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Sunrise To Sunset: A Time-Lapse Film by TV Smith in HD
Duration: 1:52 Copyright © 2009 TV SMITH
Music: Attacco E Suspense by Francesco De Masi (in hi-fi stereo)
YouTube Link:

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Time lapse photography may be rewarding but requires strong will and bladder...

Several viewers have written to request evaluations of the time lapse feature of the new Panasonic HDC-TM300. What is time lapse and why is it special for a camcorder in this category?

Time lapse is a cinematography technique whereby the camera captures fixed 'in-between' frames instead of continuous film or video. When played back in normal speed, the human eye perceives the lapse as continous movement speeded up. Commonly seen examples are flowers blooming, clouds movement and urban traffic.

A faux time lapse sequence can also be created by speeding up a normal speed video on your NLE. Some software can calculate and remove intermediate frames to simulate the non-linear look of film timelapse. This is a practical work-around for those possessing a video camera without time lapse capability. It may not be practical if you are working with the new Full-HD AVCHD format.

Drop 100 gigabytes worth of AVCHD files onto the timeline of any editing software and try scrubbing it. In most cases, even the latest quad cores processors (including i7) will buckle and keel over.

With time-lapse recording, several hours are compressed into minutes resulting in a file that is much more manageable, taking way less storage and causing less grief during edit.

For this test, I took the easier way out and set up the camera on my balcony, overlooking the neighbour's roof. I also connected the camera by a long cable to an 8-inch LCD monitor and viewed it from inside the house.

Doing it outdoors or at a remote location would be a completely different challenge. Time-lapse is an art form that requires heaps of patience. One is literally stuck at a fixed location for a very long period. At home it is much easier, as AC power and the washroom are both nearby.

Outside, one would need to hook the camera to a portable power source that can last long enough. I normally use a power bank device hook up to an invertor. You might also need a friend for company and to keep an eye on the camera when you go looking for a toilet. If you're doing it alone, bring those half-read novels and some adult diapers :)

The Panasonic HDC-TM300 has various settings for time lapse; going from one frame every 1 second to one frame every 2 minute. It can also be started by the wireless remote. I was surprised to find the camera generating very little heat despite running continuously for twelve hours straight.

The TM300 is capable of recording one long take of 12 hours duration if you have enough storage. This recording limit is pretty generous by any standards. Unfortunately, this limit also applies to time lapse recording. It appears illogical as only several minutes is recorded during a 12-hour time-lapse take. In this case, I started the camera at 7am and it quit automatically at 7pm. Oh, well.

PS: If you arrived here searching for the haunting Sunrise Sunset song from Fiddler On The Roof, let me point you to this unforgettable scene from the movie: Sunrise Sunset on YouTube

Watch also: TM300 At The Bird Park | Earth Hour Malaysia 2009

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