Feature Stories

Time Lapsing Traveler: Adventure in Tokyo

Tokyo, Japan is a spectacular melting pot of modern living and historical sceneries that are often both seen side-by-side within the city's marvelous landscapes. For CyberLinker Steven Lien, this famous travel location serves as one of his palettes for creating awe-inspiring images and videos while on a quick escape away from his busy work schedule.

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"I travel two to three times a year to have a short escape from busy work and I frequently go to Japan because of its short flying distance from Taiwan. Japan in general is great place for shopping and enjoying delicious food and the culture is somewhat similar with Taiwan," Steven says.

Steven's main purpose for travelling is to once in a while experience the life in a foreign country and he captures these moments by creating vivid pictures and videos of his adventure.

Enjoying a tour of Tokyo is all about relying on mass transportation and on a lot of walking within the streets to discover the city's hidden gems. But this method of site-seeing is also the major challenge especially for taking photos and videos, says Steven.


Backpacker's gadgets on-the-go

Carrying light is first of Steven's advice when asked for tips on capturing immaculate photos and videos while on travel. "For travel photography, my choice of equipment is my highest guiding principle: it should be lightweight, can be carried single-handedly and everything should fit my backpack, "Steven says.

Steven explains that carrying gadgets easily with one hand will still allow him to enjoy wandering around and eating local food. He also advices to buy souvenirs that could be tucked away inside the backpack.

Steven says he's been using Panasonic M4/3 system for several years because of its compact size, near DSLR quality output, wide range of lens and excellent video shooting capability.


Steven also recommends Panasonic GM1 for taking time-lapse videos. "When using my old G5, I still need a digital timer remote to control the auto interval shutter. When using GM1, I can use the built-in time-lapse feature to take a series of time lapse photo," explains Steven.

Since Steven takes time lapse videos in most of his travels, he always carries a tripod and those have to be light. He brought with him Manfrotto Pocket and Manfrotto 209 table tripod.

"The only drawback of Manfrotto Pocket tripod is that it blocks the battery slot and taking time-lapse videos require changing batteries every after taking 600 to 700 photos," explains Steven.

The convenience of having DirectorSuite Live

Even during his travel, Steven still squeezes in some time to edit his photos and videos before sharing them. And because he does not carry with him a lot of gadgets and equipment to store his media content, he uses DirectorSuite Live that it is integrated with CyberLink Cloud storage.

"I bring with me my 11" Macbook Air, which only has 128G SSD and the space allocated to Windows OS is only 40G, which means I do not have enough space to store too many photos and videos,"says Steven.


"CyberLink Cloud and DirectorSuite Live are very much for video editors who are always on-the-go. I am able to back up my edited projects as well as the titles and sound clips on the cloud therefore I never run out of space on my computer," Steven further notes.

Director Suite Live is CyberLink's first subscription-based creative suite. Throughout the subscription period, users are guaranteed to always get the most up-to-date Director Suite releases. Director Suite Live is also integrated with CyberLink Cloud service for backing up and easily sharing your creative projects, templates and work environment.

How to produce time-lapse videos

Step 1: Pick a good location

When choosing a location, make sure that you can get a wide angle view of the scenery that you want to feature in your video. A bird's eye view without distraction is ideal says Steven. When shooting a time-lapse, you want your camera sitting on a very stable base, so your tripod will fast become your best friend.

tokyo photo collage

Step 2: Determine your camera settings

There are so many factors that determine the optimal settings for your camera. The time of day you are shooting, the scene you are trying to capture and also the mood you are trying to create, are all considerations when setting up your time-lapse camera.

tokyo photo collage

Steven shoots most of his time-lapses during the day, so using the time-lapse feature on his camera, he sets the shooting interval to one second, and captures 200 shots for each scene. With about 20 scenes in each movie, Steven ends up with a total of 4,000 photos.

When taking photos of slower moving objects, it is worthwhile using a setting of one shot every five or ten seconds, to prevent your SD card being filled with shots too quickly. Taking time-lapses at sunrise or sunset, or at night, is a completely different beast all together, with the changing light sometimes meaning shutter speed needs to be adjusted periodically too, in order to avoid shots coming out too over, or under-exposed.

Steven recommends taking photos with 3:2 ratios at 8 megapixels. "This allows me to generate 4k quality videos when I process them with PowerDirector," he says. He adds that taking photos with 3:2 ratios enables him to add pan and zoom effect when exporting to full HD video, without compromising the resolution.

video pan and crop

Step 3: Generate time-lapse videos with PowerDirector

Having captured all the shots he wants, Steven begins the work of putting them all together into a time-lapse video. Using PowerDirector, he's quickly able to do this, add any effects he wants, and export to full HD video, all from within the one application.

create timelapse with PowerDirector

Working scene by scene, Steven simply drags all the images for that scene into PowerDirector, and using the Slideshow Editor, he is able to quickly combine all the images into a smooth movie. With the images combined, Steven can then set about adding extra effects to his movie and adjusting color attributes.

With the post-production complete, it's then time to produce the video, with PowerDirector allowing Steven to output his video in stunning 4K quality. Steven can even upload direct to YouTube, Vimeo, DailyMotion or Niconico Douga directly from PowerDirector.

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