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View Full Version : GH2 Confused about timelapse with GH2



longcipher
03-20-2012, 10:37 AM
Please don't flame me - BUT - I've been reading various threads about the GH2 and timelapse and am actually confused at this point. What I want to do is pretty simple -- I need to shoot a couple short timelapses of a storefront for some marketing videos. I've read about using the mechanical shutter, the electronic shutter in burst mode, etc.

What exactly do I need --- which intervalometer works best with the GH2? -- and what is the best/easiest method? I want to get everything I need by this weekend so I can do some tests before next Tues & Wed's shoots.

Thanks!

Gary Huff
03-20-2012, 11:05 AM
:violent5:

ErikTande
03-20-2012, 11:25 AM
You could always just shoot a video and let it run. A 30 minute video played back at 5% or so will produce a pretty good timelapse. Photography will get you more resolution, in which case just grab one of these:

http://www.amazon.com/Studiohut-Control-Shutter-Panasonic-compatible/dp/B00404X7V6/

keylight
03-20-2012, 11:34 AM
This is what I own and use with my GH2. Available on Amazon (http://www.amazon.com/s?ie=UTF8&keywords=B00404X7V6&tag=keylightfilms-20&index=blended&link_code=qs&I1.x=9&I1.y=14):

50296 (http://www.amazon.com/s?ie=UTF8&keywords=B00404X7V6&tag=keylightfilms-20&index=blended&link_code=qs&I1.x=9&I1.y=14)

EDIT: I see someone posted the same thing while I was replying. So that's 2 votes for this little device.

Oh, and the Amazon.com description says: "Note: This remote has a fixed wire which can NOT be interchanged with other cables." It said this when I ordered mine about 4 months back, but the one they sent me has a detachable wire, which actually I prefer. If you order one, perhaps you could tell us if yours came with a detachable or fixed wire.

50298

daihard
03-20-2012, 02:14 PM
+1 for the intervalometer time controller. You can get these for like $12 and they simply plug into your GH2/1 and trigger the shutter.
I found that with my GH2 when using a class 10 card and shooting RAW, i had to turn the intervals down to 3 secs or longer (in day light). Any faster, and you camera may not have finished clearing it's buffer and wont take the next photo... so you'll have a small gap in your sequence. At night, its a whole different ball game, since you camera will need to be taking a longer exposure anyhow... so your looking at about 10-30 between each shot.





http://www.google.com/uds/css/small-logo.png

Jester2138
03-20-2012, 02:39 PM
The advantage of using an intervalometer and shooting JPEGs over simply time-warping a normal video is that the when shooting single JPEG images you can set the shutter speed to whatever you want - ideally half the shooting interval, which creates a very nice, cinematic 180 degree motion blur. You can always spot amateur timelapses right away based on the motion characteristics like that.

GH1_newguy
03-20-2012, 09:34 PM
Do you know if this will work with a GH1? The list of compatible cameras on Amazon shows the GH2, but does not call out the GH1.

longcipher
03-20-2012, 09:50 PM
Thanks folks! I just ordered my intervalometer with one-day shipping - it should be here on Thursday and I'll let you know about the cable. I'll do a couple practice shoots before Tuesday so I don't look like too much of a fool at the shoot. Again, thanks for the help!

ed_lee83
03-20-2012, 11:57 PM
I'm beginning to relegate my GH2 to a "timelapse camera". It's that good for it. 16:9 stills = awesome.
Good luck.

KarlSutton
03-21-2012, 08:00 AM
You can get these for like $12


Can someone suggest a $12 one? thanks.

aljudy
03-21-2012, 08:42 AM
Do you know if this will work with a GH1? The list of compatible cameras on Amazon shows the GH2, but does not call out the GH1.
I think the answer is yes. I had one, bought from a Hong Kong vendor in eBay, that works for the GH1. Then it now also works on the GH2 bought months afterwards,,, Al

GH1_newguy
03-21-2012, 04:06 PM
Thanks, Al. That sounds logical. If the device you bought works for both your GH1 and GH2, then the connector must be the same on both cams. Thanks for the info.

Per Lichtman
03-22-2012, 10:54 AM
Thanks, Al. That sounds logical. If the device you bought works for both your GH1 and GH2, then the connector must be the same on both cams. Thanks for the info.

I can confirm that. The jack is indeed the same for intervalometers (2.5mm input, etc.)

Also, having shot a lot of timelapse with it, I would note a few things if this is your first shoot.

- Set your white balance to anything other than AWB before you shoot. Otherwise the color varies.
- Shoot in manual mode, unless you want flicker as aperture or shutter adjusts over the shoot.
- Set your focus to manual. I cannot stress this enough. Every early shoot where I forgot to do this ended up unusable.
- Shooting at your maximum resolution and 16:9 mode gives you the maximum flexibility for post (pan and crop/Ken Burns effect) or for the future (4K projection, etc.). Remember that all film aspect ratios commonly in use are 16:9 or wider (2.35/2.39/2.40 to one being very common) so there is usually not point in a more vertical aspect ratio for timelapse.
- Slower shutter speeds mean less chance of shutter variation over the course of the shoot.

Good luck!

stoneinapond
03-22-2012, 11:41 AM
- Shoot in manual mode, unless you want flicker as aperture or shutter adjusts over the shoot.

Thanks, all good points. However, how do you deal with changing light conditions like during a sunrise?

Per Lichtman
03-22-2012, 12:42 PM
@stoneinapond

There are a lot of different ways to deal with it, but it is a tricky problem. Personally, since I've been shoot an average of 600,000-1.2 million timelapse exposures for while now, I don't mind shooting a lot of additional exposures through bracketing.

The GH2 isn't as flexible as the recent top of the line Canon or Nikon cameras when bracketing, nor does it compare to the flexibility of their cheaper ones in concert with a Promote Systems Promote Control. But it can do 7 exposures at 1 stop intervals (a 7 stop range that compares nicely to the 5 stop range available with the onboard bracketing for say a Canon 50D). That's not enough to fully capture the light change from sunset to dark, but if you set your lowest exposure to overexpose slightly, you'll be able to do pretty decently.

These exposures can then be crossfaded in your timeline. There are various approaches to this, but I personally using the "decimate by x" feature in VirtualDub to create a video clip for each set of exposures. Another approach is to use a program like Photomatix Pro to merge to HDR and tonemap.

Note that "merging to HDR" does not tend to work very well when most of the exposures are black, though. :) You can use the same program use an averaging algorithim.

Another option (that unfortunately I have yet to see demonstrated on the GH2) is bulb-ramping (where the shutter speed gets varied smoothly over time instead of re-calculated for each exposure). This is an optional addition to the Promote Control and may be included in the Magic Lantern Firmware hack for Canon cameras.

Anyway, long story short - it's not the easiest thing to deal with and there's no perfect approach. I almost never shoot a shot that changes in light that much with the GH2 and rely on a Canon DSLR instead. If you go the Canon route, you usually have your choice of the Promote Control or Magic Lantern Firmware.

I haven't ever used Magic Lantern because at least one high profile individual had it brick their camera and I'm a little cautious (though it was likely a highly unusual incident).

If you want to know more about timelapse, TimeScapes.org is a good resource.

Per Lichtman
03-22-2012, 12:53 PM
By the way, I used to shoot timelapse in program mode on a Panasonic travel-zoom. Looking back on it, I really notice the flicker I mentioned as the camera increased and decreased shutter speed throughout sunrise or sunset shoots.

However, it was great for night shoots. Setting the exposure to +2EV in program mode (the camera didn't have manual) and shooting 1 second exposures at ISO 100 gave some great sequences that I look back on much more fondly.

stoneinapond
03-22-2012, 01:27 PM
The GH2 isn't as flexible as the recent top of the line Canon or Nikon cameras when bracketing, nor does it compare to the flexibility of their cheaper ones in concert with a Promote Systems Promote Control. But it can do 7 exposures at 1 stop intervals (a 7 stop range that compares nicely to the 5 stop range available with the onboard bracketing for say a Canon 50D). That's not enough to fully capture the light change from sunset to dark, but if you set your lowest exposure to overexpose slightly, you'll be able to do pretty decently.

I'm not sure I understand how bracketing can be used in a longer series of exposures.

And sunset to dark seems easier to achieve than dark to sunrise.



Another option....is bulb-ramping (where the shutter speed gets varied smoothly over time instead of re-calculated for each exposure).

I remember seeing a video of that technique a while back. If memory serves, the person I saw doing it had a homemade contraption that looked very complex. But it seemed like a very good way to go.

Many thanks for your response.

Per Lichtman
03-22-2012, 01:52 PM
@stoneinapond The device I think you're remembering is the "Little Bramper" with Bramper being derived from "bulb-ramper". I was intrigued by it and glad to see them implement some of that functionality in the Promote Systems Promote Control. The Promote Control is generally simple to use, but I haven't tried a bulb-ramping sequence with it yet. Hopefully next month. Though I believe the Little Bramper had the capacity to connect a light meter in some complex fashion, something that the Promote Control (last I checked) does not.

As to the bracketed timelapse question, here is how it works on the GH2.

- Configure your bracketing settings in the menu. I typically have it set the shooting order as "-, 0, +" so that I can make better sense of it later.
- Turn the dial on top-front-right of the GH2 to bracket mode (one step below burst mode).
- Make sure that you're shooting to the right aspect ratio and file format (as RAW files are usually too big for a long timelapse).
- Set your intervalometer to shoot a sequence of "" exposures (on most intervalometers that would mean infinite) and then set the exposure time for each set to be long enough to shoot a full bracketed set.
- Set your intervalometer to shoot each sequence at the desired interval, but test to make sure that card activity indicator (the one on the upper right hand of the GH2 screen) stops showing between each sequence. Otherwise, you'll run into problems.
- Start your timelapse sequence.

That way, when you go to edit the sequence, you'll have a 7 stop range of exposures to choose from and cross-fade for your final sequence. When done well, this is almost entirely transparent, depending on the amount of motion in the scene.

As regards separating the images shoot at each exposure setting into their own sequences, that's a software specific issue. Like I said, I use VirtualDub and save each exposure as its own video file before I open them in my NLE.

Another option is to use thumbnail view in an image browser (or the Finder or Windows Explorer) and resize that view until each row has the same number of pictures, then lasso a selection around the column of pictures you want and drop them into a folder named after the exposure (-3, -2, -1, 0, +1, +2, +3).

After that, you may need to use a renaming tool to get your video software to see them as a sequence. Fast Stone Image Viewer and Adobe Lightroom have that functionality built in.

It's not that hard, but I'd be lying if I said I couldn't understand why some photographers hire me to do it for them.

Per Lichtman
03-22-2012, 01:53 PM
Oh, and the original credit for the "lasso selection" idea goes to MiLapse, who tossed the idea my way back in 2010 when I first had that issue on my old TZ-5. :)

stoneinapond
03-22-2012, 02:05 PM
Per,

Please indulge me one more time. What you are saying is that I do a regular timelapse, but each single shot would include a bracketed sequence?

keylight
03-22-2012, 02:32 PM
Per,

Please indulge me one more time. What you are saying is that I do a regular timelapse, but each single shot would include a bracketed sequence?


Start with a single still photo:

If you shoot a bracket of 5 photos, you can later select the one photo that has the best exposure and start developing that photo in lightroom/photoshop.

OR

You can merge the 5 photos together to get a single HDR photo.



Okay, since a timelapse sequence is nothing more than playing back a series of still photos (let's call them frames that you play back at 30 fps), you can do the same thing with the timelapse.

Only when shooting for timelapse, if you're doing a sunset shot, set your EV-2 so that it is correctly exposed (your EV+2 will be grossly over-exposed).

Here's an example (note that I shot this sequence to do an HDR, so the EV-2 is too dark to be my "correctly exposed" image but it's still useful for illustrating purposes):

50408

So you shoot each frame bracketed and then separate the various exposures to create 5 identical sequences. So all EV -2 photos go into 1 folder, EV-1 in a second folder, EV 0 in a third folder, EV+1 in a forth folder, and of course EV+2 in a fifth folder.

So after putting them into 5 folders (using the method attributed to milapse but done by a lot of people for years before):

50409

Then you go into each folder and batch rename all the images in the EV-2 folder so they are sequential (I use this super powerful renaming tool: Advanced Renamer (http://www.advancedrenamer.com/)). Import the EV-2 sequence into your NLE and you've got a timelapse that is under exposed by EV-2. Do the same thing for each of the other 4 folders and you'll have 5 separate and identical sequences, the only difference being the exposure. You can then cross dissolve between these 5 sequences as you wish.

So your EV-2 sequence would be exposed correctly at the start of the sequence, and by the end, your EV+2 will be exposed correctly.

Now, you can extend this whole process out even further if you have a long enough interval between frames. How? Add a full stop ND to the front of your lens and start your EV-2 correctly exposed. By the time your EV 0 is the correctly exposed image in your bracket, carefully pull the ND filter and your EV-1 will become your correctly exposed image.

stoneinapond
03-22-2012, 02:38 PM
Keylight,

Thanks very much. Got it.

GrahamH
03-22-2012, 02:41 PM
Interesting discussion. I didn't see anyone mention that you can get respectable timelapse simply by hacking the firmware. Not necessarily as flexible as the methods being discussed here, but hey it's free!

http://vimeo.com/m/31989989

keylight
03-22-2012, 02:47 PM
Keylight,

Thanks very much. Got it.

FYI, just moved some files around and took some screenshots, which I've added to my reply above.....

Per Lichtman
03-22-2012, 03:19 PM
@GrahamH Actually, that was mentioned early on. But it has two major limitations: shutter speed and resolution.

I honestly find it slightly baffling when people choose to shoot timelapse at a lower resolution (like 2K) when they could do it 3K, 4K, 5K, etc.

If intervalometers were more expensive, I could understand, but from my perspective there are relatively few scenarios where shooting timelapse in video mode could be considered a better (or even comparable) alternative. The main reason people usually give is that they don't want to wear out the shutter.

Per Lichtman
03-22-2012, 03:32 PM
@StoneInAPond I'm glad Keylight answered your question already. :) A few additional notes on shooting.

- If you are going to be adjusting anything on your camera during the shoot, make sure your tripod and camera are very secure. There is nothing worse than having the shoot broken in half by unintended motion. That's why I generally don't muck around with it - I often carry too many cameras on a shoot to be able to use an especially heavy tripod for each one without an assistant.

- Whether you set -2EV to be a proper exposure or to be over-exposed at the start of the sunset depends on how long you'll be shooting before vs after the sunset. If the bulk of your shots will be before the sunset, this makes sense. I usually start my shoots an hour before sunset or less so I try to over-expose -2EV so that I can go longer into the night before I'm too underexposed.

When I use my Promote Control, I'll often use brackets across 16 stops (instead of 7 stops) for a transition like that.

Oh and if you're checking out renaming tools "Renamer" is another great one from http://www.den4b.com.

stoneinapond
03-22-2012, 07:39 PM
FYI, just moved some files around and took some screenshots, which I've added to my reply above.....

Just saw them. Awesome. And I liked the timelapse.

Many thanks

stoneinapond
03-22-2012, 07:46 PM
- If you are going to be adjusting anything on your camera during the shoot, make sure your tripod and camera are very secure. There is nothing worse than having the shoot broken in half by unintended motion.

Yeah, already learnt that one.



- Whether you set -2EV to be a proper exposure or to be over-exposed at the start of the sunset depends on how long you'll be shooting before vs after the sunset. If the bulk of your shots will be before the sunset, this makes sense. I usually start my shoots an hour before sunset or less so I try to over-expose -2EV so that I can go longer into the night before I'm too underexposed.

Thing is, I want to do the opposite, a sunrise. I guess I'm going to have to do it across two mornings, one to see what the maximum daylight exposure should be and then the shoot the next morning.



Oh and if you're checking out renaming tools "Renamer" is another great one from http://www.den4b.com.

Windows only. But I'll find something. Thanks again.

keylight
03-22-2012, 08:45 PM
Thing is, I want to do the opposite, a sunrise. I guess I'm going to have to do it across two mornings, one to see what the maximum daylight exposure should be and then the shoot the next morning.

Here's a Mac renaming tool that others on the site have mentioned: R-name (http://www.macupdate.com/app/mac/12259/r-name)

As for setting up exposure for a sunrise: Look up the time for sunrise and sunset for your location. The night before your sunrise, check your exposure levels the same amount of time before sunset as you plan on shooting for the END of the sunrise. You can then work backwards. So if you want to shoot from before sunrise to 30 minutes after sunrise, record the levels at 30 minutes before sunset. That'll be what you want to set your camera to so EV-2 will properly expose (or if you're doing 9 brackets, EV-3). Won't be exactly right, but will be close.

On a separate note, keep in mind that you should test how long it takes to record all the images in a bracket set to memory. You need to make sure the camera's buffer is totally empty before firing your next bracket set, or over time you camera buffer will fill up and you'll start missing shots. On my old D200 (which is what I shot that timelapse I posted earlier in the thread) I needed an interval of 8 seconds when shooting a bracket of 5 shots. If I had an interval of 7 seconds, then the camera buffer would have still been writing last image to memory while firing the first image of the next bracket set. I seem to recall the D200 had enough buffer to hold about 25 jpgs in buffer, and after 40 bracket sets the buffer would finally be full and the camera would start delaying firing new frames until space in the buffer opened.

This buffer issue is a function of 2 things - the speed at which your camera can process and transfer images from buffer to memory, and the speed of the memory.

You might check out this blog post (http://m43photo.blogspot.com/2011/05/gh2-buffer-flush-speed.html) for more information on buffer issue as it relates to the GH2. This site (http://www.imaging-resource.com/PRODS/DMCGH2/DMCGH2A6.HTM) posts the buffer flush speeds for the GH2 as follows:




2 seconds after 9 Large/Fine JPEGs
15 seconds after 7 RAW files
22 seconds after 7 RAW+ L/F JPEG files

*Note: Buffer clearing times measured with a SanDisk Extreme III 30MB/sec 8GB SDHC card. Slower cards will produce correspondingly slower clearing times. Slow cards may also limit length of bursts in continuous mode. ISO sensitivity and noise reduction settings can also affect cycle times and burst mode performance.






The GH2 is one of the slower cameras these days, and shooting bracketed RAW isn't normally a viable option. Of course, I prefer shooting RAW, but if I'm doing a shot with a lot of transition (sunrise, sunset, clear to cloudy, direct sunlight to shade...) then I'll do bracketed jpgs.

Good luck. Hope you'll post your results.

dcloud
03-23-2012, 01:37 AM
https://vimeo.com/38857880 heres some GH2 & af100 timelapse i did

stoneinapond
03-23-2012, 08:03 AM
Here's a Mac renaming tool that others on the site have mentioned: R-name (http://www.macupdate.com/app/mac/12259/r-name)

Good luck. Hope you'll post your results.

Keylight - excellent information. So helpful. Will download the Mac app.

Obviously right now I have a lot of experimentation to go through, to figure out buffer rates, exposures, tests to make sure I can do this in my sleep. This is really very early preparation for a trip to Hawaii in September where I want to timelapse the sunrise over Haleakala in Maui. I will most probably only have one attempt at it and I want to try and get something out of it!

So yes, I'll post my attempt even if it's only merely close to acceptable. But it will be a while. :thumbsup:

In the meantime, again, many thanks. Love this place.

Per Lichtman
03-23-2012, 01:24 PM
@StoneInAPond If you are shooting sunrises instead of sunsets, you can also reverse my advice.

- Set +3EV to be as dark as you are comfortable with for your dark exposures. The more you underexpose that part, the longer you can go into the daytime before it overexposes heavily.
- Clouds, water, citylights, etc. all have more reflected light so you make it easier to maintain interest in the timelapse during the dark period if you have at least some discernable visual interest like that. Without an element like that, it will be difficult to underexpose sufficiently to make the technique work.

Also, Panasonic reported that they shortened the time required to shoot a bracketed sequence in Firmware 1.11 from version 1.0, so if you haven't updated yet, you might want to try that.

@KeyLight Glad to see you echo my earlier advice about checking the buffer when setting the intervalometer.

stoneinapond
03-23-2012, 03:26 PM
- Set +3EV to be as dark as you are comfortable with for your dark exposures. The more you underexpose that part, the longer you can go into the daytime before it overexposes heavily.
- Clouds, water, citylights, etc. all have more reflected light so you make it easier to maintain interest in the timelapse during the dark period if you have at least some discernable visual interest like that. Without an element like that, it will be difficult to underexpose sufficiently to make the technique work.

Also, Panasonic reported that they shortened the time required to shoot a bracketed sequence in Firmware 1.11 from version 1.0, so if you haven't updated yet, you might want to try that.

All wonderful advice. Yes, I upgraded my firmware, so that is good. I think in my specific case there will little to see prior to sunrise, but I won't really know until I get there. If I have time I may go up there the night before and do a sunset.

Any general advice on lenses to use? My initial thought was that they should be fast, but perhaps that is not necessary. Would love to hear any opinions.

Thanks!

keylight
03-23-2012, 04:36 PM
Any general advice on lenses to use? My initial thought was that they should be fast, but perhaps that is not necessary. Would love to hear any opinions.

Thanks!

The GH2 is pretty bad in low light. I would go with a fast lens to try to capture any remaining stars in the twilight before sunrise. Even more so because you'll be shooting in an area where you should have a pretty dark sky.

stoneinapond
03-23-2012, 05:34 PM
I would go with a fast lens to try to capture any remaining stars in the twilight before sunrise. Even more so because you'll be shooting in an area where you should have a pretty dark sky.

Hadn't even thought of that. That's exciting if the weather holds. I hope I can capture what I'm seeing in my head.

Time to get down to some work!

Hope I'm not being redundant with another hearty round of thanks. :thumbsup:

keylight
03-23-2012, 09:47 PM
Did a quick informal test this evening with 2 different SD cards. I set the camera to manual, with a shutter speed of 1 second, recording RAW, in burst L mode.

The first card was a 32GB Class 10 Adata that's given me a lot of reliable performance. After 23 seconds of photos, it started to slow down (the buffer was full).

The second card was the new version of the SanDisk Extreme (45 MB/s) (http://www.amazon.com/s?ie=UTF8&keywords=B004Q3C98S&tag=keylightfilms-20&index=blended&link_code=qs&I1.x=6&I1.y=17) that I got on Amazon. (Note some of the pics on Amazon show the older 30MB/s card, but they're shipping the newer 45MB/s card now.) This card kept recording photos for about 1 1/2 minutes before it started slowing.

I then tested write speed of a single RAW photo:

Adata took almost 4 seconds to write to memory.
SanDisk took almost 2 seconds to write to memory.

So using the SanDisk, I could do a RAW timelapse with a 1 second shutter and an interval of 3 seconds, and I should be good. Using the Adata, I'd bump that up to an interval of 5 seconds (6 to be safe).

GH1_newguy
03-28-2012, 05:09 PM
Thanks for confirming that the intervalometer works with the GH1, and also for all of the other great advice from everyone in this thread. I've never tried any time-lapse, but I enjoy the effects (when done well). I hope to acquire an intervalometer before my vacation in a few weeks. I should even have some time to try it out, since, well: I'll be on vacation for a week, and not slaving away too many hours/day at work. :-) I'll be sure to take advantage of all the great advice in this thread. DVXUser is a really special forum where experts willingly share some of their hard-earned tips that are clearly based on real experience (and usually have links to some of their work to demonstrate results).

keylight
04-04-2012, 02:51 AM
FYI, here's a timelapse that used the technique I described earlier in this thread (http://www.dvxuser.com/V6/showthread.php?277972-Confused-about-timelapse-with-GH2&p=1986108812&viewfull=1#post1986108812). Shot it last fall, never did anything with it and came across it this evening and threw it together. Some flickering in a few spots, which GBDeflicker could probably have dealt with, but not worth the time to go back and re-render.


http://vimeo.com/39756542