Friday, January 14, 2011

DIY Timelapse, Round 2

Here are a couple quick tricks on how to avoid flicker in your timelapses. I did this trick for some timelapses and it worked great, and I did not do it for others because I did not know about the tricks and flicker occurred.

Trick 1. Set your f-stop to whatever you want. Then push your depth of field preview button (button near your lens mount). While keeping the button pressed, release your lens and twist it very slightly (not much), so the pins in the camera lift off the lens connectors inside. But NOT TOO MUCH, otherwise your lens may fall off. For a Canon camera when you do this you know it works when your f-stop reads 00. If you did it wrong or did not twist enough you will get a “Lens error message”. Don’t worry, this is okay; you probably have to just twist it a little more. For the Canon 5D and 7D, I find just a tiny twist does the trick.

Trick 2. If you do not do the lens twist trick, then having your f-stop fully open will work as well. So if you have a f2.8 lens, have your f-stop at 2.8. The disadvantage to this is you have to keep your lens fully open, so it limits you from using your full f-stop range.

0:03 - Opening shot of the tree. Adam S. and I light up the tree with a flash. Only thing is that I guess when a flash fires off each time it is not super exact on the output, hence the flicker we get on the tree. Regardless, I’m really stoked how it came out. Done at Malibu Creek State Park.

0:24 – The shot of downtown LA with the clouds was a hard one to get. Adam S. and I totally climbed up a vine to put us on top of a concrete wall and then climbed onto a stair set to get on top of a parking garage. We totally ninja’d our way in. If the vine broke climbing up, it would have been bad news Charlie. The flicker that is going on in the left side of the screen is due to the Staple Center flashing all kinds of lights in the sky at aliens.

0:30-0:41 - Glendora Clouds. This is a perfect example of a bit of flicker. At the time I did not know about the tricks I mentioned above and behold flicker attack. Regardless of the flicker, really stoked on how clouds freaked out. I really like in the dark cloud timelapse how a small triangular cloud appears from nowhere in middle of the clouds.

0:42 – Clouds again. Now I lucked out here and had my f-stop fully open and behold: NO FLICKER in this cloud timelapse. I love how the cloud moves like a wave as they disintegrate away.

0:49 – Probably my favorite timelapse of the bunch. This was taken on a beach in Mexico. The bright light you see that moves and flashes off the screen is a boat. I am sooo stoked on how the clouds totally freaked out in an exploding tall style. I wish I had kept this timelapse going a little longer because the moon was rising and was starting to light up the clouds -- really cool. Patience is a hard thing for timelapses.

1:19 - Top of a mountain in Santa Barbara, camping out after a day of bouldering. The colors in this timelapse are not so good, but I really like how you have the dark clouds at the bottom freaking out. They have a very cool pattern and texture to them.

1:33-1:43 - The waterfalls were documented in Oregon. The first waterfall was sooo huge, I could not fit it all in frame with my fix 50mm. Wish I had my new 24-70 mm with me. There are people walking around in the first waterfall timelapse; kind of a bummer but it’s hard to dodge, ‘tis a popular spot. The second smaller waterfall came out great, so stoked on the details captured... all the small little sprays off the rock. Little did you know it was raining and he had the camera under an umbrella. The lens collected a lot of mist on it.

Timelapsing waterfalls is fun. You have to make sure that your shutter speed is not too slow. If it is, say, 1 second or slower, you will get too much blur in the waterfall and lose detail. Plus, with so much blur your pictures are going to look too similar, so the timelapse will not be good. You want a faster shutter speed so you can capture the detail and the variance of the way the water falls. You don’t want too fast because then you do not get that small amount of blur which gives it the nice look. Try a shutter speed of 4 -0.5”.

1:48 – In the Appalachian Mountains. I messed up on the lens twist trick and as you can see there is slight flicker in this one.

1:56 – Washington, DC bridge. Really stoked on the bridge shot with all the geese moving around in the water. The lens twist trick worked great here, no flicker as the sun slowly sets. Stoked on how smooth the lighting changes are in this timelapse, slowly getting dark. I like the construction crane in the background that moves up and down a bit. Lucked out on all the trains going by.

2:06 – Trees and cars. The lens twist trick worked great here and again, sun is setting and no flicker. For this one I slightly overexposed and then as the lighting got more dim it slowly become exposed and then slightly underexposed. Worked well. Little did you know my toes were freezing, so this timelapse ended short.

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