This was a nice moment for me. Not only do I know how to do this, but I’ve done it and I’ve led workshops on it!
A long time ago, we used to purchase a piece of technology for the Computers in Education School contacts from each school to use in learning activities throughout the year. This was well before everyone carried a camera in their pockets via a phone. Cameras were something that was still expensive, out of reach to some, and required taking your efforts in to be “developed”. The concept of taking a picture, observing it immediately, and redoing it or repurposing it was still years away. Yeah, it was a long time ago.
The piece of technology that we bought was the RCA Small Wonder.
It was great for recording video, to be sure, but it also allowed you to take still pictures. We had a whale of a time doing various things with it. One of the activities was to take a series of still photos and “stitch them together” to make a video. The process is called Timelapsed Video.
Around this time as part of my job and part of my professional learning, I had a few occasions to fly to New York City. It was typically Detroit to LaGuardia. I have great memories of being there, going through the maze at LaGuardia, hoping to take off or land over water safely, and then the cab ride into the city which is an experience in itself. There are people and things everywhere, seemingly 24 hours a day.
Both of these memories converged this morning when I enjoyed this timelapsed video.
The technology to make this happen has matured greatly since those days a long time ago with the Small Wonders. There are so many video creation utilities available these days and so many are free.
I do remember making a couple just for myself when I chaired the BIT Conference in 2013. One video was created with images taken from the floor just in front of the stage to capture Ontario educators filling up the big theatre. We sure did that and the overflow had to stand in the hallway. The other one was at the top of the escalators looking down at the entrance way. I won’t include them here because I don’t have permission to use the images. It was a nice academic review for me.
The key is to have your camera perched securely on a tripod to make sure that it’s the people or things that are moving and not the camera. Then, you use a remove plunger to take the individual pictures without moving the camera. Most of today’s smartphones even have a built-in feature to automate the process. Kids today have it so easy. <grin>
In the video from New York, you can see what is possible; I really liked watching the traffic.
The whole process was a wonderful trip back in time when we worked with the technology and actually created something. Today’s technology makes movie making easy but timelapsed photography takes it to a new level with the effects that can be applied to generate something beyond a simple picture or a simple movie. It’s still a great activity in creation that deserves a place in the classroom.