Most people have seen those budding flowers or decaying
rodents, but time-lapse is just another filming technique
to add to a filmmakers arsenal, like slow motion or
dollying (moving the camera). The challange for a
time-lapse cinematographer is not how to do time-lapse,
but how to use it in a non-cliched, innovative way.
It is used breathtakingly in Ron Fricke's Film Barraka.
Time-lapse is not a complex technique; you do not need
huge amounts of expensive equipment, and by its nature
it is cheap on film! Why would you employ a specialist
TLC (time-lapse cinematographer)?
Just as an animator translates tiny movements into
realistic motion, so a TLC learns, by trial and error,
what interval and exposure is needed to gain a specific
effect, what will make interesting shots, and what won't.
They learn the characteristics of film: how much extra
exposure to give a film under which conditions, what
interval goes with a certain panning speed.