Experimenting with Time Lapse

Only two days left until my last final for the semester, so what do I do? Not study! I SHOULD be studying, but then the entire Northeast coast got slammed with a snowstorm. The snow looked really cool outside my window, which meant… photography experiment time!

Recently I’ve been experimenting with Adobe After Effects and Adobe Premiere Pro. More on that later. I also recently got Nikon Camera Control Pro 2, which is Nikon’s tool for remote controlling their DSLRs from computers, which means I can now remote trigger my Nikon D60 over USB from my MacBook Pro. Awesomeness. Time for some snowstorm time lapse experimenting!

So on Friday night/Saturday morning, I pointed my D60 out the window and set Camera Control to take a picture every 40 seconds for 5 hours starting from 5 AM. Unfortunately, I forgot the charge the battery to the camera died 80 minutes into the experiment. Also, apparently the movement of the camera’s internal mirror is enough to cause the camera to shift a bit if not stabilized. As a result, the video is really short and not very stable. It’s not particularly good, but it’s a start:

This time lapse experiment also served a secondary purpose- to test out the planned workflow that we’re going to try using with the upcoming Omjii Show. I composited all of the video in Adobe After Effects and Adobe Premiere Pro and then used Apple Color to color grade the video. If you’re wondering why I’m using Apple Color but am using Premiere Pro instead of Final Cut Pro, it’s because I tend to favor things that plug into Adobe’s Creative Suite workflow but Adobe doesn’t have a color grader, whereas Apple has a really nice one.

Later in the afternoon, I decided to give the time lapse another shot. This time i remembered to charge the battery and stabilize the camera. The result:

The problem with attempting time-lapses with a DSLR is that the length of the time you can cover is limited by your battery, unless you have an extended battery or something. Another attempt, this time from Sunday:

I’m still working on getting the technique down, but I’ll post improved attempts and a detailed run-through of the process once I figure out how to stabilize better, among other things.