I'm hoping to find some advice as I get started learning how to shoot time lapse. I'm going backpacking in Grand Canyon later this month and hope to at least get a grasp of things before then (given that I'll have the river, rapids, night sky and canyon walls as a subject)...
My set up: Canon 450D Rebel xsi Studiohut vertical battery grip timer (intervoltometer, unlimited exposures) Lenses (that I'd use for time lapse): Sigma 10-30mm wide angle and Canon 28-135 Tripod
Subjects: Night sky and clouds and sun moving over landscapes, especially mountains and canyon country.
- Is there a rule-of-thumb minimum exposure interval (the period of time between exposures) for shooting night skies or daytime cloud formations moving over landscape?
- Is there a rule-of-thumb relationship between duration of exposure and duration of intervals between exposures?
- File type - maybe this is obvious but given lots of images and limited memory jpegs o make more sense than RAW, no? Have people used even medium sized jpegs (these would seem to me to work fine and be more manageable in terms of file management so long as for display on computers). I'm not one to get hung up on the finer-grain detail of the images in a video-making context...
- Software - I've read that Quicktime 7 works (which I read is built into and accessible on my Mac despite having a more recent version) and there are several open source options available... Any advice on which is most elegant and user friendly?
Any common beginner errors (other than the expected trial and error ) I should be aware of?
Thanks in advance for any insight.
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Joined: Sat Mar 12, 2011 1:43 am Posts: 47 Location: Melbourne, Australia
well I can answer a few of those questions
The exposure interval is dependant on how quickly you want your footage to move and there are some simple equations to work this out. Your base is the amount of frames per second that the video will be playing at. I am going to assume you are in the U.S which generally has a frame rate of 30 frames per second. Therefore if you were to shoot a frame every 10 seconds you would be compressing 5 minutes of real time into a second of video. The best way to figure out what works for you is to play around with your exposure intervals until you find what works for your desired outcome. Basically it all depends how much time you want to compress time. I generally consider how long I want the final video to be. I recently setup a timelapse of candles burning which took 3 days and resulted in 11400 frames to total an 11 minute video!
As for file or frame size, once again consider your output. If you are wanting to create a HD video, say for vimeo or youtube, look at the resolution at which it will playback. 1280 x 720 which is widescreen (16:9) is a common HD resolution. Just remember that the photos that your are taking are more akin to Standard Definition (SD) which is a 4:3 format so when you go to produce a widescreen video you will get a "letterbox" effect which will crop the top and bottom of your still frames. I would start with a JPEG file setting that is just large enough to work as HD when you render it as a video.
As far as I know there is no relationship between exposure duration and the interval time, besides the fact that at night your intervals will be longer because your exposures will be longer.
I use a amalgam of software for my work ranging from After Effects, Premier, Final Cut Pro to Dragon Stop Motion animation software. Anything that you can import a folder of still photos and drag the whole folder onto a timeline is the goods.
I'm learning this too. My preference would be to shoot RAW just for versatility in post. I can shop out any noise, adjust my levels to get the best images and then export them as JPGs out to my video editor. Of course, this depends on what kind of a computer you are working with, and whether or not you've got the juice to handle that much data in a reasonably fast fashion.
I've been learning a lot just by searching google too.
I just did a quick timelapse with a GoPro that I'm need to process. That was doen with the timelapse setting and shooting JPGs, but I'll have to actually process it and let you know how it goes. I don't have QT7 for whatever reason so I'm using Premiere. Torrents are your friends for those types of programs. I'll process it and if its any good I'll post it up.
Intervalometer is the key though.
This is my second attempt ever, also shot using a GoPro and JPGs, so you can get decent results that way.
I don't remember exactly how long the time period was but I want to say at least 2 hours and teh result was 9 seconds.
Turns out CineForm Studio has a very simple way of creating timelapses from still images. Free software too. It doesn't do a whole lot else though. I would post my most recent attempt, but its pretty boring, so I haven't uploaded it.