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Old September 21st, 2010, 10:36 PM   #1
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night time timelapse EX-3

I tried shooting some night timelapse, wide open fstop, interval record, 64 frame slow-shutter, 6db gain, but it came out grainy and full of noise. Anyone have any luck at night with this camera? Thanks...
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Old September 21st, 2010, 10:55 PM   #2
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I've never shot night time time lapse per se, but I have shot absolutely awesome low light/night footage using the slow shutter/ frame accumulation feature.
Not sure what the problem was with your shots, but you should expect way, way better than what you are reporting.
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Old September 22nd, 2010, 12:01 AM   #3
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here's what it looked like with the settings above...

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Old September 22nd, 2010, 12:49 AM   #4
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Wow...
When you say night shot, you really mean it- you're trying to actually take a picture of the night.
Not, like, downtown at night :)
The closest to that I have done was to shoot the moon with the EX. I used a similar setup- gain probably 0dB or maybe 3dB, frame accumulation, but no timelapse. I did a wide shot and a tele. Crossfaded, tele into wide, they were used in a production and looked great- no noise, silky blacks, great lunar detail on the tele shot. I remember that the exposure was tricky and counterintuitive. The camera and me both were consistantly way overexposing the shot because of the overwhelming blackness. When, much to my amazement, I throttled the exposure way down, I got the good shots.
You might try a test without the timelapse.
Set gain to 0dB, shutter to 1/30 or 1/60, focus @ infinity, frame acc to maybe 16, and lens wide open to start.
As you actually record, advance the f stop until you can't see the stars, then open it back up just until they look visible as sharp points of light. That's probably the end point.
I'm curious to know what happens.
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Old September 22nd, 2010, 02:00 AM   #5
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The slow shutter will increase noise as the sensor is "on" for longer so noise will accumulate during each frame taken. Using gain as well will further increase the noise, using both together is the worst case scenario. However by carefully balancing gain and slow shutter you can get some fantastic results. I would use a maximum of +3db and 32 frame shutter. It will still be noisy but allows you to capture very faint scenes.

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Old September 22nd, 2010, 02:20 AM   #6
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Hi Jem. Your post reminded me of a video I really liked from a few months ago. Well I was amazed by it. The photographer is in Arizona. Check out the rising moon, it looks like sunrise.

YouTube - n8imo's Channel

I see in his notes he's using a DSLR and was shooting long exposures at regular intervals: "Exposures were 20-30 seconds at ISO 1600-3200 per frame". So it's not "video" until he gets the individual frames assembled on the timeline, but the finished product is beautiful. I can't see how any HD camcorder is going to compete with that.

Hope this helps.

(I notice that he has recently put a similar video from last month's Perseids.)


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Old September 22nd, 2010, 09:17 PM   #7
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Thanks for the suggestions, I'll keep at it, maybe try a moon-shot, maybe city nightscape, something like that. I really appreciate the settings info, Alister, can't wait to try it out...your shots of the aurora are still some of my favorites.
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Old September 23rd, 2010, 12:28 AM   #8
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Below is a fast motion shot with PMW-EX3 at the moon equipped with F4.5 75-300mm and camera ND 1 on.
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Old September 23rd, 2010, 11:17 AM   #9
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Wow! very nice shot...I guess the moon at that size puts out a reasonable amount of light, especially with the telephoto. Very low noise, and great contrast on the moon's surface. I'm going to try a night city timelapse this evening, we'll see how it comes out.
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Old September 28th, 2010, 03:03 PM   #10
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when i first tried out gain+slow shutter i was shocked too - very noisy pictures...
but it's true: never use more than +3db gain and 32 frames shutter (and of course keep the iris open and the NDs off), you can get a lot out of these settings.

check out this test-shots i made (especially at about 0:30!)

YouTube - Sony EX1 Mondimpressionen
(Gain -3db, shutter 32 frames, default picture profile)



and of course you can allways denoise your footage in post!
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