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Thread: Time lapse photography

  1. #1
    Alis's Avatar
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    Time lapse photography

    Does anyone here have any experience in time lapse photography?


    Alis

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    Re: Time lapse photography

    I've shot several time lapse with my Sigma SD14. I have also published my completed videos here:

    My Vimeo Page

  3. #3
    Alis's Avatar
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    Re: Time lapse photography

    Quote Originally Posted by Steaphany View Post
    I've shot several time lapse with my Sigma SD14. I have also published my completed videos here:

    My Vimeo Page
    Nice! How do you do it? And what software do you use to put them together? I have seen Adobe Aftereffects used for it.

    Thanks,
    Alis

  4. #4

    Re: Time lapse photography

    Ross Ching is the Master at this, I think. His latest (Welcome all again) is very good. http://rossching.com/

    You need a timer. This is the Canon one http://www.bristolcameras.co.uk/p-ca...80n3.htm#revie Don't know about Nikon.

    rob

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    Moderator Dave Humphries's Avatar
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    Re: Time lapse photography

    Quote Originally Posted by carregwen View Post
    You need a timer. This is the Canon one http://www.bristolcameras.co.uk/p-ca...80n3.htm#revie Don't know about Nikon
    One is built into my D5000 - not tried it yet, but intend to 'one day' having seen Steaphany's work.

    Probably an interval timer also in Nikon D90 if in D5000.

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    Re: Time lapse photography

    There is a long list of things you'll need to shoot Time Lapse:

    • If your Camera does not have one built in, an intervalometer. I got a JJC LCD Timer Remote Switch for Sigma SD14 through a seller on ebay. This same model is available for other SLR brands. On the one I received, there was a wiring error. I opened it up, easily saw how it was mis-wired by the text on the PCB and fixed it. Electronically, it's pretty much universal.
      .
    • Software - there is no need to spend big bucks here, there is plenty that's free:

      - VirtualDub is a video capture/processing utility that can assemble a set of P&S or dSLR images into a ready to play video file.

      - Avisynth is a powerful tool for video post-production. It performs video editing and processing working as a frame server, providing instant editing without the need for temporary files.

      - Donald Graft has a nice collection of VirtualDub & Avisynth plug in filters, including DeFlicker for VirtualDub which performs a moving average of frame exposure to eliminate the flicker caused by a camera set to Auto Exposure. (The 1/3 stop resolution is not fine enough for smooth flicker free video)
      .
    • Motion Control can be a whole field of study within itself.

      - I have a Orion TeleTrack GoTo Altazimuth Telescope Mount which I purchased with my telescope. For Time Lapse, it's great to simple slow pans.

      - To get a sense for more elaborate Motion Control, check out Open-Source Photographic Motion-Control. The OpenMoco system is an open-source software and hardware motion control system for time-lapse photographers and videographers. I'm still researching OpenMoco and have not used it.
      .
    • Where to go when things go wrong and you go screaming out into the night ? There is a great and very active forum which solely focused on everything Time Lapse. TIMESCAPES.ORG is where I learned about the intricacies of shooting Time Lapse and found help when needed. They have over 600 members. Cover subjects from exposure to motion control, and even list web sites where you can get free or low cost rights free music to add sound tracks.

      They even have a Timelapse Showcase Theatre where members can embed their videos to share with the forum. (Hint to Admins, if this becomes a more popular area of photography here, please look into allowing embedding code to present videos.)


    For those up for a challenge, there are two areas which can be quite difficult to shoot in Time Lapse. A camera set to Auto exposure because, as a mentioned earlier, the 1/3 stop is too great a step. (Deflicker helps) Also, the Day to Night or Night to Day exposure transitions are especially difficult. Don't let these issues get in your way or weaken your interest. Even the professionals on the Timescapes.org forum consider solving the Day/Night transition as the "Holy Grail".

    If you feel I missed anything just ask. It would be nice to see what others here can do.
    Last edited by Steaphany; 9th September 2009 at 09:28 PM.

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    Re: Time lapse photography

    I have just been doing this!

    I used my parents canon powershot a720 with the CHDK firmware and an intervalometer script, which allows any powershot (quick look on amazon shows them to be available from ~130) to be used for time lapse (aswell as a bunch of other scripts and enableing raw etc etc....)

    I used virtualdub to turn the pictures into movies and that was easy as pie and worked very well.

    I havent actually published them yet, as im not much of an audio guy, so im trying a bit of a back and forth with someone who contacted me through youtube when i put a set of trials on there, unfortunately its going a bit slow at the moment but hopefully they will be out before too long.

    The great thing about time lapse is that your photos are the resolution, so its easy to get 1080p quality, or even higher if you want.

    If you want a sneak peek, the testing reel is available in HD on youtube at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=teSopwYP4DM .
    Last edited by wjh31; 26th September 2009 at 01:11 PM.

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    Re: Time lapse photography

    Thanks, Steaphany, and everyone else for the detailed answers. Interesting to see there are so many different software to do this.

    I guess I have read about this and start doing one.

    Rob, intersting that I was already thinking of buying that exact same timer. Looks like it is going to be usefull here too.

    Cheers,

    Alis

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    Re: Time lapse photography

    OK, I have been playing with this Canon timer. Looks like the maximum shots you can set it for is 100. Is this true or I am missing something?

    And how many pictures you guys usually recommend for timelapse? 100 seems to be way too low for even a short video. Isn't it?

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    Re: Time lapse photography

    Quote Originally Posted by Alis View Post
    OK, I have been playing with this Canon timer. Looks like the maximum shots you can set it for is 100. Is this true or I am missing something?

    And how many pictures you guys usually recommend for timelapse? 100 seems to be way too low for even a short video. Isn't it?
    Waiting for a pizza at Pizza Hut - Don't you just love technology!

    Just leave the TC80-N3 set to zero and it'll keep going until you stop it

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    Re: Time lapse photography

    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Humphries View Post
    One is built into my D5000 - not tried it yet, but intend to 'one day' having seen Steaphany's work.

    Probably an interval timer also in Nikon D90 if in D5000.
    There is no interval timer on the D90 Dave, it would be a useful feature instead of the never used video facility though.

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    Moderator Dave Humphries's Avatar
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    Re: Time lapse photography

    Quote Originally Posted by Keith View Post
    There is no interval timer on the D90 Dave, it would be a useful feature instead of the never used video facility though.
    That's a shame Keith.

    I have the video too though, AND I used it once - by accident

    More seriously, I have used movies on my earlier Fuji for two reasons (that actually probably boil down to one).

    If I had an interest in say, how the valve gear of a model steam loco worked, a video and step frame it on replay was most revealing - but that's not a serious photograhic use.

    Secondly, I was hoping for say, learning bird behaviour, if I kept missing the 'tells' of when a perched bird was about to leap into flight, a couple of videos to again see what they do just before take off (pre-flight checks ) might have me better prepared for the still shot. At least, that was the theory; but due to limited memory, I didn't know when to start the movie either

    Cheers,

  13. #13
    Moderator Dave Humphries's Avatar
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    Re: Time lapse photography

    Quote Originally Posted by Alis View Post
    And how many pictures you guys usually recommend for timelapse? 100 seems to be way too low for even a short video. Isn't it?
    Steaphany is better qualified to answer this with a more practical answer than I, but rule of thumb suggests you need to multiply the number of seconds you want the clip to run for, by around 24 or 30 (as in frames per second on replay to achieve smooth motion).

    So a 10 second run time clip would require 300 frames (at 30 fps).

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    Re: Time lapse photography

    Quote Originally Posted by Alis View Post
    And how many pictures you guys usually recommend for timelapse? 100 seems to be way too low for even a short video. Isn't it?
    That all depends on what your are trying to shoot. BTW, check if your timer can be decremented down from 1 when it starts up. The timer I have does that, starts out at 1, can go up to 399, but if you decrement it, 1 goes to -- implying "never stop until told to".

    In regard to sequence length, I have seen videos on the Timelapse Showcase Theatre where many individual time lapse sequence are edited together. My personal view is that many of these are too choppy, where as I was told that the two long sequences which comprise my "Nice Day" video should have been shorter. (People seem to miss that it was also a test/challenge to see how long a sequence I could shoot. )

    Regardless, it all up to you how you want to edit together your time lapse videos.

  15. #15
    Steaphany's Avatar
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    Re: Time lapse photography

    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Humphries View Post
    Steaphany is better qualified to answer this with a more practical answer than I, but rule of thumb suggests you need to multiply the number of seconds you want the clip to run for, by around 24 or 30 (as in frames per second on replay to achieve smooth motion).

    So a 10 second run time clip would require 300 frames (at 30 fps).
    Good answer Dave.

    Just keep in mind that if your intent is to distribute your video, you may want to compile your fames using a standard frame rate.

    Here is a listing of standard frame rates:

    • 23.976 Hz (film-looking frame rate compatible with NTSC clock speed standards)
      Often rounded to 24 Hz
    • 24 Hz (international film and ATSC high definition material)
    • 25 Hz (PAL, SECAM film, standard definition, and high definition material)
    • 29.97 Hz (NTSC standard definition material)
      Often rounded to 30 Hz
    • 50 Hz (PAL & SECAM high definition material))
    • 60 Hz (ATSC high definition material)


    In my time lapse films, I set the playback frame rate to 25. It's not a US standard, but for computer playback I didn't think it would be much of a problem and lower frame rates are a less of a burden to slow or limited resource computers.

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    Moderator Dave Humphries's Avatar
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    Re: Time lapse photography

    Thanks Steaphany,

    I did assume we/Alis were only thinking about playback on say Vimeo or YouTube (i.e. computer), so the last paragraph was the bit I was hoping for (I hadn't thought about the frame rate vs limited resources issue)

    You clearly know your stuff though, I haven't seem all those frame rates listed for a while! - not since I was learning TV production theory!

    Cheers,

  17. #17
    Alis's Avatar
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    Re: Time lapse photography

    Thanks, everyone, for the detailed replies. I was in bed when all of this happend so I am going to take my time and read them.

    Cheers,
    Alis

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    Re: Time lapse photography

    if you dont mind it a bit choppy, you can get away with 15, maybe even 10 fps depending on exactly how much movement you have between each frame. for not alot of movement, this frame rate can actually look quite smooth still.

    With regards to resources, im not sure that too much of an issue on most computers unless you deceide to render it in 4k or something huge like that. ive done mine at 1600x1200@10Mbps, and 1600x900@15Mbps, and my wifes laptop (intel T2080) seems to play them without much problem. An Eee might struggle, but they arnt really made for watching HD video anyway
    Last edited by wjh31; 26th September 2009 at 02:31 PM.

  19. #19
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    Re: Time lapse photography

    I just found this site and thought everyone following this thread would be interested:

    Time Lapse Crane

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    Re: Time lapse photography

    Quote Originally Posted by Steaphany View Post
    I just found this site and thought everyone following this thread would be interested:

    Time Lapse Crane
    Ive seen a few moving ones based on dollys, but nothing that has quite the range of motion that that seems to have. Unfortuantely i didnt even have a dolly for my clips.

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