Time lapse photography is a simple and beautiful thing — shoot one photo every X seconds over a period of time, and then assemble them all into a video. A few years ago I shot one while traveling through Europe using a DSLR and a fancy intervalometer (a remote that you attach to your camera where you can set different timed shooting modes, e.g. “shoot one photo every 5 seconds until you press stop”). Intervalometers are often built into the software of cameras today, even the native iPhone camera app now has the ability to set up and shoot a time lapse.
When I got my Olympus OM-D E-M5 I was upset to learn that it didn’t have one built in. Fortunately, there’s a simple “hack” using the high speed Anti-Shock mode and locking down the shutter on your OM-D E-M5 that will allow you to shoot a time lapse with time intervals anywhere from 1/4 of a second all the way up to 30 seconds.
Here are a few examples of time lapses I’ve shot using the high speed Anti-Shock mode on the OM-D E-M5.
Before we start shooting our time lapse, there are a few things we have to set up on the Olympus OM-D E-M5.
1. Access the Anti-Shock menu item
Tap “Menu” on the back of your OM-D, arrow down to the gear menu on the left. You’ll find Anti-Shock, represented by a small diamond, at the bottom of the “E” gear menu.
2. Activate and select Anti-Shock time interval
In order to turn Anti-Shock ON, you just need to select a time interval. Your choices are 1/4 of a second, 1/2, 1, 2, 4, 8, 15 and 30 seconds. Pick an appropriate time depending on the type of time lapse you’re doing. For instance, in the video above, I chose one photo every 15 seconds for a time lapse of a clock, as opposed one photo every 4 seconds when photographing people.
3. Select High Speed Anti-Shock shooting mode
Tap the shutter to return to the normal shooting screen. Now tap the OK button to activate the Super Control Panel and choose the “High Speed Anti-Shock” (indicated by the H and diamond) for your shooting mode.
4. Lock the shutter down
The cheap (free) way to lock the shutter down is to always make sure you have a rubber band in your bag. It’s not the most elegant solution, but it works in a pinch. You can also use the Olympus Cable Remote. This plugs into the side of the camera and has a simple “lock” button it it. The cable remote also comes in handy for live view long exposures.
Assuming you picked 15 seconds for your Anti-Shock interval, when you lock the shutter down the camera will wait 15 seconds to take a shot, then wait 15 more seconds and take another one, and so on, until you unlock the shutter. Voilá! A poor man’s time lapse mode.
Keep in mind that for a time lapse you should be using a tripod and setting your exposure manually. Unless you’re shooting a scene that’s going from extreme light to dark or vice versa, your aperture, shutter speed and ISO should be the same for all exposures.
After I’m done shooting, I pull all photos into Lightroom, apply basic edits (including cropping to a 16:9 ratio for a 1080p video) and sync those edits across all photos. After exporting all the photos from Lightroom at 1920×1080, I used this tutorial to assemble them into a video using Photoshop. From there it was on to Adobe Premiere to assemble the final product you see above.
Do you have any tips and tricks for shooting time lapses? Let me know in the comments!
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