Since I got my Nikon D7000, which has a built in feature for taking images at programmable intervals for a specified amount of time, I’ve been wanting to play with time lapse video. As we have some winter weather moving through right now, which in Southern California means a rain storm, the clouds this morning were puffy and moving rapidly enough to just see the movement with the naked eye, making them a good experimental subject.
So I pointed my widest angle lens (14mm) out the upstairs window toward the backyard, facing south by southwest at 9am, and captured some images, first at one per second, and then at one per 10 seconds. After some minimal processing, I then collected them in sequence into Final Cut and output as a movie. These two rates are concatenated in the video below, and nominally represent about a 25x speed up over real time, followed by a 250x speedup.
- For those whose browsers do not support HTML5, please click here.
- This is a more or less random shot out the window, just to see the clouds move. Nothing too fancy, so don’t focus on the composition too much.
- You can see compression artifacts. I was experimenting with HTML5 and MP4, so I could embed the file locally, just for the heck of it, and I have not fully mastered the compression options. I would have gotten better results out of the box and better browser interoperability if I had sent a hi res version to YouTube and let them process it, but it was interesting to experiment with HTML5.
- The brightness of the tree changes substantially as the sun goes in and out of cloud cover. Would have to watch for that type of thing in the future.
- A few frames have a bird flying through, resulting in a quick distraction. Would want to clean that up per frame, probably in Aperture before export.
- The sun began to introduce lens flare toward the end. Again goes to having to be aware of how the light will change over the course of the capture.
- The small movement of the leaves is annoying and distracts from the clouds. Need to watch for things in the frame which might “wiggle” over the course of the capture.
- During the first part at 1fps, the camera could not keep up once the buffer filled up, and some frames are dropped. This makes it a bit choppy toward the end of this segment. Would either need to run slower, or capture JPG and not raw, so that we are writing less data. In general, need to be sure of the max sustained frame rate for the given settings.
So a good experiment. I will have to find some more interesting subjects for another. And I also want to figure out a way to play with camera movement during the capture. I think it is really compelling when the camera angle drifts during the time lapse. But that will require carefully measured movements.