Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Something A Bit Different

I'm a DVD editor and cameraman in the real world. So it's only natural that some of my photographic tendencies tend to mutate towards video (I'm also considering freelancing as a videographer, not sure about it yet though). The obvious crossover point for me is timelapse videos.

They're still very much something I'm experimenting with, they take time and that's something I don't seem to have very much of at the moment. Having said that I'm pleased with the results that I have got.

Here's an early one, put together with my old EOS 450D. I used star trail stacking software to create it (a 'cumulative stack'). Don't ask what the shot interval was, I just locked the shutter down and hoped for the best! The bright heads of the trails were created by overlaying an ordinary timelapse over the cumulative stack images.

Fast forward to last weekend and I went out to play with my new HD Hero2. I'd seen a few videos on YouTube about using a kitchen timer as a cheap panning mount for timelapses, and immediately hit eBay and got myself a stainless steel Ikea timer. Here it is, with the standard GoPro sticky pad and long cam mount:

Preparations complete, it was off into the lawless wilds of Lincolnshire to find a decent view. I was lucky enough to stumble upon a drainage ditch near Bassingham with a flat-topped concrete culvert, right by the road. I set the HD Hero to take a photo every two seconds, gave the timer a twist, plonked it down and ran away for half an hour.

Once I got home I created the actual movie in Premiere, which is ideal for timelapses for two reasons. The first is that it will import image sequences - nothing that unique there. The other is that it natively works with full-res images, unlike Avid which I use in the day job. So once the image sequence was imported I could choose pretty much any crop I wanted - HD Heros photograph at 5 megapixels which gives an image significantly larger than HD's 1920x1080 pixels. A bit of rendering later and here's the result:

I'm really happy with this - I got the boiling clouds that I was after and, apart from some slight jerkiness from the clockwork mechanism, I'm happy with the panning. Not to mention that most of Lincolnshire's wildlife seems to have wanted a taste of celebrity!

I'll definitely be doing more of these, obviously the HD Hero gives an interesting effect with it's wide-angle lens but in the interests of variety I'll definitely be looking into building a panning rig and a dolly for my EOS 7D as well. I've got a few big ideas for it but mainly I'll do it because it's fun - and a way to keep the skills sharp until I have another trip out of the flatlands and take some real photographs!

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