My Christmas e-card for the Herald & Times Group

For the past couple of years I’ve had the dubious honour of being asked to produce the Christmas e-card for the Herald & Times Group. It’s always a tricky brief – produce a seasonal e-card without dragging myself or others away from a busy schedule.

In previous years I’ve just pulled together a picture, some clip art and a Christmas-y tune in Flash to make something like this: http://www.heraldandtimeslabs.com/christmas2010/

…which is OK, but not very exciting. So this year, I decided to try something different.

Over the space of a week I took around 3,500 still photos around our Glasgow office and Cambuslang print plant. I then stitched these photos together using a free Mac app called Time Lapse Assembler to produce a pretty smooth 30 frames/sec timelapse video. In turn, this was edited to match an appropriate Christmas tune in iMovie. Here’s the result…



Two cameras were used on the shoot. Most of the pics came from my Nikon D3100 using both an 18-55mm zoom and an 8mm fish eye for the really wide angle shots. Interval timing was handled by a great little remote shutter release I got off eBay for about 15. It does everything the official Nikon one does for about a tenth of the price.

My backup camera was a Ricoh CX1 which I used to capture a second angle while the D3100 was in use (like when the drivers were loading their trucks and while everyone gathered for the final “Merry Christmas” shot).

In total I reckon I spent approx four hours shooting the pics (elapsed time was more like 18 hours, but most of the time I could leave the camera and get on with other work) and then about another three hours assembling the footage and editing in iMovie. So, for less than a day’s work — or about the same as I’d have spent creating another cheesy Santa animation — I reckon we got a much better result.

Producing this video has really given me the timelapse bug, so for Christmas I’m getting a custom-built robotic tripod head which will allow me to combine real tilts and pans with my timelapse photography. Exciting stuff!