to the full library of individual shots used to compile the time-lapse. I also used the option to allow the app to create a time-lapse sequence as it does by default in order to show you the difference between taking what the app creates for you as opposed to taking what it creates and then taking that and adding your own look and feel to it. As with all imaging and media, we are artists. I have a vision that may differ from yours, the next shooters or indeed I may very well be unique in my interpretation of a scene, this is what makes the creative World such a riot. Freedom to create. I may also go about creating that work in a different way than others but again, we all find our way to create the media and look we want to create. There are no right or wrong ways of doing things for the most part in any creative process, for you are as described creating a process to arrive at your desired result. The steps contained herein are mine, I trust you enjoy them and maybe even get a better understanding as to what is involved in some of the work I do.

Finally I just need to add that I have made this tutorial completely on my own impetus. I am not sponsored or recompensed in any way by neither Moondog Labs or the developers of the LapseIt app. I simply wanted to impart some of the antics of my work.

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