Ringing in the new year with amazing memories

Hi gang,

Everyone is gearing up for the last party of the year, which often coincides with also being the biggest.
If you are going to organize a new year’s party or go to a party organized by friends, here is one dirty trick that will give you amazing, long-lasting results! I did this a couple of years ago and it was an absolute blast. I’ll be setting this up once more this year.

The idea is that you set up a camera (preferrably an old one, since it is going to be set up close to people that are partying and probably a little drunk. Don’t take crazy risks and set up a D4 with 24-70 or something.) on a tripod with a lens. Then, if you have got some kind of cool background or background paper, tape a big X on the floor so people know where they have to stand. Hang a remote attached to a wire and when people pass by, they’ll be tempted to take advanced selfies of themselves. There really isnt much more to it. The thing however is in the details.

Set your camera up in JPG Normal mode. You want the size that gives you just 1080 pixels or more in vertical. Not much more, remember we are going to edit this into a timelapse video so you do not need high res or RAW files. I use an old, beaten down Nikon d70s for this. The JPGS are perfect for this, and it is easily editable.

Set your camera to M mode, dial in the correct aperture and focal length and then put the lens in manual focus. If the scene is badly lit, add a flash. I put one old studio flash (for recycling times’ sake) on the left of the subject with an umbrella and it is perfect. People will instinctively take a lot of shots of themselves. Don’t be afraid of getting in the thousands of shots. Last newyear that I did this, I ended up with some 1,200 pictures and that was a small, small batch.

If you don’t know what to expect, just check out the video here :

New Years’ Timelapse

Okay, so let’s sum it up quickly

-Find an old camera, something you aren’t afraid of breaking
-Set it up on a sturdy tripod
-Attach a lens (preferably also a cheap one, like a 50mm f/1.8)
-Add a flash if the scene is badly lit (also the best way of freezing action)
-Find the correct exposure with the flash
-Dial in the correct exposure whilst putting the camera in Manual mode
-Dial in the correct focus focal length and put the camera in manual focus (will prevent hunting if it is dark, and if you use something like f/5.6        everything will be in focus)
-Add a sticky note on the camera that says no-one is to touch the settings (important when people are drunk 🙂 )
-Set the camera to JPEG Normal or Basic (anything that gives you at least 1080p in vertical pixels. More is useless)
-Attach a small, cheap, wireless remote that triggers the camera on a wire or string near the X you marked on the ground.
-Pop in a large memory card!
-Pop in a fresh battery pack
-Let the fun begin!

Alright, so that is basically it. Very simple as you can see but the results are hilarious. They tend to become funnier as the evening progresses. Don’t know why 🙂 . BTW, I’m the moron in the red pants in the video 🙂 Dont’t forget to bring spare batteries and memory cards, since one battery will last an average of 1000 shots (more if you disable autofocus, and put it in Manual mode). My top tip is to bring 3 with you. One in the camera and two others in chargers. That way, you’ll always have 2 batteries charging and one ready to shoot. Once it is drained, pop it in the charger, insert the reloaded one and you can keep going like that!

I’ll be back with the part-2 tutorial for this, in which I’ll describe how to create your timelapse video on the computer. I’ll post it during the second week of January, so hold on to your files until then.

Have a fantastic New Year’s Party,

And I’ll see you guys in 2014!



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