Lego Timelapses

I’ve been playing about a bit lately with Lego (it helps that my nephew is obsessed with the stuff). I recently decided to combine my love of Lego with my love of Ghostbusters and buy the Lego Ecto-1 set. Me being me, I couldn’t just build the Lego and leave it at that. I had to involve my camera somehow.

I wanted to try doing something a little more interesting than just photographing a completed model (not that I’ve actually done even that for this blog, but still). I’ve been in possession of a Triggertrap for a few months now. So far I’ve used it for long exposures using an ND filter, but this barely touching the surface of what it can do. For a start, it can also do time lapses. This gave me the idea of using it to document my building of the model.


Before trying it out on the main build, I decided to give it a try on the smaller, free model that Lego sent me alongside the Ectomobile. It was far, far smaller and less complex, but gave me the opportunity to test the concept of capturing the building of a Lego model without spending a couple of hours building a larger model and hoping for the best. So I set up my camera on a tripod next to my desk, connected my iPhone, and set Triggertrap to take a shot every five seconds. As this was in the evening, I lit my desk using my desk light. I quite liked the result of this improvised lighting setup.

1/160sec, f/4, ISO 3200, 32mm
1/160sec, f/4, ISO 3200, 32mm

I set the time-lapse running and started building. When I’d completed the model I had 48 frames shot, so I stuck them through Final Cut Pro, and added some titles and music.

It was a bit tricky to gauge success properly with such a short build, but I saw enough that I wanted to try a slightly different technique when it came to the ‘big’ build: instead of setting the camera to fire at precise and equal intervals, I decided to manually fire the shutter whenever I added a brick. I still used the Triggertrap because it gave me a nice big button with which to take a shot, and shot earlier in the day for more light.

The end result is something almost more akin to stop motion than a time-lapse.

I’m pretty pleased with the resulting video, although there are obviously problems with changing light as the time passed (with pausing after every brick to fire the shutter, the build took about two and a half hours) and the model moving a bit.

As for the model itself, it’s fantastic. A really properly brilliant model. I took some photos of that too, of course, but you’ll have to wait until a later post for those.

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