Nikon D800 Night Time Lapse Tutorial

Testing low light perfomance with D800 and 5D3.


I got the Nikon D800 and the Canon 5D Mark III in for review. To play around with the low light performance I thought I would have fun do to a time lapse with the D800, and shoot the garage scenes with the Canon 5D Mark III.

I set the D800 on a tripod in the backseat of our mini van and use shock cords to tie it down.

I used an ISO 100, 3.2 f-stop and .4 second shutter speed and I focused way out in front of the car.

Going in to the menu system on the Nikon I went to the ‘Shooting Menu’ -> ‘Interval Timer Shooting’.

I then picked one second between shots for my interval. The manual shows 1 minute, but I put a 0 there.

I then went to ‘start’ on and pressed the OK button.

Before I started driving I wanted to see if the buffer in the camera could handle it on RAW, but after 10 exposures the camera slowed to a halt and couldn’t handle the over 70meg files I was sending its way. So I used the smallest jpg size and since that was still bigger in resolution to the 1080p video I was still in good shape.

Many ways to do this but one of my favorite is to use After Effects to process the images. Since I couldn’t shoot RAW I decided to skip the step of bring them in to Lightroom first.

After Effects Procedure

  • Open After Effects, and double click on the upper left pane on Project Tab.
  • Find the time lapse folder and select the first image the JPEG sequence should be checked already, click Open
  • Right click on the new sequence -> Interpret Footage -> Main check for 24fps
  • Change from 8bpc to 32bpc
  • Drag sequence on the new composition icon below it (3rd from left)
  • Composition -> Composition Settings -> Preset select the “HDTV 1080 24”
  • Zoom out from 50 to Fit
  • Twirl down composition settings and change scale from 100% to 37% (or 52.5%)
  • Change your position as you see fit
  • Composition -> Add to Render Queue
  • Click on the h.264 CHANGE to AVI and then uncheck audio
  • Click on the file name to the right and pick the folder and rename it
  • Click the render button (far right side)

Thank Alan Morris for not only the inspiration to do this video but his help in getting the right settings.

Nikon D800 Time Lapse Tutorial

Thanks to Denkitribe with his song “Gain” for allowing me to use it here.

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Products Used In This Video

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5D Mark3

5D Mark III

Canon 5D Mark III – opening scene in garage.

Nikon D800


Nikon D800 – Time lapse during night drive