Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Time-Lapse Learning Experience

I seem to be pumping out failed time-lapses at a startling rate these days. While I was at first kind of hesitant to use one of my two video uploads for February on Flickr, I figured this was worth it. Every time I screw something up, I learn more about how to fix it.

See on Flickr

The first problem with this video is that the sun never actually rises. It was the first non-foggy morning in a while, so I decided to try and get the sunrise. I was taking one photo per 8 seconds, and I was out in the cold repeating this for probably a solid 25 minutes. The clouds and sky kept getting brighter and brighter, but I was forced to pack up and head to school (school starts late this week for Juniors and Seniors due to Sophomore state testing) before it actually came out. There's no school Friday, so if I get another lucky fog-free morning, that problem is easy enough to solve.

My larger problem is my editing software. iMovie refuses to display stills for less than 3 frames, which makes my videos 3 times longer, 3 times slower, and 3 times choppier than I had planned. I'm in the process of finding a video editor that will put stills at 1 frame. I know my dad has an old copy of Final Cut Express somewhere, but I need to get the serial number off the box to use it. I've checked, and it looks like FCE will go down to 1 frame on stills for me. Furthermore, FCE will make high res videos. I've been shooting at a resolution of 1600x1200, and just batch re-sizing down to 640x480 before applying to iMovie, and even then I seem to be losing a lot of sharpness in my photos. If I can find the serial for FCE, that should solve both of my problems. I'll just have to crunch some numbers to get a new rate at which to take photos.

Anyway, this video looks pretty good considering everything that went wrong. The pink clouds look nice until they get washed out. The darkening at the end of the video is my own trying to adjust exposure gradually between shots so that the final frames weren't just pure white. Kind of a bad idea I think; a better approach would be to start my exposures at -2 stops (rather than -1, which is what I've been using) and hope that they don't overexpose too much when the sun does come out. A polarizer might be something to consider too.

Anyway, I only have one video upload to my free Flickr account this month, so if you see another video post, it means I finally got a time-lapse that I'm satisfied with. On a final note though, free Flickr accounts cannot have high-def videos uploaded, no matter the size. So unless I find $25 laying around that I have no use for, you'll be watching my videos in normal resolution. Sorry.

1 comment:

  1. I'm curious - can you use Picasa? Sounds a bit lame, but they have a 'make movie' option, and one of the preset formats is "time lapse". I've made movie slide shows with it before, and you can even add music tracks. It takes a while to compile all the photos into one movie, but they come out pretty cool for a freeware tool... just a though.

    Otherwise, I like your time lapse! It looks really cool with the clouds rolling over the mountains. I just know you will perfect this experiment - you are on a mission!


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