I’ve always been tempted to seriously delve into timelapse photography (Here is a wonderful example: Timelapse: Bevan Percival’s Stunning Lenticular Cloud Capture), but it has always been put on the back burner for one reason or another. Well, that’s changing. Part of that came about because I installed one of the greatest hacks and best pieces of software (firmware?) engineering into my Canon 5D MkII: the Magic Lantern Canon EOS Camera Tool. The people that did that hack (and I use that term with the most respect) made the camera, in my mind, about 100x more useful. Just a few of the tweaks I use:
- HDR Bracketing (a greater bracket range than the 5D MkII come with from the factory)
- Cropmarks (I use the supplied 2.40 Cinemascope, and drew up custom cropmark files for 4×5—large format film—and 6×6, or square, formats)
And, something really useful:
- FPS Override
FPS Override allows me to shoot down to .15 frames per second. Voila, timelapse. Well, it isn’t that easy, but it is simpler in certain situations that the standard timelapse methods. And a big bonus: the lens only stops down once, instead of for each frame (with electronic iris lenses, manual iris lenses don’t have this characteristic) causing flickering. And, you aren’t activating the cameras shutter a multitude of times. The downside is that you are capturing considerably less data than if you were capturing a raw image for each exposure.
I think it comes down to the situation. If you want to shoot something that will need less frame-by-frame tweaking, video is good. If you are after the highest quality, need a “framerate” that is slower than .15FPS, then shooting a series of stills is the way to go. I’m probably missing a lot here, but I’m just digging into it now myself.
For video, I just edit in FinalCut Pro X. For stills, I am testing out two different pieces of software for de-flickering and color correcting the images. The first is a fairly basic program, called Sequence, by Frosthaus software:
The other is a much more complex piece of software that integrates with Adobe’s Lightroom. It’s called LRTimelapse by Gunther Wegner:
An image series roundtrips from the LRTimelapse app to Lightroom, then back, then back to Lightroom for export via the LRTimelapse export plugin.
Sequence is simpler and costs $34.99. LRTimelapse is more complex and really allows seriously tweaking each image in the series. It also costs 99€ for the “Private” version, and 249€ for the “Professional” version. The difference are listed here.
If anyone wants to chat about their timelapse projects, I’d love to hear about them. Send me an email!
I hope to write more about the process as I get better at it… Here is a brief video I shot with my 5D and Magic Lantern at Lumpini Park in Bangkok. It was tweaked a bit in Final Cut Pro X and masked with one of Alexandre Gollner’s excellent free plugins Widescreen Matte (Note: I didn’t do the actual crop to widescreen in Compressor, so the video is still 16:9).
Please Recommend or Send on Facebook, with the buttons below.