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Old November 14th, 2013, 09:27 AM   #1
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Recomended Timelapse for Daytime

I have to shoot a window installation on a house for a 30 second commercial.
It will take them 7 hours in daylight.
I was intending to use Interval Record 1 frame, 1 second with EX-Slow shutter at x16 for a bit of blur.
I can speed up in post but would like to get it recorded at around 45 seconds.
I am in Pal land so 1080-25p or 720-50p.
What settings would you recommend, I will be using a EX3?

Thanks
Mark
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Old November 14th, 2013, 11:48 AM   #2
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Re: Recomended Timelapse for Daytime

Mark:

With my EX-3, I use the 1 frame/second time lapse setting, but engage the SLS shutter with a 3-frame accumulation. 16 frames in slow shutter is going to give you some major blurring. It might be worth setting up the EX-3 at your house or a worksite and trying a few different 2-3 minute timelapses with varying settings to make sure you've got the look baked in before committing for 7 hours.

I like doing the 1 frame/sec speed, because it can always be ramped up and down in post.
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Old November 14th, 2013, 12:10 PM   #3
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Re: Recomended Timelapse for Daytime

I agree with Bill that 16-frame SLS will give you too much blur. 3 frames sounds better.

But 1 frame per second is too fast. After 7 hours you'll have a 16.8 minute clip, which seems excessive for a 30 second spot. You could speed that up in post, but it might not look as good as just shooting fewer frames in the first place. If it was me, I'd set it up for 1 frame per 10 seconds.
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Old November 14th, 2013, 04:53 PM   #4
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Re: Recomended Timelapse for Daytime

I agree that 1 frame every second may be too long. But I don't think I would go out to 10 seconds. I might just go to 2 or 3 seconds.

I does depend on what exactly you want to achieve. I would imagine that during the installation there may be many periods of inaction, maybe coffee breaks or lunch or periods where simply nothing much happens and the finished clip may benefit from a little bit of subtle editing so having a longer clip that you can trim down or speed up will give you some safety margin.

Get a weather forecast for the day so you have a feel for how much your light levels will change during the day. There may be some very big differences between when you start and finish and your going to need to set your exposure to suit.

Personally, I would use a DSLR shooting stills. You then have a frame 4 or 5 times larger than HD so you can zoom in and create a slow zoom or pan in post which would really make the clip a lot more interesting than a static shot.
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Old November 15th, 2013, 06:34 AM   #5
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Re: Recomended Timelapse for Daytime

You've got to be kidding. Even with an interval of 3 seconds you're going to record 8400 frames over the course of 7 hours or 12,600 frames at 2 second intervals. And you're going to do that with an SLR?!! For a 30 second TV spot? At how many megapixels per frame? I hope he has a HUGE memory card and a lot of time in post to deal with it all.

A 10 second interval with an EX3 is going to give you excellent image quality and more than 16 minutes of footage to cherry pick the best parts from.
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Old November 15th, 2013, 08:20 AM   #6
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Re: Recomended Timelapse for Daytime

This may be moving in another direction from your concept, but I'm wondering
1 - Why the installation is going to take 7 hours - is this a terribly complex window?
2 - Is there enough interesting activity in the window installation to justify it taking 30 seconds to show?

Having at one point shot a home building series (for Discovery) we utilized 8 time lapse cameras and found that sequences worked best when shorter (and cut between several cameras.) My recommendation would be to use several cameras if possible -- one doing your master shot, and the others doing more detailed sections. Lately I've gotten some nice time lapse sequences using a variety of cameras - even the little Sony ActionCam with its wide field of view.

Think about your whole sequence. I don't know where you're starting -- are they starting by cutting a new hole in the wall/ceiling for a new window, or is it in a new construction, or replacing an old window? How much of the time is spent on details -- framing / waterproofing / flashing? Those details may not read well in the wide shots, and the overall could feel very slow unless you move in close.

Definitely try different SLS settings to see what you like! I personally like the longer frame accumulations, but it really depends how 'active' you want to make it feel. Longer SLS results in a smoother feel, but it may not be what you want. Also remember that frame accumulation will change your exposure considerably -- I ended up buying an ND 3.0 filter (10 f/stops) to be able to do SLS time lapses at a shallow depth of field.

... and let us see your final result!
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Old November 15th, 2013, 08:58 AM   #7
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Re: Recomended Timelapse for Daytime

Good ideas, Dave. I like the multi-camera approach to break it up.
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Old November 16th, 2013, 09:25 AM   #8
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Re: Recomended Timelapse for Daytime

Mark: you may be getting more advice here than you intended. ;}

X2 on the multi cam idea. Having a variety of angles to cut to in a time lapse cannot be oversold. You just have to be sure that your gear has the card and power capacity to last for 7 hours. Plug in power will be your friend.

The frame rate is often a matter of esthetic and personal taste, and you'd really be wise to test some of the options in advance, if you can. I would disagree a bit with Doug's 10 second interval. In my experience, the gaps between bits of action become pretty jumpy at high interval recording...and your client may be happier with a cleaner visual representation of the process parts of the installation.

You can always ramp up the speed on a shorter interval time lapse, but it's hard to go the other way and slow one down without it looking unpleasant. With a few different angles being recorded, then you can go for the higher detail frame rate, but use your cutaway cameras to keep the process lively as you edit it down.

Test, test test. Then pick the frame rate that seems best for the project.
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Old November 16th, 2013, 09:37 AM   #9
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Re: Recomended Timelapse for Daytime

Bill, don't forget we are also recommending the use of SLS which will really smooth out the jumpiness you are concerned about the client not liking.

Normally I would agree that 10 seconds would be extreme for most applications, but this is a 7 hour event for a 30 second edit. Even if you shoot more frames and speed it up in post, the effect is pretty much going to look the same if you want to show the entire installation process. There's no way to avoid jumpiness when you compress that much time into 25 frames per second. Something has to give. 10 seconds will still create 16 minutes of raw footage and there should be no concern with hitting a 30 second target. And if more frames are shot, that's just more frames that are going to have to be thrown away in post. The more I think about it, the more I'd probably do 20 second intervals if ti was my shoot -- unless I took Dave's idea and broke it up into multiple angles.

Many ways to skin a cat.
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Old November 16th, 2013, 10:35 PM   #10
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Re: Recomended Timelapse for Daytime

A frame every 10 seconds would give you approx 15 secs of time lapse per recorded hour at 25 fps wouldn't it? A total of 1 minute and 45 seconds of timelapse for the 7 hours recording?
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Old November 17th, 2013, 07:07 AM   #11
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Re: Recomended Timelapse for Daytime

Uh oh. Don't I feel like the idiot.
That will teach me to use a calculator!!
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Old November 18th, 2013, 04:15 AM   #12
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Re: Recomended Timelapse for Daytime

Shoot Jpeg and you'll get 8000+ frames on a 64GB card with most cameras, your only looking at 4 - 6MB per frame, Then use Adobe Premiere (and many other NLE's), import as a "sequence of still frames" and you will have a single clip of around 5 mins (at 3 sec int) that you can do with as you please. It's very simple. As your dealing with a large frame it may not play back in real time, but you can quickly render out a range of different shots, wide, mid, tight and then edit these together as you need. I do a lot of Pan & Scan from DSLR timelapse as you can see here:

As said I think you'll find lots of periods of nothing happening, so you'll probably want to edit the clip. If one part just takes an hour, shooting with a 3 second interval means that bit will only last 48 seconds. I think your going to find several flurries activity during the day with the rest being un-interesting.

Multi-camera is a great idea, gives you many options, but if you can't go multi-camera a DSLR with a frame that is 4 to 5x the size of an HD frame means many shot variations from one angle.

Whatever you do if you don't shoot enough your in a lot of trouble. Shoot too much and it's just a matter of speeding it up and/or editing it to fit.
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Old November 21st, 2013, 05:22 AM   #13
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Re: Recomended Timelapse for Daytime

Sorry for not replying earlier, been offshore shooting on a gas platform.
The window installation is the whole of a house front, 7 windows 1 door.
I can only get 2 cameras, but will try 2 different angles.
I don't have a DSLR or anybody near me so not an option.

720p or 1080p the commercial delivery is not HD.
Thanks for all the advise

Mark
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