I have not figured out how to make a smooth time lapse yet.

Don’t watch this one if you are looking to learn something about time lapses with a DSLR. 🙂

30 comments

  • I am right where you are on this. I would consider buying a separate software for timelapse (at the moment I dont know of any) I will share my wisdom if I ever get any =)

  • Hey Dave, I have shot probably about a dozen timelapse shots on my 60D in the last month or so. So far Ive found after effects to be fantastic for it if you have the software (i know its spendy.) I have been shooting between 4-8 seconds apart with my intervolemeter and when I can I have been dragging the shutter close to a second when shooting people, it helps blur them to create a sense of motion when they are passing. Anyway, hopes this helps!

    Robert

  • and one more think,
    if something moving fast – take pictures every 1-2 sec, like your snow plowing,
    if something moving slow – shot every 3-4 sec it should be better,

  • Hi Dave,

    I understand your premiere rendering woes. I noticed you output most of your video to 720p. What you could do is drop your images into a 1080 timeline and render out a 1080 video file. You can then import the 1080 video file into a 720 timeline. This would give you resolution to pan and zoom and you wouldn’t have to continuously render.

    You are on the right track when you say you need to open up the shutter speed. This will blur your movement out thus creating a smoother look.

    Check out my time lapse test

  • In case you don’t know this (you probably do), for silky smooth time lapse, shutter speed needs to be half of time interval. So, if you are taking a picture every 2 seconds, then you need a one second shutter speed.

    This makes since when you consider that you use 1/50 sec shutter speed for 24p and 1/125 for 60.

  • @ Anthony Great Link! Defiantly some good tips there I havent tried.
    @Dave Thanks for this site Dave! I feel your pain on this one myself!

  • @Dave, you can nest a sequence within another sequence in premiere pro to pan and zoom your timeplase. So you lay out the pictures in one sequence and you put that sequence inside another sequence so that it treats the whole thing as a single file. Then you can pan and zoom or apply effects to it however you want. if the video is choppy during playback (depending on your computer specs), click the venn diagram icon in the video window and you can change your playback resolution so that it’s 1/2 or 1/4 resolution during playback. Hope this helps

  • @Andy great idea with the nested clips I will try that.

    @torsten thanks for the link, looks like great stuff.

    @Anthony thanks for the video link that was a good one.

    @Josh ” shutter speed needs to be half of time interval. ” is that a rule of thumb that most people use?

  • Dave: timely as I just created my first timelapse in months yesterday: http://www.flickr.com/photos/martintaylor/5470073587/

    I use a compact, Canon camera (G9) with the chdk hack applied ( http://chdk.wikia.com/wiki/CHDK ). This allows you to right scripts within the camera (eg. take one shot every 15 seconds, for 4 hours, fix the the focus after the 1st shot, turn off LCD after the 5th shot, etc.)

    I then take those images and import them as an image sequence in Quicktime Pro and then save that as self-contained movie file at the original size (it’s massive -way bigger than 1080).

    I then import the movie QT created into Vegas Studio (because I’m a cheapskate) and apply camera movements for the zoom out of a pan etc., add music and titles and render out from there my 1080p file.

    It’s not nearly as professional as Mr Bloom but it works and my shooting rig fits in my pocket.
    Hope this is useful – Martin

  • thanx dave

    check this side http://timescapes.org .his videos videos are awesame.
    he knows how timelapse works and the forum will helps you to.

    the link i gave you before is all you need to start.
    the rest is practising.

    greetings

  • Dave, I’ve not tried it yet but I’ve used Virtualdub before with the de-shakler add-in. That’s not for the time lapse flicker but there is another add-in called something like MSU de-flicker. I’ve seen other time lapse vids that used this and it seems to work OK. Takes some experimenting to make it work. Best of all it’s free! Try a You Tube search for examples. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1VV1jNpWqeU

  • “is that a rule of thumb that most people use?”

    It is a rule of thumb I use anyway 🙂 I shouldn’t of said “needs”, as it is a bit objective, but it does prove to be a very good rule of thumb. I wish I could give the credit to who I learned this from, but it escapes me.

    I have also learned to stack two circular polarized filters, you can then rotate one creating as dark of a ND filter that you want. This way you can “drag the shutter” as “needed”.

  • I second torsten’s recommendation to look at timescapes.org. Tom Lowe’s work is very high end indeed. Or just search for “timescapes” on Vimeo. I believe Tom has a theatrical release coming out this year.

    I have to say I think for time lapses with people moving around, a 1-second exposure may be too long. To my eye, it’s so blurry that it’s as distracting as the jerkyness you get when the exposure is too short. Well of course it depends on how fast things are moving in the scene, and how far away they are, but for the stuff I’ve done, I think something in the 1/5 to 1/10 second range can work most of the time. But you just have to experiment.

    Well, here’s another great time lapse video – Sydney Harbour on New Year’s Eve. Alas, not mine. Stuff like this is so good it’s almost depressing.

  • Hi Dave,
    I dig the site. One thing to consider before shooting your time lapse is what setting your camera is in. A lot of people suggest Av mode, which works well, but the down side is that it automatically changes shutter speed to properly expose the photo. In order to get smooth time lapse, you need to slow down that shutter, and lock it in place. I’ve had good luck in Tv mode. In Tv mode, you have to focus your lens to infinity and avoid objects in the foreground. Check out this posting for video examples and a better explanation:

    http://freyguyproductions.blogspot.com/2011/01/more-time-lapse-tests.html

    Good luck, I hope this helps. I still get frustrated with time lapses.

  • Hi Dave, In my experience, any time you are doing a time lapse that involves people moving, you need to set your shot interval to 1 shot per second and your fps for the rendering of the video to 24 or 25 fps – so 24 shots for every second of rendered video. Once you have the rendered video ( I render the sequence using Apple’s Quicktime Pro), you can edit/color-correct in the editor of your choice, but DO NOT modify the speed of the video in your video editing software, which is what will give you that ghosting effect in your time lapse (unless you want that effect). You will never get a smooth-looking time lapse sequence with anything that moves faster than a slow human walk. Time lapses are best for speeding up VERY slow-moving action, such as opening flowers, snails crawling, cloud movement, changes in sky color (sunrise/sunset), large construction equipment (cranes, bulldozers, diggers), large boats or ships. You can check out two different time lapses in the video I made of Philip Bloom’s meet-up in Sydney Australia – it has some human movement (1 shot per sec), smaller ferries moving in and out of the ferry terminal and a large ocean liner leaving the dock (1 shot per 3 sec), both rendered at 24fps in Quicktime Pro… For the ghosting effect, see my Lawn Chores time lapse, shot at 1 shot per 2 secs and then slowed to 70% in Vegas. BTW, thanks for all your help – I’m learning as I go as well…

  • one last thing

    the software about avoiding flickering is explained in videotutorial
    see

    and the software is for free.

  • no thanks for that dave, as we say in germany.
    you are doing a great job with your blog.
    i like it very much…
    and we share the same thoughts about the theme dslr-development.
    really love to find out all about it.

    greetings

  • To setup the shot, remember that you are doing photography so the shutter speed can be increased as long as the number of shots per minute is increased. Import to Premiere and make all the adjustments you need (1 picture per frame, smoothing, etc). Export. I know you want to see the product, but if the white balance, shutter speed, aperture, and shots per minute are solid, creating the video and then taking that video section back into your editing software will be fine.

    Essentially, time lapse has to be looked at as photography first. If the shots are setup right, there is no need for post editing in Premiere or Final Cut.

    It took me a lot of practice, and I am no expert. I have just been doing the time lapse thing over the last few months for a video intro for a project.

    Good luck….

    PS: I really like the video quality of your blog. Very pro!

  • Dave, doesn’t Magic Lantern have a timelapse/video mode? I’m curious to see how that would look vs a still shot method.

  • Hi there,

    Just found your website. I like it. Some great info and I love your humble and sharing presentation – cool 🙂

    Not sure if you’re still having problems with stop-motion ‘choppiness’. Stop-motion will pretty much always have that look, however, simply because of the process of sticking together images that are so disparate in time.

    If you are using After Effects though, a fantastic way to reduce it is to use the ReelSmart Motion Blur plug-in. I do a lot of vfx, rotoscoping and a little 3D in my films and this plug-in is absolutely essential. Adds that missing sense of realism to artificially-generated elements.

    I don’t know how it works (technically) but it analyzes your footage and adds super-realistic motion blur to anything that is moving. Of course, you can adjust the level of blur to your liking. Just make sure to put your video all in one Comp first, and then apply the effect.

    Hope that might help.

    Cheers,

    ALEX

    PS – By the way, I’m not affiliated with ReelSmart in any way. I just love their plugin and use it ALL the time for video people would never guess had any post work done to it ie. the best kind of vfx 🙂

  • Dave,
    Not sure if you already know this, but I would get some ND Filters, toss em on your lens and be able to get that long shutter that will give you a nice motion blur and get flickering down to next to nothing.