An Easy Setup for Creating Time Lapse of Jigsaw Puzzle (Simple)

January 06, 2022  •  Leave a Comment

This is my setup for my time-lapse jigsaw puzzle projects.  The hard work is putting the puzzle together and creating the timelapse with all the photos once the puzzle is completed.

Outdoor time-lapses are much harder because you have to adjust for lighting changes and the whims of Mother Nature.  Jigsaw puzzles on the other hand are in a very controlled environment.  In my case, I am even in a room with zero windows, so I can work on the puzzle at any time of the day or night and the lighting conditions do not change.

If you view the photos below you can see how simple this setup is.  Like I mentioned above, I am using a location where I have full control over lighting conditions.  My lighting is composed of LED lighting on the ceiling and the two overhead lights you can see in the first photo to help light my table. 

I place my tripod to have the perspective of looking over my left shoulder when I am seated in the chair.   I have my camera set on Aperture Priority (because I am lazy) to get an aperture of about 5.0 or higher to get a good depth of field.  I don't want any bokeh here.  I also set my camera to take jpg images and low quality to minimize size.

I am taking photos at 30-second intervals using an intervalometer. The link (affiliate) is for Canon, so make sure you get the right one for your camera.  You do not need to go with an expensive intervalometer - get an off-brand version. 

Each time I sit down to work on my puzzle I check my camera battery status and start the intervalometer and enjoy working on my puzzle.  To add entertainment value, I added Tigger and a frog to run around the table as I do my work.  After the camera takes a photo I move them just a little.  It is okay if you don't move them every time.

You can see my puzzle lid positioned where I can see it but not block any of the lighting or cast weird shadows on the table.  And finally the last photo you can see a Bluetooth speaker I use to hold the lid in place and to listen to music.  That's it for the setup.  Below the pictures is more details and a little math discussion.    A short video of this can be found here.

Overall SetupOverall SetupOverall Setup PuzzlePuzzlePuzzle
SoundSoundSound CharactersCharactersCharacters


Let's talk about the math for this time-lapse.  On my first time-lapse attempt, I had way too many photos.  The sweet spot for me is around 2,000 photos, and I like to keep it under 3,000.  So the hard part here is to figure out how often to take a photo.  In my testing over many time-lapse projects that I have completed, I found a photo every 30 seconds works best for me.  So here is the only math you need to think about for now.

You need to know roughly how long it will take you to put the puzzle together to get that answer.  For that, I will work the math backward to tell you how long it took for me to do my last puzzle.  You can see that time-lapse on my YouTube Channel.

I took 1,605 photos at 30-second intervals.  Which is easy math of 1605*30 seconds = 48,150 seconds. That is how long it took to complete the puzzle. But if you are like me, I don't know how long that is.  It sounds like a really long time, so let's convert it to minutes.

To convert seconds to minutes divide the number of seconds by 60.   48,150/60 = 802.5 minutes.   Still not easy for me to understand that number.

To convert seconds to hours divide the number of seconds by 3600.  48,150/3600 = 13.375 hours.  That is much easier to understand.

For now, let's stop here and I will pick up from this point once the puzzle is done to explain how to create the time-lapse and introduce a little more math fun.


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