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Old November 12th, 2009, 03:16 PM   #1
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Time Lapse Movie over 6 Months

Hi Guys,

Wondering if anyone has any experience in long term time lapse?

I'll be working on a project that will see an old Car being restored from start to finish. I have been advised it will take approximately 6 months from start to finish (but this could vary)

I would like to know what the best solution will be. There is a budget so it doesn't just have to be a DIY job but as we all know the cheaper the better.

Throughout the restoration the camera will move according to which part of the car they are working on. I will have further details of this when its all confirmed.

I know there are companies out there that specialize in this but i want to have a go myself to weigh the pros and cons.

Ive read of some people using webcams to take 1 still image say every minute which is then backed up on a server.

I have also read of people setting up a dslr to a computer with a good few harddrives and doing the same.

the webcam option does sound the better of the 2 but i need to think of the condidtions and also the final outcome.

The time lapse movie will be used in a variety of ways. one as any internet video, part of a little documentary and no doubt some of the still images will be used for press/PR etc.

ideally I would like the resolution to be 1920x1080 or even bigger.

i know there will be more points and areas i need to look at and if anyone has any similar experiences it would be great to hear.

If there is anything you think I have missed or should consider then please make suggestions! I can only get this right once.

Also as i have been typing this i have come across a potential solution to have a Nikon D40 linked to a laptop with this software...

Nikon Camera Control Pro 2 (VSA56401) - Warehouse Express

Ramble over and Thank you!

Liam
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Old November 12th, 2009, 04:23 PM   #2
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I think your DSLR consideration is the one I would choose. Best quality and straight forward handling.

Only concern is how you make sure the camera has enough battery life for a whole day. Changing batteries in the middle of a timelapse will most likelly screw up your frame even if you are carefull. So make sure it can be powered externally, or has a powersave mode inbetween exposures.
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Old November 12th, 2009, 05:00 PM   #3
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Having restored a number of classic cars, and having done a great deal of time lapse work, I'll ask the question...
Are you doing the restoration yourself at your location, or is someone else doing the resto at their location?
Once you tell us that we might be better able to help you.
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Old November 12th, 2009, 05:50 PM   #4
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Good point Nik, i was hoping to have some form of uninterrupted power supply (UPS) if this is possible? I'll need to find out if i can run the Nikon through a power cable.

Again good point if I have to change a battery all of the time it could affect the whole project and be a waste of time.

Excellent David glad you've a bit of experience with car restoration. It will take place at the companies garage which being honest i haven't visited yet.

Thanks so far.
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Old November 12th, 2009, 07:23 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Liam Carlin View Post
It will take place at the companies garage which being honest i haven't visited yet.

Thanks so far.
That's why I asked. Most shops have multiple projects going at once, and will move your car in their shop depending on what is being done, so unless you hover over the project daily, have an uninterrupted power supply, change out cards often, have adequate lighting, clean the lens often without disrupting the camera, shops get dirty... and then have a shop that does not have a problem being recorded for six months, you've got it made!

I'm not sure of your point behind this time lapse, but when I do a restoration project, I always document what I'm doing with still pics. For example... If I am doing a brake rebuild on a 1969 Ferrari, I take pictures of every step to document the process, from tear-down to media blasting, to re-plating and assembly.
Good Luck!
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Old November 12th, 2009, 08:18 PM   #6
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Very valid point indeed. I'll need to enquire about this but hopefully we can come to a solution. its something the requested.

The time-lapse will be placed on a website of luxury car restorations its part of a huge project involving web development and im the video guy (love that title).

We have paying clients who have specifically requested this.

I honestly have better things to do with my time then wait for 6 months ;)

you mention documenting, something im sure we'll consider. other wise it could be a long pointless 6 months.

i'll update the thread when ive had a chance to get down and hopefully get some shots of the workspace.

Thanks :)
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Old November 13th, 2009, 12:37 AM   #7
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It seems to me that a timelapse film will not show what you would really want to see. The car will be moved with certainty, so it is not really possible to keep it in the exact frame. The film will probably be short so you really can't see the development in detail, just a very busy restless film. If you would take pictures of important steps and put them one after another this would give a much better idea of what is going on. Even morphing a picture pre and post the restoration would look better.
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Old November 13th, 2009, 02:44 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Liam Carlin View Post
Ive read of some people using webcams to take 1 still image say every minute which is then backed up on a server.

I have also read of people setting up a dslr to a computer with a good few harddrives and doing the same.
Liam
You only need a compact flash card in the camera, no need to hook up to PCs or servers as you'll only need to record a few hundred frames. Even if the shot was to last 20 seconds on screen you'll still only need 500 images, which will fit even on a small CF card.
The Canon EOS 20D has a mains power unit.
The other thing you'll definitely need is a really solid mounting point so that the gear doesn't move an inch. Also important to keep the lighting the same, don't forget you may need to change light bulbs at some point during the six months!
Steve
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Old November 13th, 2009, 03:29 AM   #9
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Don't forget to set manual everything - focus, aperture, shutter speed, white balance etc.

Check to see if the D40 has an inbuilt intervalometer. My D200 and D2X has one which allows use to shoot 999 frames at a specified time interval. I would use the Camera Control software linked to a laptop to be able to monitor what you are capturing if possible.

As Steve says, you need to work out how long your final production is going to be to find out how many frames you need to take. You also need to know what you are doing in After Effects as well.

I would suggest you do a number of test sequences first. Dust on the sensor can be a nightmare but can be removed in Capture NX if you take dust-off reference shots. Takes hours of computer time though.

Andy
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Old November 13th, 2009, 06:43 AM   #10
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While time lapse video are cool, they would be more for fun than anything.
Most folks that purchase high end cars want some form of documentation to show the work was performed, and when. Here are a couple of examples of an A-Arm rebuild with a mod to clear racing shocks, of course I did not post every pic of the process.
Attached Thumbnails
Time Lapse Movie over 6 Months-img_0042.jpg   Time Lapse Movie over 6 Months-img_434.jpg  

Time Lapse Movie over 6 Months-img_0463.jpg   Time Lapse Movie over 6 Months-img_0385.jpg  

Time Lapse Movie over 6 Months-img_0020.jpg   Time Lapse Movie over 6 Months-img_77.jpg  

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Old November 13th, 2009, 10:19 AM   #11
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Mario i agree with what you are saying and these issues will need to be addressed. I also like the idea of shooting the important steps and possible morphing in pre and post. I have a good few years experience with AE so that doesn't phase me.

Steve would i only need a flash card over the course of 6 months. as i havent worked out the time intervals im making an assumption i'll have a few thousand frames.

Thanks for pointing out it could be a restless quick film. im thinking in anyone who is to visit this website wants a luxury car i dont think they want to see x amount of mechanics rushing around moving there car about and your point ties in nicely with this David.

im really going to need to re-evaluate this with my boss... why couldn't it just be a nice and easy sunset? :)

I'll certainly check and see if the camera we end up using has a interferometer.

Thanks again and i'll keep the thread updated and with what we end up using and how we (I) do it!

Liam
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Old November 13th, 2009, 11:59 AM   #12
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Another suggestion (still involving a lot of time) is to go there every day an take a photograph of the car at the end of work hours (you could skip the days that nothing really visible has been done. Draw an imaginary circle around the car and every day you move up a little on the circle. Use a dissolve to nicely connect the photo's (let them stand for a second or two, so you will get a 3 minute video circling around the car while it gets transformed).
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Old November 13th, 2009, 04:51 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by Liam Carlin View Post
Steve would i only need a flash card over the course of 6 months. as i havent worked out the time intervals im making an assumption i'll have a few thousand frames.
How many stills do you get on a 32gb card? Must be a couple of thousand surely?
But again, don't forget that 1000 frames will last 40 seconds on screen - that's a LONG time.
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Old November 13th, 2009, 05:15 PM   #14
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From what I understood, the plan was to move the camera from day to day, based on the area of the car they are working on...

So this dosn't have to be as complicated as some of you guys make it.. Just settle for a location in the morning where you setup the camera, and stick with it till late evening.. take 50 frames during the day and you are set. You can even manually exposure it at the right moments (with a remote) when the mechanics are off the frame. Self building car!!!

Then the next week you do the same thing.. I suspect that the 6 month period will not require a day to day update.

This way you will have 2 second sequences of focus area buildup. And at the end of it all, you can decide how many and which give you the best result.

Of course it would be MUCH cooler to have five cameras setup all around the car, hard mounted for the 6 months, with a sticker saying "touch me, and you die". Shooting continuous timelapses every day... Thats probably what I would do. But Im also crazy!!!
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Old November 13th, 2009, 05:39 PM   #15
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Somehow I'm thinking that they are wanting something like you see on a lot of shows nowdays, where it's a series of snippets sped up, people flitting in and out, doing stuff, then going to the next viewpoint, same deal, etc... I'll admit I like that sort of "time compressed" under construction effect.

While stills would work, you lose some of the charm - I'd say get a small HD camera (I'd personally loan you a Sony XR500V if you were in the neighborhood!) with a HDD, wide lens if needed, mount the sucker, use an A/C power supply or big a** battery, let 'er run, then hack out the dead zones in edit, stuff the good stuff together, time compress, and you should have something pretty cool - inter cut with some good interviews with the "crew", a few stills and close ups, and you've got the makings of a pretty good video just like on TeeVee!

I'm probably making more of it than needed, but I dig those sorts of shows where they put stuff together, take stuff apart, and preferably blow things up somewhere in the process!
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