- Intro, equipment and considerations
- File sizes, post processing
- Variable vs Fixed exposure
- ISO / Aperture
- White balance
- Interesting subjects
- Battery life
- Frame rate, software
- Final thoughts
- (Interval shooting for stills)
ISO / Shutter speed
Noise and grainy looking noise might be great for stills, but for video, noise that changes from one frame to another can be distracting. Choose as low of an ISO as you can to avoid unwanted noise. This can result in long exposures at night or early morning (but you are ready using a tripod), so be prepared for motion blue (trees, dreamy clouds, star trails, etc.) as a result.
Keep in mind that long exposure (over 1 sec to over several seconds) on many digital cameras end up with noticeable sensor noise, so check to see how well your equipment does with long exposure before committing to taking hundreds of time-lapse photos. If you are looking for good equipment, research Fuji X cameras.
If you use auto ISO, you may experience variable exposure (like below) depending on what you are shooting.
To prevent variable exposure, set ALL your exposure settings (ISO, aperture and shutter speed).
Fast vs slow shutter speeds
This is a matter of taste. You can certainly use faster shutter speeds if you want to keep your camera off longer between long intervals, but since you are shooting for motion instead of stills, motion blur in subjects is perfectly acceptable and certainly helps with the sense of motion in the time-lapse.
Plus, longer shutter speeds help keep the ISO lower.
Don’t forget to keep aperture in mind. If you want everything in focus, search online for how to use hyperfocal distance. For example, 18mm at f/5.6 or f/8 and manual focus, I can get about 4-5ft to infinity in focus on a crop factor body. http://www.dofmaster.com/dofjs.html
But not everything needs to be in focus. Infinity (which will often include nearby trees) is all you really need for long exposure star trails unless you also have a close subject in the scene.