12 February 2017

George Wyth Timelapse

I decided to go to George Wyth State Park on Friday to try shooting a timelapse.  I wasn't expecting much in the way of a sunset beacause it had been overcast for the last several hours.  But I knew the Iowa skies often clear in the evenings.  As I set up my camera 20 minutes before sunset, I could tell the sun was going to peak beneath the clouds.  I aimed the camera at the setting sun, set the intervalometer, and waited.  Then I got to sit back and enjoy a beautiful sunset.  The clouds blew away right after the sun dropped below the horizon, and were illuminated with a soft pink light.

This was shot using my Canon 5DS and 16-35mm F/4L IS.  The camera was set with fixed ISO and shutter speed, but variable aperture.  It was processed with LRTimelapse, Adobe Lightroom, and converted to video using Adobe Premier.  Processing took me several hours.  My powerful desktop takes almost 2 hours to process and export the 372 frames that make up the video.  This is available in 4k resolution.

For my 3rd timelapse attempt, I am quite pleased.  I've identified a few more areas of improvement:
- I wish I had done 5s exposures instead of 10s exposures.  That would double the length of the finished clip.
- I had some dust on my sensor.  This is a trivial fix for 1 image, but quite a chore to remove from 372 images.
- I used variable aperture exposure control.  The aperture values (calculated by the camera based on the ambient light) ranged from F/4 (wide open) to F/22 (minimum aperture).  I think I could do a better job controlling the exposure by hand.  I need to explore other options to control the camera during timelapse sequences.

09 February 2017

Second Try Timelapse

I did another timelapse tonight using what I learned last time:
- I turned IS off, which is the biggest improvement in this video vs the last one.
- I used my 100mm lens instead of my 70-300mm because it is smaller and less susceptible to wind.  It is also significantly lighter, which reduces vibrations in the tripod.
- I framed the scene with a 16:9 aspect ratio in mind.
- I shot in full RAW, which allows Lightroom to remove stuck pixels.
- I used Premier Pro to generate the video sequence.

I think you'll agree this video is better than my last attempt.  I'm only focusing on the technical aspects of timelapse photography.  There are still some more things I can do to improve these basic, fixed exposure shots:
- Set up the tripod on a more sturdy surface than my wooden deck.  I suspect the shaking in this video is from me walking around.
- Don't use YouTube next time.  The quality is aweful.  I'll probably use Vimeo like every other photographer.

08 February 2017

Experimenting with Timelapse

I decided to dip my toe into timelapse photography.  This should give me something to do around Iowa, since we often have amazing sunsets but otherwise there isn't much in the way of landscape to photograph. This was shot off my back deck a few days ago.  I learned several lessons after my first attempt:

- Turn IS off.  Most of the image jumping around is due to IS being on.  The rest of it is due to wind.
- I need better camera stability if it is windy.  90% of the shots used to make this were tack-sharp.  The 10% that aren't sharp are noticeable in the final product.
- Don't try to align 600+ images in Photoshop. It takes hours and doesn't end up working anyway.
- Don't frame the scene to tightly.  I framed the scene like I was taking a still image in 3:2 aspect ratio.  Videos are 16:9.
- Don't use SRAW or MRAW image capture in the camera. I used SRAW because 12 MP is more than enough to make HD videos, and I figured I would save space on my memory card and hard drive.  However, Adobe Camera RAW (or any other RAW image processor) can't remove stuck pixels when de-mosaicing happens in-camera.  There is a stuck pixel in this video that would be difficult to remove in post processing.
- I need to learn to use some better timelapse software.
- I should upgrade to 32 gb of RAM for my computer.  Loading and processing hundreds of images at once eats up RAM.

My first attempt was successful because of what I learned.  I will try another timelapse once it warms up a bit and isn't constantly overcast.