14 inches of snow in 20 seconds – snow timelapse on the Fisher-Price Farm.

Here’s the final product from the snow timelapse that I set up in the backyard. We received over a foot of fresh snow which covered most of Central Iowa, including the Fisher-Price barnyard set up in my backyard.

YouTube video
Snow timelapse from Jan 14-15th, 2022 in West Des Moines, Iowa.

How the timelapse was made

Here are the full details on what I used and how I set up the timelapse. First, I moved a table from our backyard patio out into the yard. We have several trees in our backyard, so it’s not completely open and technically isn’t the best place to measure snowfall – but the measurement isn’t what I was after, just the capturing of the snowfall over time. I ran an extension cord out to the table and left a small power strip, as I would need to provide power for two things: a strip of Christmas lights and power for the GoPro.

At 5:30am in the morning, before the snow started falling, I set up the Fisher-Price Barn along with the farm animals and tractor. I use a flex clamp to connect the GoPro to the table. It uses a micro usb cable to give continuous power and it has a 64Gb flash drive. From prior testing, I know that I can get about 19,000 photos. By the way, this is a really old GoPro. It’s version 3 and the current models are version 10, so it’s very old, but does what I need. The GoPro is set in timelapse mode to take a photo every 5 seconds and store it in .jpg format. The GoPro also has a ziplock bag over the camera with a hole torn out to allow the camera lens through.

YouTube video

How I process the timelapse video

I started the camera at about 5:30am on Friday morning and retrieved it over 24 hours later. The SD card was full at that time and it had collected 17,600 photos over that time. To process the photos, I load them in LR Timelapse (https://lrtimelapse.com), which allows me to preview what the timelapse looks like. I then import the photos into Adobe Lightroom to make any necessary adjustments. I then export the photos out of Lightroom and LR Timelapse then processes the photos into a video. The video was imported into Adobe Premiere and was condensed into 20 seconds (it was originally 5 minutes long) .

Lessons Learned

Every time I run a long-term snow timelapse, I learn a few tricks. This time around, I learned:

  • Taking a photo every 5 seconds was not necessary. It produced over 17,000 images which took too long to produce the video. I can back down to 10, 15, or even every 30 seconds and there will be more than enough material.
  • Water droplets formed on the lens – I believe this can be handled by changing the orientation of the camera by setting it up higher and angling the camera downward.

A better example:

Here’s a better example of a snow timelapse with the Fisher-Price Farm taken in Jan 2021.

YouTube video
Snow timelapse from Jan 2021

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