Author Topic: Cross-country drive-lapse  (Read 8739 times)

gimp

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Cross-country drive-lapse
« on: October 02, 2013, 07:23:02 PM »
So... here are about three questions all rolled into one.

I am preparing to do (several) cross-country drive-lapses. I'd like some feedback on my decisions thus far, and future ones.

My setup has me mounting my camera inside the car from the windshield. I am using:
- Canon T3 / 1100D
- Canon EF 20mm f/2.8, which becomes a 32mm full-frame equivalent on my 1.6x crop sensor
- Fat Gecko Mini Camera Mount
- Battery eliminator
- 128GB SDXC cards
- Circular Polarizer (because I'll be shooting through my windshield)

So my questions are:

1. What frame interval? Do I want a picture a second? Every two? Five? Ten, twenty, thirty seconds? I'd rather have more and cut down later, but on the other hand I'll be driving through thousands of miles of almost nothing changing.

2. Do I want to use the intervalometer or the FPS override? If I take pictures, I get sharper and better-resolution results, but I think that benefit is lost when downsampling to create a timelapse. Furthermore, using the shutter will lead to a very quick death at the framerate I'd prefer. However FPS override doesn't have exposure ramping that I am aware of, and it makes my camera very laggy, and I am concerned that if I lose a single video I will lose hours of footage. On the plus side, FPS override doesn't kill my shutter, and I can also max out the bitrate if I'm reducing the framerate down to 1fps or even less.

3. White balance, ISO, aperture, shutter, picture style. If I shoot RAW, I get to ignore picture style, and probably set WB to daylight or cloudy and adjust in post. If I shoot a video with FPS override, I should probably set the picture style (max sharpness, a slight bump in contrast and saturation, landscape), and probably still set WB to daylight or cloudy, but I won't really get to adjust it. If I use FPS override, and don't have ramping, then what would I do for ISO? Finally, I figure I'll use max aperture (less flicker, and I don't care about soft corners) and something like 1/30 to 1/60 shutter.

4. Any advice? I would love any advice anyone has, especially from people who have done something similar. The driving complicates things due to vibration and motion; the changing weather conditions are par for the course, but I'm not sure which settings to use with ML to overcome them. I'd also love to be able to get decent night shots, but I assume that's not possible due to the motion and vibration.

Thanks everyone!

crazyrunner33

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Re: Cross-country drive-lapse
« Reply #1 on: October 02, 2013, 08:04:16 PM »
Sounds like a fun project, I'd love to do the same someday when I retire.

1) Figure out the length of the video you'd like and take a rough guess of the length of each trip to get an idea of what shutter you'd like. At 24 fps and playback, 40 hours of driving and a 30 second interval you will end up with a little over 3 minutes, around 10 minutes if you use a 10 second interval.

2/3) I would debate between full pictures or silent DNG pictures. With the silent DNG you should be able to use the traditional intervalometer and have access to all those fun settings. You also don't have to open up the aperture all the way to prevent flickering, you can also stop it down and unscrew the lens a tad so the contacts aren't connecting.

5D Mark III, 7D

gimp

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Re: Cross-country drive-lapse
« Reply #2 on: October 02, 2013, 08:14:49 PM »
I'm looking at http://wiki.magiclantern.fm/userguide and I don't see anything about silent DNG, just silent 420/422 and JPEG conversion.

Also I think I'd rather have the aperture wide open - I legitimately like how it looks! I've done the unscrewing trick though.

gimp

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Re: Cross-country drive-lapse
« Reply #3 on: October 03, 2013, 08:21:08 PM »
Anyways, thanks a ton for the advice!

painya

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Re: Cross-country drive-lapse
« Reply #4 on: October 04, 2013, 06:59:27 AM »
If I were you I would put a ND filter on top of the polarizer so you can drag out the exposure, and it's one more piece of glass preventing a stray rock hitting the real glass :). With longer exposures the whole timelapse would be a lot smoother. Maybe a ten second interval depending on how much the landscape changes? If it doesn't change much I'd recommend towards 15.
Good footage doesn't make a story any better.

gimp

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Re: Cross-country drive-lapse
« Reply #5 on: October 04, 2013, 06:41:08 PM »
No stray rocks - camera is inside the car.

I considered the ND filter, yeah. I'll have to do the tests and run the numbers to see how much I need one, unless you're speaking from experience, in which case I'll defer to you. I've read on the interwebs that 1/30 is decent for getting a bit of motion blur while driving; do you think that's right?

guilhermemartins

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Re: Cross-country drive-lapse
« Reply #6 on: October 05, 2013, 12:14:53 AM »

No stray rocks - camera is inside the car.

I considered the ND filter, yeah. I'll have to do the tests and run the numbers to see how much I need one, unless you're speaking from experience, in which case I'll defer to you. I've read on the interwebs that 1/30 is decent for getting a bit of motion blur while driving; do you think that's right?

1/30 gets kindda weird for me. 1/40 is cool if you want a lot of motion blur.
BTW I shoot 23.97 so that mabe it.
I have been using ML for all my production company`s jobs since the release of 2.3. most of them available at.
www.mariachisaudiovisual.com.br

painya

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Re: Cross-country drive-lapse
« Reply #7 on: October 05, 2013, 01:38:39 AM »
Sorry I've done night car time lapses:) But yeah experiment, and it very well could be best at 1/30. I guess it depends what you are looking for.
Good footage doesn't make a story any better.

guilhermemartins

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Re: Cross-country drive-lapse
« Reply #8 on: October 05, 2013, 01:46:41 AM »
At night I do believe it makes sense to use 1/30. You wil get tracing lights and all...
I have been using ML for all my production company`s jobs since the release of 2.3. most of them available at.
www.mariachisaudiovisual.com.br

painya

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Re: Cross-country drive-lapse
« Reply #9 on: October 05, 2013, 01:48:17 AM »
It depends what the look you are trying to achieve is ;) , but 1/30 Might work just wonderfully for you so you can use that.
Good footage doesn't make a story any better.

gimp

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Re: Cross-country drive-lapse
« Reply #10 on: October 05, 2013, 01:49:29 AM »
Ah, if 1/40 is a lot of blur, then perhaps I should aim for closer to 1/60, which probably needs an ND filter even less, right? And yeah, I really like the night effect of the lights at slower shutters...

So many variables! I'll have to test out the 1/30 to 1/60 range in the day and at night and see what I like.

Does anyone have experience using FPS override for hours at a time? Can I turn off liveview while the recording happens? Will the sensor stay at a decent temperature?

gimp

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Re: Cross-country drive-lapse
« Reply #11 on: December 04, 2013, 08:36:48 PM »
Update. Did a test drive (pun!).

FPS override turned to 1FPS, set for FPS precision, and let the camera do the rest of the work.

It just works. It's incredible.

nigel

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Re: Cross-country drive-lapse
« Reply #12 on: March 10, 2014, 02:38:31 AM »
what were your final configurations?