Creating time-lapse videos of your 3D print can be great for your brand. In this episode, Tom and Tracy Hazzard get into the cameras they use and explain why the placement and positioning of your camera are absolutely critical to a great video. Learn some tips and tricks that not only makes your viewers love and enjoy your craft, but also market your brand at the same time. Utilizing social media to spread your brand, get first-hand knowledge on how Tom and Tracy capitalize and use their time-lapse videos to inspire their followers to love 3D printing.
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How Do You Create Your Time Lapse Videos?
This is Ask Us Anything segment.
Ask us anything 3D. Our big question is how do we create our time-lapse videos? It’s a good question but what might also be a question is, why should you create your time-lapse videos? I have a great answer for that one. I gave a gift of one of our angels to a little six-year-old girl who I love and she’s adorable. We gave her the angel and she thought it was beautiful and it was cute. About a few hours later, after she’d open it, her mom or dad had shown her the time-lapse video of how it was made because we share our likes on our YouTube channel. She came up to me afterward and she said, “It’s even more amazing than I thought. I love it so much. It’s cool how it builds from the bottom up. It’s like it was growing. My angel grew.” That reaction is perfect. Not only are you giving a gift of yourself, giving something you made which you’re educating them on the 3D print process at the time and getting them excited about it. We got a six-year-old girl excited about 3D printing.
It happens to everybody. We saw as we exhibit at the SoCal MakerCon. We set up a television monitor, a big one, right at the edge of our booth space hooked up to a laptop that was running a reel of a lot of videos from our YouTube channel. It included several time-lapse videos and even for the adults, it was a showstopper. People would see that and be like, “Whoa.” They were fascinated. They would ask, “How do you make that item?” “If you look up there, you can see.”
You think that, “This is SoCal MakerCon, everybody’s got a 3D printer. Everybody knows how they work or everything.” Every design grows differently and that’s the cool part about it.
Honestly, there were easily as many people if not more at that show who had never 3D printed anything or didn’t understand all about it as there were who did.
I know but I’m saying that even the people who did were interested in it because that particular item grows differently than another item and the way you put your support on it. It’s a quick and easy way to demonstrate it and show it all the way through from its beginning to its end.
The thing is, “How do we do it?” It’s a good question. You want to be thinking about it ahead of time. You don’t want to have to print these things and say, “That was cool,” and then you realize, “I should have captured that. I need to do it again.” The reality is you could do it every time you print but all it takes is a video camera of some kind and there are several to choose from.
We use a GoPro. It’s cheap and easy. It’s small, lightweight and easy to hook to the printer.
I took one of the helmet mounting things they give you if you want to put it on your motorcycle helmet or on your snowboarding helmet or skiing helmet. It has some aggressive adhesive. We attached it to our 3D printer. I would make a couple of suggestions. It doesn’t matter if you use a GoPro. Let’s talk about the position where you put the camera.
Which is critical.
It is important and it depends a little bit on your 3D printer because some of them have obstructions in certain areas. On ours, for instance, we put it over the top. Of course, the extruder is going to be moving all around the build plate.
Sometimes it gets in the way of the image.
It does but the reality is at the end of a long print in a time-lapse video, it’s flying fast. It’s not taking away from the visual of the time-lapse. On our printer, it made the most sense to put it from the top looking down over the build plate.
I strongly suggest you don’t put it on anything that’s moving. You want it to be as steady as possible. Try to get something that’s stable like your side rails or the frame of your 3D printer.
We get different printers here from time-to-time and conduct reviews on some of those printers. On some other printers, I’ve set up the camera on a tripod in front of the printer and focused on either the area where the extruder is building the current layer. When you think about it, the build plate usually is going to move down over the time of the print and you want to be capturing what’s being built new. You try to film the entire build volume if you’re going to make some, it’s going to fill that whole build volume so you see it grow.
You never move the camera, that’s the critical point. You want to never have to move it so you don’t have to shift it up and pan or do anything like that. You want to keep it in a static position. One more thing on that position, it’s critical not to face it outwards because if you walk in front of the printer where people are going by, you capture that. I’ve seen some people who’ve done their 3D prints and you get shadows and weird things happening in front of it. Try to point it inwards or sideways or some way that it’s not going to capture what’s happening in passing by of your printer.
Even on our MakerBot, when I put the GoPro on there and I faced it down directly on the build plate, it has such a wide-angle view. You would see the carpet of our floor. You could see people if they walk up to look at what’s printing on the printer. What we’ve done with our time-lapses is we’ve taken as simple as a white sheet or a large piece of white paper that’s like these big Post-it ones that are like an easel board or something. You can get some big sheets of white paper that have some sticky on it or you can tape it to your printer. When I want it to be clean, I set it up so that there’s no background people can see if the camera is even facing out.
There’s one other tip. If you’re a business and this is your printer that you’re trying to do a time-lapse on, in this case, MakerBot or Polar3D, you want to face the camera so that your logo shows at all times. If it’s not your printer, if you’re not the printer manufacturer, you don’t want to be highlighting your printer manufacturer at every time you make a timeline video and maybe you want to block it out.
I would brand it with your personal brand logo or your company brand.
If you’re a designer or if you’re a company.
I don’t know if you’ve ever watched any of our video series on YouTube of me and Tracy talking here at the mic. We have our computers sometimes in front of us because we’re referencing things on them. We printed out our podcast icon and stuck it over the computer. We’re not advertising the brand of the computer but if you see it, it’s promoting our brand, our podcast. You could do something like that.
If this is your business or you’re a designer who wants to focus on your brand and grow your brand, then you should absolutely think about using that real estate to put your logo and image.
Another important, although a little more technical detail about time-lapse videos, depending on the camera you use, different kinds of cameras. I have a Canon digital SLR camera that I use to take pictures of our finished prints. It’s a good quality camera and it does shoot video. There are certain cameras that are not considered camcorders like true video cameras. The electronics industry has put some things in place, everybody is trying to protect the tariff of their business and they’re saying, “A digital SLR is not a video camera.”
It meant that there are a lot of tariffs that they get removed from the process. Our videographer, Jonathan Lind has educated us in the extreme about this.
What it means is if you have a camera that’s a digital SLR or some other digital camera that also shoots videos, it usually will only shoot about twelve minutes long video and then it will stop. You have to initiate another video at that point and that’s not practical for a time-lapse video. You have two choices to use, either a video camera that’s truly a camcorder, a real handheld video camera meant for video first, not still pictures that will record as long as you want video, as long as you have a large enough memory card in it and you have enough battery power. I would highly recommend plugging in your camera for doing time-lapse videos and not relying on battery because that battery will usually not last more than 3 or 4 hours. If you’re doing a print that’s more than 3 or 4 hours long, you’re going to be out of luck.
We’re frequently out of luck if we were to do that because our print starts 10 to 20 hours.
Our common prints are between 6 and 24 hours. That would not work for us. Even the GoPro camera, the battery also will only last about 3 or 4 hours. The memory card for video will last for eight hours of video. We keep that GoPro plugged into power all the time and then you’re fine. What about the length of time of video? If you have a 3D print that’s going to be longer than eight hours, it’s impractical to shoot a full-motion video for the whole time.
It’s unnecessary too with the way that we do it.
With long prints, I do think it’s unnecessary. Here’s why. You have an eight-hour print, I will shoot a video if it’s under eight hours and then when you make it a time-lapse, you take eight hours of video in your video editing program. It doesn’t matter if it’s a simple video editing program that comes standard in the OS on your computer or if you’re using something more significant like Adobe Premiere, but you essentially take that eight hours of time and you slide it and compress it to about 30 seconds of time. What we do is a 30-second time-lapse video. It’s about the longest we would do.
It’s perfect for social media. Anything under 50 seconds is perfect for social media, for Facebook or Instagram.
Those videos are getting highly promoted and ranked higher within Facebook and other social media. Videos are better than a still picture in that regard.
We may have said this on previous episodes, but I’ll reiterate it to make sure that you’re learning. Facebook wants to compete with YouTube and they’re a high level of search engine in a sense. What they’ve done is they’ve boosted anyone who posts a video. If you post a Facebook message, even a message with an image, it might be seen by 30% of your page likes or your followers of whatever kind you have. If you’ve got a company page, you have page likes and those likes are people who want to get posts on you, but only 30% of them see it. If you have 100, you only have 30 people who will see your post at any given time, not 100 of them. If you post a video on Facebook, 100 of your people see it.
100% of your friends will see it. They’re trying to compete and they don’t have as many videos as other platforms.
You cannot do a link from YouTube to Facebook. You must load it resident into Facebook.
Load the actual permalink of the videos.
Upload it like you do a picture. You add a picture to Facebook. You add a video to Facebook. You must put it in there. It must come resident from Facebook to get that boost.
I would trust Tracy on what she’s saying. She handles and manages our social media here at WTFFF?!. The reality is she’s gone out and taken actual bootcamp classes from social media consultants on this.
Thank you, Katie Wagner. It’s not just that. Katie taught me that as well. We went out and tested it. Grace, our marketing assistant and I, we tested it and we did it. What we also found is we can share other people’s videos that are from Facebook. If our friends at Polar3D posted up a live video into their Facebook page but I shared that, 100% of my viewers see it as well. Anytime you’re sharing, liking or commenting on or doing it, 100% of it is being re-shared.
People change the rules all the time. This is a good bet. It’s a way to promote more. Back to the time-lapse video itself. You either take or shoot an actual video and then you compress it in time, which it allows you to do that. When you do that and shooting full-motion video, essentially what it’s doing is cutting out little bits and pieces of it and compressing it into a short period of time and that’s a great way to go. If you’re going to do something over eight hours long, you need to use a time-lapse photo function of your camera and GoPros do this. I believe that most digital SLRs do it. I’m not sure about video camcorders. You should check the instructions for your particular camera or if you’re looking at buying one, I would check them out and see.
Make sure they have that feature.
I like the GoPro because it is small and when you’re trying to mount a camera to your 3D printer or around or in front of it, it’s a much smaller obstacle to deal with.
I’ve heard good things about the Polaroid Box one too. It’s called the cube or something like that. I’ve heard good things about that one but I haven’t tried it.
I remember reading a review on that. I know they’re trying to compete with the GoPro and it may be perfectly good but we haven’t tried that one. With the time-lapse video sequence, most cameras allow you to choose the interval between pictures. Usually it’s every either 5 seconds, 15 seconds, 30 seconds, 1 minute, 5 minutes, 10 minutes and it depends on how long your event is going to be, what you would want to choose. I have found doing it every 30 seconds with my 3D print time lapses to produce good results for me. I’ve been happy with that.
That’s even on a twenty-hour print.
I even did that on a 100-hour print. If you go to our YouTube channel and you look at the video of the Dutch builder printer.
The crazy octopus face.
The model that you don’t like. This was a 100-hour print. We needed to create a model to do it so we did. It maybe didn’t turn out how we wanted to but after 100 hours, I wasn’t about to do it again. In any case, that one was also 30 seconds. What you do when you do video editing, instead of importing a raw video file into your video editing program, you import this series of still images. All of these video editing programs are set to do this. It’s not that hard. You import all these stills and because the camera will save them in a sequential numbered order with their file names, the programs know what to do with them. You end up converting these stills to a video clip. It will be of a certain length and you grab it, drag it and slide it down until you get your either 50-second or 30-second clip.
I’ll probably do some still images. They’ll probably be from Adobe Premiere because that’s what we use. The other thing that I would make some suggestions for that we mentioned a little bit with branding and your logo, you can do that on your 3D printer itself or you can also do that within the video editing. We want a little title slide. We put our logo if it’s superimposed on the build plate before the print starts and then we make it disappear and it starts to print.
I highly recommend not doing it if you’re going to do a Facebook or an Instagram post though. Have your logo resident in the design, in the video itself is fine. We don’t do a title slide because it chooses the image that is the standard stock image that’s the thumbnail. It chooses it for you and it’s not always the best choice. You don’t know where it’s going to end up. Also, they’re not a big fan of promo videos. You can get downgraded because of that for having titles. If you’re using it for social media, I suggest you stick your logo somewhere in that and don’t worry about the title side. If you’re doing it on YouTube because you can choose your own thumbnail, then you can certainly do a title slide and then choose your own thumbnail for that.
If you were going to put a little square logo of either your company or your personal brand and you’re going to stick it in the lower right corner the whole time, do you think that’s okay?
It’s fine if you want to do that. It makes it look more promotional and less educational and interesting. We do it on the base plate before we start.
It’s not a bunch of text, it’s our logo. If you found our video, you’re on the Hazz Design YouTube channel, you’re going to know how to find us. It depends on your situation. Could you maybe at the end of the video, put your web URL?
You can absolutely do that. That’s no problem at the end. In the beginning, it’s not a great idea if you’re using it for social media first.
If they think it’s a commercial, they’re not going to want to promote it as much. They have algorithms that look for that.
They do. It’s a text that’s typed into the thing. That’s the way it works. If it’s a drop in image, they won’t notice as much.
The time-lapse is a great wow factor way to show something cool about what you’re printing and especially if the object you’re printing maybe isn’t as exciting an object when it’s done, but to show how it’s built is a whole other thing to talk about.
It’s worth it. We’ve had a lot of wow visibility from those time-lapse themselves. They’re definitely worth the effort.
I hope that helps answer your question. There’s nothing else technical to discuss about that.
If you have questions, you can comment. Let us know if you have a follow-up or if you’re having trouble doing it, comment here or send us a Tweet or a message anywhere on social media, @HazzDesign.
Thanks again for following.
- Dutch builder printer on YouTube
- Hazz Design – YouTube
- @HazzDesign – Twitter
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