Thursday, October 8, 2015

Time Lapse : Post Processing


Here's a little clip showing something new I tried in the time-lapse realm of things.  I haven't really heard of or learned it from anyone, just related to blending layers and exposures in photoshop I guess really.

So read on for the what, the why, and all that stuff.



Why blend two time lapse exposures?

Ok. So I don't have any bulb ramping technology. I don't have any software that can deflicker my time lapses. That means that I am stuck with shooting on manual exposure, and then limiting my time lapse to the dynamic range of the scene.  Making holy grail time lapses going from daytime to nighttime off limits for me currently.

What I can do, is shoot a single time lapse as RAW images. Due to the extreme amount of data in raw files, I can process two different ways - a dark and a light version and then blend the combination of the two when its best for the scene.

Which is essentially how I did it too. In more detail though:

Two versions of time lapses exported from Lightroom as jpegs. each to their own folder to avoid confusion. Exported as 16:9 aspect jpegs with 1920x1080 dimensions.

Turn each set of jpegs into their own time-lapse

Bring those into FCPX

Layer one on top of another. Blend opacity of one into another as dictated by your scene's exposure.

In my case, (was a few months ago since I wrote this) I think I even kept the bottom portion from one exposure for the entire duration, and then I only blended the upper half of the frame.

There are other ways of maybe making HDR files for each frame of a time lapse which I haven't tried, but I like this still has a nice realistic dynamic range and doesn't have that tone mapped look.

So why would this way of shooting a time-lapse be useful to you?

- You don't have bulb-ramping controller for your camera,
- You don't have deflickering software for your computer post processing workflow
- You don't have HDR software, or want to dedicate the processor time to batch processing 900 frames


here is the original write up that appeared with the video on youtube for its posting;

Shooting stormy weather isn't easy - it usually covers a range of exposures, whether the sun is out between cells, or the thickest darkest cloud is looming overhead. 
I shot this time-lapse in RAW format on my Canon EOS 50D camera with the EF-S 10-22mm f/3.5 ultra wide lens with an intervalometer. I put a plastic bag over my camera just in case the rain started going sideways. 
I edited the raws (~430 of them) in Lightroom 5. 
I did two presets, one was intended to make the first half of the video look good, the other was for the latter half to look good. 
With both of these clips (lighter version and a darker version) I blended in FCPX and you see the short 14 second video here. 
I don't know if there is a name for this method, I just decided to try it today, and never read about it anywhere. It just seemed necessary, after I saw my stills. 
I only got 430 stills because my camera filled the 8GB card. Which was fine because any more and the frames would have been recorded near black and I would have needed a third, ultra-bright export preset and video version to blend into the time lapse. 
I tried a 4K clip first but my computer was having issues with so many frames, and such big resolution. Time for some more RAM. 

We were on the road for a portion of the storm, but when we got back home, we had no power, so it was time to spend some camera battery power in the mean time. 

I have another time-lapse shot with my GoPro Hero 3 Black, on the way. (~900 photos)

This was captured during the severe storm that passed across southern Ontario on August 2nd 2015 and touched down with a Tornado in some nearby regions. 



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