Earlier this year, Kirill Neiezhmakov (the very talented timelapse/hyperlapse photographer) visited Singapore and we had the opportunity to meet up again. We visited several locations to check out the Singapore sights and sounds and some interesting places that are suitable for his personal timelapse project.
Timelapse is usually done on professional gear (such as DSLR cameras, motion control systems with sliders and pan-tilt modules, etc). All these come together to create the incredible visuals you typically see online. But it’s not for everyone. It is very strenuous to carry so much gear and can take a lot of time to set up and dismantle just one shot (not including the shooting time).
During the location visits with Kirill, I tested using my smartphone to do some simple timelapse, to pass time whilst we chit chat and watching over his timelapse shoot. At first, I tested using some generic timelapse apps. They were easy to use, but the quality didn’t seem to be the best that could be produced. The results were compressed videos. When done correctly, timelapse sequences are made up of high-quality photos (usually raw files).
I went out a few more times and tested a few methods and finally decided on using a basic app that works similar to a camera intervalometer, and can trigger the native camera app on my phone. The app is called Intervalometer by mobilephoton.
This process proved reliable as it minimised the probability of the app crashing midway through a shoot or phone overheating and shutdown, whilst the highest possible quality was achieved since photos were shot, instead of compressed videos. These photos will then be transferred to PC for editing (as per standard timelapse sequences shot on DSLR).
Then I started testing timelapse with a smartphone gimbal – the Zhiyun Smooth Q. The app from Zhiyun allowed control of the gimbal to shoot “motion timelapse”, meaning the gimbal can be controlled to pan, tilt (and even roll). So this gives the option of basic movements for timelapse.
I used a spare phone to install the Zhiyun app (solely for gimbal control only). This method prevents the different apps from conflicting each other in a single smartphone device, and likely also helps in power conservation on my main (shooting) phone, as I didn’t need to have the Zhiyun app activated on that phone for gimbal control.
Lastly, I went to look for wide-angle lenses for my smartphone, as it only has a single lens so I wasn’t able to have “wide / zoom” capabilities via this phone. Moment lenses would have been my top choice but they seem to be catered primarily for iPhone users only. So, I went onto Carousell (a local 2nd hand online marketplace) and found a set of Sirui lenses. The wide-angle lens was the most useful during this project, reasonably sharp in the middle.
The entire project was shot over 24 separate outings, at locations including the Marina Bay vicinity, Chinatown and Gardens by the Bay (touristy areas), and also added Changi Airport (Jewel), the newly revamped Funan shopping mall, Southern Ridges near Harbourfront area, and the heartland areas such as Toa Payoh, Punggol, Jurong, Dawson.
Starting from January just before the Lunar New Year, more than 23,000 photos were shot for this project. Shooting had to end due to the Circuit Breaker (partial lockdown) implemented on 7th April 2020.
About the Author
Patrick Pellielo is a photographer, filmmaker and timelapse creator based in Singapore. You can see and follow Patrick’s work on his YouTube channel.