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time-lapse tutorial

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time-lapse tutorial
« on: 29 / October / 2009, 09:49:39 »

i'm pretty interested in creating timelapse movies, but i don't really know how to start, so maybe some of you could give me some information and maybe we could even create a tutorial out of this :)

so, things i would like to know (as i have tried and failed ;) )

- what pic size is good/enough/too much?
- which programs do you use to create the movie and maybe quick walkthrough? i've tried virtualdub, didn't have much luck...
- how does the pic/movie fps ratio affect the outcome? what would a min fps be for taking the pics? i guess this is depending on what you are taking the pics of...

and in general, any tips you ever thought "damn, if only somebody had told me this before..." :)


Re: time-lapse tutorial
« Reply #1 on: 29 / October / 2009, 12:44:42 »
Well as for resolution, remember that you're going to end up with video, so there's no point shooting at 8mp.  I use 1600x1200 in my A590.  At one frame every 4 seconds, I end up changing the 4GB SD card and the batteries every 2+ hours, and that works well, and it gives me room to crop if I need to.  I usually end up with 640x480 video in the end, so I really could just start with that if I won't need to crop, but I've had good luck with 1600x1200.

I use TMPGEnc to create the raw video from the still frames.  It lets me specify any frame rate for input but outputs video at 29.97.  So I can make the video a specific length regardless of the number of input frames.  That's handy if I have a specific audio clip I want to use.  I also crop and adjust gamma, etc. with that program.  I usually output in HuffYUV (RGB) lossless, then go to AviSynth and VirtualDub to add the title and credit frames, fades, and audio.  But TMPGEnc isn't freeware.   Actually AVISynth and VirtualDub might do the whole process, but I'm just not expert enough with those to know.

Actually, Windows Movie Maker will also make the video for you, but it has certain limitations.

The frame rate really does depend on what you're shooting - how fast it moves.  I've done timelapses of artists painting, and used a rate of one frame every 4 seconds, which works fine for some artists, but is too slow for others.  I doubt my A590 will go much faster than that, although a test of that is on my list of things to do.  I had thought of using a script that had no wait between frames, so it would say "take a picture" then loop back immediately to the same line.  Basically, if the length of the final video is fixed, the more frames that went into it the smoother it will look.

Re: time-lapse tutorial
« Reply #2 on: 29 / October / 2009, 13:22:15 »
hehe, yeah, that was my first mistake... i shot it at 2816x2112 :haha

how do you do the cropping? frame by frame? or is there a fast way?


Re: time-lapse tutorial
« Reply #3 on: 29 / October / 2009, 18:47:29 »
TMGEnc will do the same crop to all of the pics.  Or if you just need a portion of the sequence cropped you can put those pics in a different folder and apply the crop just to them.  It also does the resizing down to video size.

One thing I've found with most of these programs is that they don't handle sequence breaks well.  So if you delete some of the pictures, the program will either stop at the break, or insert black frames for the file numbers that are missing.  In the ones I've done there are always breaks when the artist gets a drink or goes to the bathroom, or someone walks in front of the camera, so after deleting those pictures manually, I resequence the ones that are left so everything is continuous.  I use an old program called RenameIt.

The best advice I can give for actually doing the shoot is to put the camera into full manual mode if you can - ISO, white balance, zoom, focus, aperture, shutter speed - so that the camera will not "hunt".  In my shoots, if the artist's arm is fully in the frame, I don't want the camera trying to focus on that, or adjusting exposure.  I want it to do exactly what it did in the last frame.  Otherwise, the final video is going to appear unstable and fluttery.  Of course that means you have to plan ahead for the changes you know will take place.  In mine, I set the camera so that a spot-metered plain white canvas is overexposed by 2 stops, or maybe a bit less, so that it will look right when the canvas has been covered with paint and is darker.

And you want flash off, review off, IS off, mute on.

Re: time-lapse tutorial
« Reply #4 on: 29 / October / 2009, 18:51:01 »
Thx man, very helpful tips indeed!

i hope to be able to show something on here soon :)

Re: time-lapse tutorial
« Reply #5 on: 29 / October / 2009, 22:28:41 »
after deleting those pictures manually, I resequence the ones that are left so everything is continuous.  I use an old program called RenameIt.

IrfanView may be another option. It has a Batch Edit feature under the File menu. Check out the 'advanced' options too. Can batch change color adjustments, jpeg compression quality, etc. as well as the naming in series.

Re: time-lapse tutorial
« Reply #6 on: 08 / December / 2009, 17:10:20 »
Hey I got a question.. Thanks for this guide, Ive been wanting to shoot some time lapses

Clouds at 15 seconds = not fast enough lol. And I shot at full 8MP
That was my first attempt.

I wanted to turn off my display, but it seemed that whenever i did that, the script stopped running? Is there a way to avoid that?

Re: time-lapse tutorial
« Reply #7 on: 11 / December / 2009, 03:24:48 »
I answered my own question. Drove from FL to NY today, and in my boredom played with CHDK.

So in case you have the same question.
To turn off the display while running a script, all you gotta do is set the script to Autostart. Then turn off the display, and reboot the camera. Voila!. (Turn off Review too in normal settings)

I was shooting all at night time, while driving. First batch was 1 pic every 13-15 seconds, 1 second exposure, 1600x1200, normal compression. Ran for over 4 hours, ~1100 pictures. 20% battery life remaining (I'm impressed!) (SD800IS)

For the second batch, I was in NYC so it was a lot brighter. experimented a bit, figured I'd try .3second exposure every 3 seconds for the last leg of my trip in NY. another ~600 pictures over 30 minutes ~35% battery left (cheap chinese $6 battery)

I took 1700 pictures and I have half my card filled up. (I guess cause they are night time pics they are small?)

Should make an interesting blurry warp speed light show of a timelapse lol.. More excited about the every 3 second shots and I wish i shot in continuous mode. Its neat how stuff in the distance is relatively clear, and then as I whiz by it it just stretches out.
« Last Edit: 11 / December / 2009, 03:35:05 by rastetter »

Re: time-lapse tutorial
« Reply #8 on: 17 / December / 2009, 02:23:56 »
I'm thinkin a way to make the Timelapse  works automatically by fully controlling it through a computer.
Basically, Computer orders CHDK to take pic and every picture after taken will be moved to computer's HDD and the power will be saved or re-charged by the USB cable somehow...
But its just still an idea and I even dont have any experience about traditional Timelapse :D


Offline mx3

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Re: time-lapse tutorial
« Reply #9 on: 17 / December / 2009, 03:35:14 »
I would use full resolution - newer know what monitor size will be used to play it.
would not you like some store(shop) to play your movie on big monitor/tv set?
so big sd card is the must.
additional power supply would be good also.
consider to use most powerful batteries you find in store.
also using of tv override is good idea for catching good night shots - http://chdk.setepontos.com/index.php/topic,3079.0.html
skype: max_dtc. ICQ: 125985663, email: win.drivers(at)gmail, eVB decompiler


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