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Author Topic: How to shoot static timelapses  (Read 4982 times)

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Uncle Pete

  • Great Place by a Great Lake - My Home Port
« Reply #25 on: March 18, 2018, 08:37 »
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The reasoning for using Aperture Priority is the depth of field doesn't change over time, when the light source changes. Shooting manual, you would still need to keep the Aperture the same and change either ISO or shutter speed. In a situation where the light is fairly consistent, that's not necessary, but for a Sunrise/Sunset or changing light conditions, you don't want the background or foreground to be changing, in and out of focus.

I like the ND idea and I'll try that. Slower shutter should make the motion blur more interesting. Frame blending also would help.

But after all, it depends one what the subject is, close or wide, lighting control.


« Reply #26 on: March 18, 2018, 09:06 »
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The reasoning for using Aperture Priority is the depth of field doesn't change over time, when the light source changes. Shooting manual, you would still need to keep the Aperture the same and change either ISO or shutter speed. In a situation where the light is fairly consistent, that's not necessary, but for a Sunrise/Sunset or changing light conditions, you don't want the background or foreground to be changing, in and out of focus.

I like the ND idea and I'll try that. Slower shutter should make the motion blur more interesting. Frame blending also would help.

But after all, it depends one what the subject is, close or wide, lighting control.


Most time lapses are shot on manual with a fixed aperture, so the DOF also does not change over time. If you are needing to ramp then yes you need either a ramping unit that changes exposure over time, mostly ISO and shutter speed or to do it yourself.  If you're going to ramp yourself you can use DQSLR Dashboard. There are automated features but you still need to monitor it and make some tweaks here and there.  Or if you have the patience you can do it all yourself. But I use aperture priority for exposure, not for changing DOF.  All my stuff is set to manual (focus, aperture, sometimes ISO). Nothing changes over time except for what I tell the camera to change.

« Reply #27 on: March 18, 2018, 10:40 »
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I agree with Increasingdifficulty: minor tweaks while importing Raw files and all the other image work in After Effects.
Flicker issues should be resolved before you start shooting, not in post production.

ND filters are a must in day time timelapsing for getting rid of birds in the sky, moving foliage by wind, flickering of water in ponds and rivers.
Normal focal length lenses get ND filter (400x) in front of the lens, (super) wide angle lenses behind the lens as a cut out Wratten ND filter (some lenses are designed for this).

I have done some one week long timelapses though with automatic exposure on Nikon D300 camera's and there wasn't any flickering in the JPEGs footage, going from night to day twice a day. But there was a lot of activity in this footage: downtown city with human activity. Static nature twilight footage is more difficult.

« Reply #28 on: March 20, 2018, 14:07 »
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I agree with Increasingdifficulty: minor tweaks while importing Raw files and all the other image work in After Effects.
Flicker issues should be resolved before you start shooting, not in post production.

ND filters are a must in day time timelapsing for getting rid of birds in the sky, moving foliage by wind, flickering of water in ponds and rivers.
Normal focal length lenses get ND filter (400x) in front of the lens, (super) wide angle lenses behind the lens as a cut out Wratten ND filter (some lenses are designed for this).

I have done some one week long timelapses though with automatic exposure on Nikon D300 camera's and there wasn't any flickering in the JPEGs footage, going from night to day twice a day. But there was a lot of activity in this footage: downtown city with human activity. Static nature twilight footage is more difficult.
Regarding flicker, I used to have no problems at all, as I was shooting with a Panny GH4 and Nikkor lenses with a Metabone adapter.
On the other hand the camera (great for video), was very basic in timelapses, with low resolution and very, very poor ISO performance.
Now I am shooting 8K timelapses with the Nikon d850 and the timelapse quality is in a parallel universe. I have practically 8-9 stops of ISO available, incredible capacity of recovering very underexposed images, and zillions of pixels.
The downside is that now I get some flicker. At the moment I am heavily testing LRTimelapse 5 and the new multipasses deflicker so far seems to work very well

« Reply #29 on: March 20, 2018, 16:20 »
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Yeah, my Nikon D7000 gives me flickering (underexposed) timelapses sometimes too while I have everything on manual.
I suspect it might happen at the point where the analogue sensor signal is translated to a digital signal. Looks like the separate RGB signals get clipped unequally to black each time the camera records a RAW frame.
D850 must be heaven to shoot with though and 8K is a good investment for future timelapse sales!
« Last Edit: March 20, 2018, 21:20 by seamless »

« Reply #30 on: March 20, 2018, 16:53 »
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I have practically 8-9 stops of ISO available, incredible capacity of recovering very underexposed images, and zillions of pixels.

That seems really nice.  ;D But it must take weeks to process a timelapse with 45.7mp RAW images, especially if you need to deflicker in LRTimelapse? Unless you have an extremely fast setup. And only 2-5 timelapses per memory card?

I've used the GH4 a lot too, and a Canon 5D mk III, and it's true that the difference in quality when you do full-frame timelapses is enormous! But the GH4 still is a beast when it comes to 4k video. Too bad Canon hasn't caught up there yet, after quite a few years...
« Last Edit: March 20, 2018, 16:57 by increasingdifficulty »

« Reply #31 on: March 20, 2018, 21:29 »
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My 5K night sky timelapses already take a lot of disk space.
Raw --> 16bit TIFF sequence --> denoise (Noise Ninja) --> new TIFF sequence --> After Effects --> several ProRes444 sequences.

Really hard to make it worthwhile from a budget point of view. 8K camera's and 4K TV's are way too cheap these days ...

« Reply #32 on: March 21, 2018, 01:00 »
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I go directly from RAW to ProRes 4444 or 422 (HQ), and then color grade and denoise (Neat Video) in After Effects if I need to.

I did work with image sequences before but it's just way too time consuming and, as you say, takes up so much space.  :D

---

I'm still looking for the perfect allround beast of a camera. I want 4k 60p, 20+ mp, flip-out screen and ideally a bigger sensor than the GH5. The Canon 1DX mk II comes close, but i guess Sony might be the most likely candidate if they can do 4k 60p and create an A7s with more resolution. I would gladly sacrifice some ISO performance if they could raise the 12mp (which is not enough for timelapse) to 20. Also looking at Nikon, but yet to see 4k 60p, which in my opinion would be extremely valuable, especially now that the GH5 exists.

Canon could have made the perfect beast with the 6D mk II, but the people in charge chose not to put in 4k. Quite unbelievable!  :o No technical difficulties, just someone making a decision... A very bad decision.
« Last Edit: March 21, 2018, 01:09 by increasingdifficulty »

« Reply #33 on: March 21, 2018, 10:50 »
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Sure, you can get beautiful results with LRTimelapse, and in theory, retain more of the original quality since you're editing/grading at RAW level. But in practice, it's not that convenient and too slow for me. Not to mention the inconvenience of going back to change something...

I like to make a high quality movie file that is more like what comes out of a professional film camera, and grade it like you grade film. That way I can color grade and change colors very quickly a year later, or make different versions for different situations.

It would be way too time consuming to have to go back and do it at the RAW image level every time.

Truth.  I find myself going to Final Cut pro later to do any color grading I can get away with because it is a pain to reconnect LR and LRT and go through that entire process.  Most of the changes I make are minimal enough that FCPX does fine.  But your point about the workflow is spot on.  I still like LRT especially when I drop in XMP files from the VIEW or Ramper on day to night holy grail. 

Brighonti, I use aperture priority in sunsets with a simple method to capture good daylight and then get a little longer shooting into the night that you cannot get with manual exposure.  Set camera to 800 ISO (can get tricky if daytime is too bright, sometimes 400 does very well when you have city lights...depends on what you are shooting really), 2.8 aperture with camera on aperture priority. You will be surprised at how smooth these are in post. I also sometimes use aperture priority when the light changes a lot, like with variable clouds.  But to your point I do shoot manual in 75% of the cases.  With holy grail I shoot exclusively manual. Also, in LRT you cannot use the holy grail tools with aperture files.
Yes, there are deveral ways to skin a cat. I suppose it also depends on the camera used.
For a bit more than a year I had used the Panny GH4 and there was no way of using any ISO other than the native 200. So I was sometime ramping the speed, while keeping everything else the same. But this method has serious downsides with many subjects, because motion blur increases.
Now with the Nikon D850 I can certainly ramp the ISO and this is probably going to be my preferred way

« Reply #34 on: March 21, 2018, 11:39 »
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Now with the Nikon D850 I can certainly ramp the ISO and this is probably going to be my preferred way

Interesting, but doesn't ISO ramping cause "jumps" rather than flicker, since the colors change when you change ISO (gradually desaturates etc.)? I think that increasing shutter speeds (and increasing motion blur) can be a rather nice effect, but I guess it's not always ideal.

No way will be 100% perfect of course (except maybe ND filters) but it's nice to have options.
« Last Edit: March 21, 2018, 12:07 by increasingdifficulty »

Uncle Pete

  • Great Place by a Great Lake - My Home Port
« Reply #35 on: March 21, 2018, 11:58 »
0
Yes, I should have mentioned, most of the time I'm shooting unattended or not changing settings when there's a shot every 5 seconds while I sip a beer and have a sandwich. Or at the least while I'm shooting something else, off on a walk. Sunsets/Sunrise/lighting that changes needs to be watched and adjusted carefully, very difficult, I agree.

Night timelapse is 100% manual.

I really don't think there are wrong answers if someone gets the results they want.

« Reply #36 on: March 21, 2018, 19:47 »
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Now with the Nikon D850 I can certainly ramp the ISO and this is probably going to be my preferred way

Interesting, but doesn't ISO ramping cause "jumps" rather than flicker, since the colors change when you change ISO (gradually desaturates etc.)? I think that increasing shutter speeds (and increasing motion blur) can be a rather nice effect, but I guess it's not always ideal.

No way will be 100% perfect of course (except maybe ND filters) but it's nice to have options.

Yes. You can really never get a smooth ramp using iso ramping, but with some devices like the VIEW or RAMPER PRO they create smoothing XMP files that you are supposed to dump into the directory with your raw files.  You do get much smoother output and that is further improved by the deflicker feature in LRT. Like Uncle Pete says, it is a lot more work to monitor and adjust when you are doing dramatic light changing scenes (day to night) as I'm sure you already know. But yes, you do get obvious jumps and when that is combined with flicker from the aperture if you are not using a manual lens you have to be careful in post. 

« Reply #37 on: March 22, 2018, 03:03 »
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Yes. You can really never get a smooth ramp using iso ramping, but with some devices like the VIEW or RAMPER PRO they create smoothing XMP files that you are supposed to dump into the directory with your raw files.

Sorry, let me clarify. I didn't mean the exposure jumps, I use Magic Lantern myself with interpolated XMP sidecar files, but only usually ramp ISO from about 100-800 or so if I have to (on a full-frame camera).

What I meant was when you have to use BIG changes in ISO, say from 100 to 12,800 (or 25,600), since you don't change the shutter speed, you would get a very obvious change in the saturation, colors, and overall image quality (even if the noise stays low) at the same exposure/brightness level, even on a high-end full-frame sensor. Maybe this change is not very big in the D850?
« Last Edit: March 22, 2018, 06:36 by increasingdifficulty »

« Reply #38 on: March 22, 2018, 05:28 »
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Yes. You can really never get a smooth ramp using iso ramping, but with some devices like the VIEW or RAMPER PRO they create smoothing XMP files that you are supposed to dump into the directory with your raw files.

Sorry, let me clarify. I didn't mean the exposure jumps, I use Magic Lantern myself with interpolated XMP sidercar files, but only usually ramp ISO from about 100-800 or so if I have to (on a full-frame camera).

What I meant was when you have to use BIG changes in ISO, say from 100 to 12,800 (or 25,600), since you don't change the shutter speed, you would get a very obvious change in the saturation, colors, and overall image quality (even if the noise stays low) at the same exposure/brightness level, even on a high-end full-frame sensor. Maybe this change is not very big in the D850?
Well, such a big change in ISO would give some artifacts, even on the D850.
In my short experience with the D850, I have so far the impression that if I start from ISO 32 and ramp up to 800 I don't see any changes in image quality, even pixel peeping. Probably I could push it to 1600, but don't need it.
This is 5 stops and for me even in transition to night they are more than enough. Another thing to keep in mind with the D850 is the incredible ability to recover shadows without introducing noise, so if I end up the timelapse a bit underexposed I still have huge latitude in post

« Reply #39 on: March 22, 2018, 08:16 »
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Well, such a big change in ISO would give some artifacts, even on the D850.
In my short experience with the D850, I have so far the impression that if I start from ISO 32 and ramp up to 800 I don't see any changes in image quality, even pixel peeping. Probably I could push it to 1600, but don't need it.
This is 5 stops and for me even in transition to night they are more than enough. Another thing to keep in mind with the D850 is the incredible ability to recover shadows without introducing noise, so if I end up the timelapse a bit underexposed I still have huge latitude in post

I see, I suppose it's enough for many cases unless you start with the sun in the frame. I have done a few cityscapes where you first see the sun go down and then it goes to night. That requires BIG changes in exposure.

Anyway, when you recover the shadows (by a lot) on the D850, do you notice any magenta/green flicker? I have seen this with most cameras I've tried. You can't see it unless you bring up the shadows, and of course only a real issue in time lapses, not single images.
« Last Edit: March 22, 2018, 11:11 by increasingdifficulty »

« Reply #40 on: March 24, 2018, 06:19 »
+1
Well, such a big change in ISO would give some artifacts, even on the D850.
In my short experience with the D850, I have so far the impression that if I start from ISO 32 and ramp up to 800 I don't see any changes in image quality, even pixel peeping. Probably I could push it to 1600, but don't need it.
This is 5 stops and for me even in transition to night they are more than enough. Another thing to keep in mind with the D850 is the incredible ability to recover shadows without introducing noise, so if I end up the timelapse a bit underexposed I still have huge latitude in post

I see, I suppose it's enough for many cases unless you start with the sun in the frame. I have done a few cityscapes where you first see the sun go down and then it goes to night. That requires BIG changes in exposure.

Anyway, when you recover the shadows (by a lot) on the D850, do you notice any magenta/green flicker? I have seen this with most cameras I've tried. You can't see it unless you bring up the shadows, and of course only a real issue in time lapses, not single images.
Yes, the sun on the frame requires a wider adjustment.
I am still at an early stage in my tests, but I will keep you posted and will soon publish a video with some 8k timelapses using LRTimelapse (weather allowing...).
So far I haven't notice any magenta green flicker, only a slight tendency towards a magenta cast in the shadow, but it is easily fixed with the Camera Calibration panel

« Reply #41 on: March 27, 2018, 04:37 »
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So far I haven't notice any magenta green flicker, only a slight tendency towards a magenta cast in the shadow, but it is easily fixed with the Camera Calibration panel

If you have a tool called exiftool (great tool to check or change any metadata that you can't see in Lightroom, including video metadata), you can check the black levels of the RAW images per channel. For example, on the GH4 they are supposed to be 128, but in a time lapse, some of the images would have one channel at 127, which would result in a slight color shift in the shadows.

On the Canon 5D mk III, they should be 2048, but they differ on that camera as well (some go to 2047), resulting in small color shifts in the shadows, noticeable if you bring up the shadows a lot in a time lapse. Luckily, you can batch change the black level values with exiftool so that they are all the same, which is what I do as part of my workflow on all my time lapses now, even if I don't need to bring up the shadows.

I don't know what they are supposed to be on the D850, but if you check a bunch of them, you should be able to see if they stay the same or not.
« Last Edit: March 27, 2018, 04:46 by increasingdifficulty »

« Reply #42 on: March 27, 2018, 04:55 »
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OK, I found what the black levels are supposed to be on the D850: 400 on each channel.

I only found a few test RAW files, and they were all at 400, but not enough of a sample to really tell if they always are.

The thing is that it's not an easy fix in the camera calibration panel, since the changes are completely random and you have to go through the images one by one... Takes a lot of time in a big time lapse.

Anyway, hopefully this isn't the case with the D850. Seems like it produces incredible RAW files.
« Last Edit: March 27, 2018, 05:03 by increasingdifficulty »

« Reply #43 on: March 28, 2018, 05:00 »
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OK, I found what the black levels are supposed to be on the D850: 400 on each channel.

I only found a few test RAW files, and they were all at 400, but not enough of a sample to really tell if they always are.

The thing is that it's not an easy fix in the camera calibration panel, since the changes are completely random and you have to go through the images one by one... Takes a lot of time in a big time lapse.

Anyway, hopefully this isn't the case with the D850. Seems like it produces incredible RAW files.
Interesting, I will keep an eye out for the black levels, but so far the tests are going very well and the dark area look stable.
The ability of recovering the shadows is quite amazing in the D850 and I am also quite impressed by the new version of LRTimelapse

« Reply #44 on: March 28, 2018, 10:16 »
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By the way, how do you go about previewing all those huge files from the camera? Load them all into Lightroom and wait for the previews? Shoot RAW + jpg?

If you haven't tried it already, I can really recommend a small little tool called ERawP, which extracts all embedded jpg preview files that hide inside every RAW file.

I don't shoot RAW + jpg, I just drop the RAW files into ErawP, and boom, within a few seconds it extracts all the embedded jpg previews so I can quickly look through all the images without having to open any applications at all.

It has probably saved me a couple of work weeks.  :)

« Reply #45 on: March 28, 2018, 18:25 »
+1
This is all very interesting information "increasingdifficulty"! Thank you!
For me most of my time goes into rotoscoping out airplane trails, satellites and meteors from night timelapses, so worrying about varying black levels is the last thing I'm waiting for.

But it happens with newer models camera's, might perhaps have to do something with the extended ISO sensivity.

By the way, since my first Nikon D1H I know that I should only use multiple ISO sensitivities. Like 200 - 400 - 800 - 1600 etc.

For inbetween sensitivities 250, 320, 500, 640 etc. a second amplifier is used that introduces extra noise, meaning that 500 or 640 ISO has more noise than 800 ISO.

Don't know if this also applies to latest generations of camera's but it is a rule of thumb I still use.


« Reply #46 on: March 29, 2018, 00:38 »
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This is all very interesting information "increasingdifficulty"! Thank you!
For me most of my time goes into rotoscoping out airplane trails, satellites and meteors from night timelapses, so worrying about varying black levels is the last thing I'm waiting for.

That's a lot of work.  ;)

I keep most of my star time lapses as they are for now, including satellites. The thing that bothers me the most is blurring faces in busy time lapses (even with long exposures, because at tourist destinations, people stand very still a lot apparently)... Applying a bottom "blur fog" works most of the time, but it's the lazy way and eats up much of the scene...

But it happens with newer models camera's, might perhaps have to do something with the extended ISO sensivity.

By the way, since my first Nikon D1H I know that I should only use multiple ISO sensitivities. Like 200 - 400 - 800 - 1600 etc.

For inbetween sensitivities 250, 320, 500, 640 etc. a second amplifier is used that introduces extra noise, meaning that 500 or 640 ISO has more noise than 800 ISO.

Don't know if this also applies to latest generations of camera's but it is a rule of thumb I still use.

Good points about the noise, but from what I've seen, ISO is not related to the black level issue. Even at 100 or 200 it happens.

« Reply #47 on: March 30, 2018, 05:05 »
0
By the way, how do you go about previewing all those huge files from the camera? Load them all into Lightroom and wait for the previews? Shoot RAW + jpg?

If you haven't tried it already, I can really recommend a small little tool called ERawP, which extracts all embedded jpg preview files that hide inside every RAW file.

I don't shoot RAW + jpg, I just drop the RAW files into ErawP, and boom, within a few seconds it extracts all the embedded jpg previews so I can quickly look through all the images without having to open any applications at all.

It has probably saved me a couple of work weeks.  :)
To preview the 8k file I am using more end more the preview in LRTimelpse, very fast.
The main thing I need to check is if I need stabiliser, in which case I have to go through AE.
If I can avoid going to AE, I do everything in LRT (including encoding) and the process is a breeze, very fast.
If I need to go to AE, the computer get grilled , it takes forever and often the PC crashes

« Reply #48 on: March 30, 2018, 08:11 »
0
By the way, how do you go about previewing all those huge files from the camera? Load them all into Lightroom and wait for the previews? Shoot RAW + jpg?

If you haven't tried it already, I can really recommend a small little tool called ERawP, which extracts all embedded jpg preview files that hide inside every RAW file.

I don't shoot RAW + jpg, I just drop the RAW files into ErawP, and boom, within a few seconds it extracts all the embedded jpg previews so I can quickly look through all the images without having to open any applications at all.

It has probably saved me a couple of work weeks.  :)
To preview the 8k file I am using more end more the preview in LRTimelpse, very fast.
The main thing I need to check is if I need stabiliser, in which case I have to go through AE.
If I can avoid going to AE, I do everything in LRT (including encoding) and the process is a breeze, very fast.
If I need to go to AE, the computer get grilled , it takes forever and often the PC crashes

Fast for the original. Once you use Visual Workflow then not so fast if you want to see anything corrected from Lightroom.  I think Gunther has a huge opportunity to do a better job in that area.  You have to wait for all those DNG previews in order to use Deficker.  That's not productive. But you are correct for a quick raw preview. 

« Reply #49 on: March 30, 2018, 08:48 »
0
By the way, how do you go about previewing all those huge files from the camera? Load them all into Lightroom and wait for the previews? Shoot RAW + jpg?

If you haven't tried it already, I can really recommend a small little tool called ERawP, which extracts all embedded jpg preview files that hide inside every RAW file.

I don't shoot RAW + jpg, I just drop the RAW files into ErawP, and boom, within a few seconds it extracts all the embedded jpg previews so I can quickly look through all the images without having to open any applications at all.

It has probably saved me a couple of work weeks.  :)
To preview the 8k file I am using more end more the preview in LRTimelpse, very fast.
The main thing I need to check is if I need stabiliser, in which case I have to go through AE.
If I can avoid going to AE, I do everything in LRT (including encoding) and the process is a breeze, very fast.
If I need to go to AE, the computer get grilled , it takes forever and often the PC crashes

Fast for the original. Once you use Visual Workflow then not so fast if you want to see anything corrected from Lightroom.  I think Gunther has a huge opportunity to do a better job in that area.  You have to wait for all those DNG previews in order to use Deficker.  That's not productive. But you are correct for a quick raw preview.
Hi Mantis,
are you talking about the new version 5?
I consider the rendered preview in LRT5 for 8k files really fast compared to After Effects, where they are incredibly slow to load and can even crash my computer


 

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