Sunday, June 30, 2013

Time-Lapse Primer

Text And Photography By Preston Kanak Published in Advanced Camera Technique
Some of the most popular time-lapse subjects are nature scenes. For your first forays into this kind of project, nature has the benefit of always being available to you. A couple of things to look for are interesting skies with moving clouds and a foreground subject like this reflective pond to anchor the clips.
Some of the most popular time-lapse subjects are nature scenes. For your first forays into this kind of project, nature has the benefit of always being available to you. A couple of things to look for are interesting skies with moving clouds and a foreground subject like this reflective pond to anchor the clips.

Flicker: The Infamous Achilles' Heel Of Time-Lapse

One of the biggest challenges when shooting a time-lapse is flicker. It's the pesky distraction that takes the viewer's experience from being immersed in the emotion of the scene to that of an observer. Because flicker isn't something you normally would see in live-action content, when viewers see this in a time-lapse, they quickly become aware of the act of shooting rather than paying attention to the story.

There are many different things that cause flicker, including:

Shooting in aperture-priority mode
Change of light within your scene/shutter speed
Aperture abbreviation

Although each of these will cause flicker, there are a few measures you can take when shooting a time-lapse, as well as a few measures you can take when processing the time-lapses to remove it.

When you're shooting in aperture-priority mode, you'll need to deflicker in post. There's just no way around it. There are a few options to remove this flicker, and each requires some trial and error. The first and most comprehensive method you can use is LRTimelapse. Although very reliable, if this doesn't work, you also can try GBDeflicker, CHV Time Collections Long Exposure or Frame Blending in Adobe After Effects.

The best way to smooth the changes of light is by using a longer exposure.
By using a longer shutter speed, you usually can smooth out the changes in light.
The interval (delay) isn't critical with these types of shots. Use longer exposure times—anything over 1⁄50 sec. to smooth out these changes in exposure.

When shooting with a stopped-down aperture, you may experience flicker due to aperture abbreviation. To avoid this flicker, you'll want to use the "lens-twist method" (see the sidebar on the following page).

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