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Canon EOS Crop Sensor for HD
APS-C sensor cameras including the 80D, 70D, 7D Mk. II, 7D, EOS M and Rebel models for HD video recording.


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Old May 21st, 2010, 02:37 AM   #1
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Creating a timelapse on a 7D and editing on a pc

I haven't tried to do a timelapse on my new 7D yet. There is some amazing work on these forums. Can someone explain the workflow in terms of setting exposure and shutter. I have seen workflows described for Final Cut Pro but I edit with Edius 5.12 which is very different. I know some shoot raw while others use jpgs. Any help is (really) appreciated.
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Old May 21st, 2010, 12:26 PM   #2
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I shot mine in jpg and set the time using the EOS software. I put my iso on auto because I was going from day to night so there was a very wide range. Just set the camera on a tripod and point it out your window and tether it to a laptop and experament is the best way to learn.

Most editors will allow an import of a sequence of stills as a movie.
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Old May 21st, 2010, 12:50 PM   #3
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Time lapse is easy, but like all things you need to practice, yet it is very forgiving. I have the $30 Ebay intervalometer the TC-80N3, I set the shot interval only and then it will run for as long as you have memory or battery in your camera.

I shoot small jpeg which is large enough for full HD, if you want to do motion tracking or zooming in an editor you need a larger file size, perhaps even raw.

After I have my sequence, I download these jpegs to a folder, if I'm happy with the colours exposure I go straight to Quicktime Pro ($30) and open file sequence, click on the first consecutive numbered file and then Quicktime takes over, then render out the movie. If I was unhappy with the exposure colour etc, I would open Photoshop and run an action I would record to correct or improve the source files.

I have written a blog on this if you are interested: Norman Pogson Filmmaker: Time Lapse
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Old May 21st, 2010, 01:11 PM   #4
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Obviously there are a lot of variables, generally the conditions, lighting, movement etc, will determine your camera settings.

As a rule of thumb, if your going to finish in HD high quality JPEG is good enough, however if you want a stunning timelapse, like the ones found here you'll need to use RAW:

It would probably be helpful to check out this forum: Timescapes Timelapse there's a forum link there.

You can get an inexpensive intervalometer from ebay, I have one and it works great.

Timelapse is all about exposure, you can have longer exposures [dragging your shutter] which gives you that motion blur look or streaks stars across the sky etc., these can be 30 seconds or more. Shorter intervals produces smoother movement, longer intervals condenses more time but the motion is not as smooth.

If you use auto anything you will most likely get "flicker." Manual everything is the best way to do timelapse. However, there might be situations where it makes more sense to use auto iris plus after you've done a few you can see what the camera settings where on auto and start adjusting the setting manually to get the look your going for.

Regarding workflow, the 7D shoots much larger images (stills) than HD so you need to do two things to make a Timelapse sequence, import the images into an application that converts them to an image sequence, on a Mac you can accomplish this with QuickTime Pro, plus you need to scale the sequence to the correct resolution or better yet pan & scan. I use After Effects to accomplish both at the same time. Although most editing applications can do this their filtering is generally not as good AE. If your shooting Jpeg they're probably good enough but if you want you sequences to be tack sharp you'll need to invest in something like After Effects.
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Old May 21st, 2010, 04:17 PM   #5
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Yes again I used auto ISO as I was going from sunlight to night. If your light is more consistant then you will want to lock in the settings.
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Old May 21st, 2010, 08:21 PM   #6
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depends what you shoot and how long and what you want to show.
Best time lapses are not real ones, but a mix of different technologies.
First, you can consider HDR if you shoot pictures, because it is easy (you just shoot with bracketting function on). HDR is great if the sun is coming in or out of the field, or if you shoot inside.
if you shoot one a long duration (one day or more), you better to forget real timelapse and cheat by taking few sample on video (about 30sec. is enough) and then merge all sample with cross fade. It looks a lot more realistic, people and car are going real speed, tree and water doe not look like epileptic on steroid.
For example you can make a full year timelapse with few shots, because you just need to capture the few moments where something is changing (snow coming or melting, tree getting red, rain, sun). these events will ocur several time in a year, so if you miss one, you can easily get the next one.

If you feel ok for a bit of special effect, you can even merge a real timelapse of sky (with clouds passing in the sky) with another one as described above.
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Old May 21st, 2010, 11:34 PM   #7
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Although true, shooting HDR timelapse is tricky and consumes a huge amount of data. HDR can look great but so can pictures that are properly exposed. Plus if you expose timelapse correctly it takes on an HDR look anyway. You can get some incredible imagery with long exposures.

But as its been mentioned several times it really depends on what your trying to shoot.
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Old May 22nd, 2010, 03:34 AM   #8
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Thanks to everyone for their replies. I'm going to spend some time digesting the suggestions and attempt my first timelapse as soon as I can get my hands on a intervalometer. Cheers.
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Old May 22nd, 2010, 11:54 AM   #9
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You do not need final cut pro for a timelapse - Quicktime 7 is fine.

I shoot in Raw and choose small size (still larger than 1920 anyway). Choosing a larger raw file may cause buffering as it saves. I never shoot jpeg.
I then convert the raw files to 16bit tiffs and then import straight into QT 7 ... done! Export move. Very simple. I shot this example recently in Miami ... at six second intervals.

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Old May 22nd, 2010, 12:38 PM   #10
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Jon,

That was awesome!
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Old June 7th, 2010, 07:10 PM   #11
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Jon,

How did you manage exposure across that piece?
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Old June 8th, 2010, 06:59 AM   #12
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I used aperture priority - as I was going from daylight to evening over a two hour period. Manual fixed exposure is the way to go to avoid stepping but this works only if the light remains constant.
Going from day to night will give you a dramatic timelapse but this is the holy grail and not easy to do well. I find that if there is activity ie, building lit up-people-boats, etc then this reduces the apparent stepping effect (flicker) of the camera iris changing to the viewers eye.
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Old June 8th, 2010, 10:12 AM   #13
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Did someone say holy grail? =) Albeit a boring subject, here's a successful day to night (no post de-flicker techniques) using a bulb exposure controlling device and motorized aperture! The caviet using bulb is the fastest reliable shutter speed is around 1/30".

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