Help with Time Lapse for DSLR

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    • #49442

      I have to shoot a time lapse sequencefor a project Im doing, and would appreciate any help andadvice.

      The scene is an office block, and I need a time lapse of it going dark, and building becomingilluminated from within as the natural light fades. There is also a
      busy main road in front of the building so during the night scenes
      the car lights would look good if they become lines.

      The problem is I have only one chanceto shoot this, and because of the remote location, I cant check outlight levels ahead of time.

      Add to this, Iv never done this before.

      The target product is a 5 second pieceat 30 fps. If necessary this could be extended to 10 seconds max.

      I will be shooting with either a Canon1DMkIIN or a Canon 5dMkII

      HELP !!!

      Im looking for suggestions on all aspects ;
      1) Exposure – as changing light Imguessing I will need to use either Aperture or Shutter Priority
      2) White Balance – again, as changing im guessing this will be automatic
      3) Interval

      Any guidance you can give, gratefullyreceived.


    • #202398

      Sounds pretty intense. Sounds like you should do a test at some point before your shoot date just to get familiar with doing time lapse. Your only option to get both day and night in the same shot would beAperturePriority I would think (I would keep it around f2.8 to maintain sharpness). That way during the day your shutter would skinny up to like 1/500th for bright sunlight and go down to 1-30second exposures for night time. I would also make sure the ISO doesn’t go beyond 1600.

      White balance I would set to something static like 5100 or so. If your shooting office building windows, I feel like it would be okay to see them a bit warm.

      To figure out how long the timer should be you have to do a little math. If you want 5 seconds at 30fps, then you want a total of 150 frames. Now you divide the length of time you want to shoot by 150, and thats your interval. SO, say you want to shoot from 3pm to 8pm, thats 5 hours (300 minutes). Divide 300 by 150 frames = 2. So 1 frame every 2 minutes.

      Really the best thing for you to do is a test. That way you can see how the motion is and what your interval should be and how it looks.


    • #202399

      This posting by David at Have a look at their youtube channel full of stunning time lapse.

      <span style=”font-family: Verdana; color: #000000; font-size: 10pt;”>

      I would shoot it with these settings:

      Use a tripod

      Manual focus (very important)

      Aperture priority (you don’t want the F-stops changingthe depth of field)

      Auto White balance

      ISO 200 (lower the better)


      With F5.6 and 200 ISO you will get long exposures at night to give
      you the lines you want. I’m guessing you will only get about 3-5 second
      exposures at night, longer if there aren’t many lights.

      Metering can be done 2 ways, full frame (over all average)or
      spot. You can put the spot on a part of a building. Over all averages
      works most of the time. The cars might throw off the metering.Take
      test shots and review them before starting (check exposure and
      focus).Try not to get the sun in the shot because it could throw off
      the metering making everything too dark.

      If you want to do it for 5 hours, I would suggest doing intervals
      of 1 minute (300 frames, that’s 10 seconds of video). It’s better to
      shoot more then you need. You can always speed it up in post or use the
      best part of it. You might want to start 1.5 to 2 hours before sunset,
      because with long exposures it will stay light in the sky longer than
      you think.

      Use RAW files because it’s easier to fix in post.Make sure you
      have a big enough memory card and batteries or power supply that will
      last. Take the pictures in the highest resolution possible because you
      can add effects in post, like zooms, pans and ortilts. I know you are
      only doing a 5 second shot, but a slow zoom always looks good.

      Good luck!



    • #202400


      Check out the info on this old thread of mine for Timelapse video w/a DSLR;

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