Timelapses - TM700 vs D300..
Posted this on video co-pilot as well - I couldnt find a timelapse forum here so hopefully this one is ok... its not strictly DSLR..
Gday folks just got a few questions regarding timelapse if anyone here can help t'would be much appreciated...
I live in tropical Australia (Darwin NT) where we have great electrical storms every "wet season". I'm keen to do some timelapse videos of them this season.
I've played around with my Nikon D300 and an intervalometer with fairly good results but its a bit frustrating as the Nikons as known to create a bit of flicker because of slightly differently exposed frames (i think due to aperture variation and timing) - and the other frustration is that when the light changes (eg during a sunset) its hard to use manual settings and also suffers from 1/3 stop increments which is a bit sudden in an animation.
I've recently purchased a Panasonic TM700 handycam that apparrently can produce quality results if used right. It does have some pretty cool timelapse settings but from what I know its not really suitable for good quality smooth timelapses. For instance I think you need to have a shutterspeed of around half the image interval (eg 1/2 sec shutterspeed for 1 sec intervals) to get smooth timelapses without "jerkiness" - with appropriate motion blur. I even bought a very dark ND filter (8x I think) so I could take long exposures in daylight with my SLR for this reason. The other concern I have is that taking one frame a second (at either 1/24th or 1/50th I think on this handycam) means I might miss lightning bolts or at least only get bits of whilst pointing the cam at a decent storm cell.
So what I'm wondering is that is it feasible to film a storm at normal speed (eg my PAL TM700 does 1080/50p) and then speed that up smoothly during post production? And if so how best to do that in Premiere or After Effects? I know that they have features to speed up clips - but does this happen in a way where frames would be merged together to create nice motion blurs?
[Paul Thomsen] "Nikons as known to create a bit of flicker because of slightly differently exposed frames"
That is not a nikon issue, that is a generic time lapse issue. If set the camera on manual you get less but this only works if lighting is not dropping or rising greatly like at sunset or sunrise. For these I use Av and let the camera chase the exposure. I also set the camera at -2/3 Ev. I found that the Exposure Smoothing in the new AE CS5 does a great job is reducing this flicker. There are other filters out there also but don't have the names handy or experience with them. The great thing about using a DSLR for time lapse is you have a lot of image to work with to do pushes and pans. (http://vimeo.com/13323412 this was before I got CS5 so it has a little flicker).
The problem with filming at video rate is that you really have to speed it up a lot to make it look good. That would require a lot of time. Basically 1 hours gets you a good 30 secs (give or take) But the footage can be sped up nicely in just about anything. You may have to play with it and maybe add a filter to your liking. But you have a much better chance of getting the lighting.
Another suggestion is to use After Effects for editing the RAW files into a timelapse edit. No need for scaling or transcoding - you can import your RAW files as a sequence in AE leaving tons of latitude to play with in terms of Color Correction, adding VFX or doing digital zooms/pans.
Example here (opening sequence): . That is about 20-30 mins worth of pictures.
@Michael: thanks for the tip on Av and 2/3 interval stops during sunrise/sunset.
Richard van den Boogaard
cameraman / editor / video marketing consultant
Nikon flicker - sorry I should've been more clear. I'm aware of the flicker caused by using auto settings (eg don't use auto white balance etc) but the Nikons are actually known to be worse by timelapsers for flicker on full manual settings because of apparent variations in the aperture between shots - ie the aperture isn't always perfectly closed in time with the shutter apparently.
I have been able to fix this somewhat using a deflicker filter with virtualdub.
But yeah I am keen to try timelapses on my new handycam.
[Michael Sacci] "I found that the Exposure Smoothing in the new AE CS5 does a great job is reducing this flicker."
Can you elaborate on this feature in AE CS5? I wasn't able to find anything under Exposure Smoothing. I love time lapse, and I'm finally figuring out a good workflow from the D200 time lapse sequences to high quality web video though AE, but I still need to figure out the flicker issue. I have found that it doesn't happen as often if the aperture is set wide open. I was under the impression that the flicker comes from minute differences in the aperture iris opening from shot to shot.
I also generally go all manual and don't let the camera change exposure during the shot. I've never been happy with the results. The transitions always seem to be choppy...
On the DSLR vs handycam issue, I would go DSLR all the way. As Michael said, you have so much more image to work with and the exposure options and image quality is always going to be so much better with a DSLR. With all the extra image information, you can do some nice post processing on the images, if desired. Plus you have the lens options...