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Old July 21st, 2012, 04:13 PM   #1
Regular Crew
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Weatherford, Texas
Posts: 79
Shooting Lightning

I would like Alister & others to chime in on the best way to shoot lightning with the CMOS rolling shutter limitations.

I read somewhere that to catch every shot, shoot 1 frame every 1 second (frame rec mode). This will still play back slightly faster than real time, but you can slow it down in post.

I have also use the slow shutter in combination with interval time -lapse recording for a great effect.

I invite you to view the time-lapse lightning sequence I shot posted under the "EX sample clips" section or the "show your work" section. I have it posted in both places.

You guys agree with this set-up?

Joel Brooks
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Old July 25th, 2012, 01:38 AM   #2
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Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: Bracknell, Berkshire, UK
Posts: 4,957
Re: Shooting Lightning

Sounds like you have the right idea for your settings.

When shooting lightning using interval record does work, but you need to use the 16 or 32 frame slow shutter otherwise you'll miss most of the bolts. Also the payed back speed will be either 24x 25x or 30x faster than real time, which is quite a considerable speed up. In addition you will capture lightning strikes that have multiple strokes as a single flash due to the very slow shutter.

My preferred way to shoot lightning is to shoot normal speed using cache record with a 10 second delay. I use either 24p or 25p with no shutter if during daylight and sometimes a 2 frame slow shutter at night to minimise rolling shutter artefacts. Then for a more dramatic effect I will either speed up the periods between the lightning flashes in post or edit them out. Doing the speed up or editing in post gives you much better control over the look of your finished clip and also gives you the ability to use single flashes as stand alone real time clips if you need them.
Alister Chapman, Film-Maker/Stormchaser My XDCAM site and blog.
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Old July 25th, 2012, 07:43 PM   #3
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Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Weatherford, Texas
Posts: 79
Re: Shooting Lightning

Thanks Alister. Yes, I have used & like the16 & 32 frame effects with slow shutter at night.

I have also edited out the blank spots in post before. Works very well.

I wish that someday the CMOS technology will eliminate the rolling shutter issue altogether. It's not an issue on CCD cams, but still prefer the sensitivity & overall look with CMOS imagers.

Joel Brooks
MIT Video
Moments In Time Video Productions.
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Old August 2nd, 2012, 11:51 AM   #4
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Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Maassluis, The Netherlands
Posts: 294
Re: Shooting Lightning

Great timing:
I was playing with recording lightning this week.
Slow shutter works indeed.
I'll try to combine it with the cache recording.
Brainstormnavigator searching for the hole in the sky.....
Audiovisual Designer (NL) -
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