Monday, May 31, 2010

I Madonnari - 2010

Okay, I figured out how to put together my stop motion/time lapse video. It was a bit of work, but that was because I was learning as I went along. I thought I'd share a bit about the process.

First, you need a digital camera has a built-in intervalometer, or can be attached to an external one. Review how use the intervalometer, something I didn't do. On my first try at this, I'd set the camera to take 9 photos per second, essentially shooting in burst mode. This exceeded how fast the camera could write to my CF card and gave me my desired 300 shots in less than a minute.

We learn from our mistakes, and I learned to set the intervalometer to shoot accordingly. One shot every 5 seconds for twenty-five minutes. That got me to the 300 shots I wanted.

Some things to keep in mind when doing this:

1. Make sure you have a full battery and a back-up battery.
2. Make sure you have a memory card big enough to hold the data.
3. Shoot in Jpeg mode (I discovered that I can probably shoot in Jpeg medium).
4. After you've set your exposure, you want to leave the camera in manual mode to keep the exposure consistent.
5. Turn off the rear LCD display while you're doing this to extend battery life.
6. Have a good location and the time to do this. I needed about 30 minutes of uninterrupted time.

When all is said and done, pull your memory card from your camera and set your camera back to your normal shooting settings.

You're going to want to put the photos from your shoot in its own folder on your computer (more on that below).

It's important that you try to nail down your exposure as much as possible in the camera so you don't have to do it in post. You're trying to have as consistent a look to the photos over the length of time you're shooting. I know lighting changes, so that's a big challenge.

Once you're back safely behind your computer you can download your images. As I mentioned before, put your images in their own folder. This will make your life much easier. Keep everything together for any post processing, and for creating the stop motion/time lapse video.

I used QuickTime Pro to this. This meant upgrading, but that's a simple matter. An upgrade is essentially getting a key from Apple to unlock all the capabilities of the QuickTime Player (make sure your software is up-to-date).

Using QuickTime Pro the next step is to "Open Image Sequence" found under the file option. Set your frame rate. I decided on 10 Frames Per Second (FPS) - it makes the math easy, and was what I was after to begin with. Click on the first image in the folder you made for this. The program will then add every image in that folder (now you see another reason you want your sequence of images in their own folder).

Now you can watch what you've shot as a time lapse movie. Cool. Next step save this file. It will save as a .mov file.

In my little video you'll notice titles and music. That was added by using a program called Proshow Gold from Photodex. Note: I made the music first using a program called Mixcraft from Acoustica and added it to my Proshow project.

Proshow Gold and Mixcraft are PC programs. If you're using a Mac, you'd probably want to use iMovie and GarageBand to put your time lapse video together.

Ok. That's everything I could think of off the top of my head.

Oh, except time. You need to set aside a few hours for a project like this... shooting, and post.

Have fun...
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