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MichaelA
06-08-2016, 03:26 PM
Hi all!

I'm experimenting. So this is a test. It is only a test.

Taking the camera to work very early and recording a 1 hour city-scape time lapse of the sun coming up (not into the sun but looking south) from my 10th story office window. My first attempt was with everything in full auto. I thought auto would be the best way for it to compensate for the increasing brightness since I can't exactly change setting manually. Well... it's crap :furious3:. The graininess until the scene brightened was totally unacceptable (any attempt to de-noise in post only turned it further to s*%t), and the auto focus "didn't" until there was sufficient brightness for it to wake up (or perhaps it was trying to focus on the window pane...) but until then the focus was just a bit "off". At any rate, quite disappointing.

I'm going to try again tomorrow with the following changes but still in auto; Auto gain set to a maximum of 2000 ISO (still think is DSLR terms, sorry); Focus will be locked on infinity; high sensitivity will be switched on.

I'll post up the attempts tomorrow when I have a second one to compare to. But I'm scratching my head a bit on this.... Am I even attacking this correctly with my assumption that "auto" would best adjust for the increasing brightness? If this isn't generally considered the right approach I'm open to suggestions as to initial manual settings. Fortunately, this is just a test - but I would like later to be able to use this in the field to get some sunrise time-lapses that could be used in some projects if I can get a "basic formula" derived. Based on attempt #1, I'm concerned; I've gotten way better out of my GoPro 3+Black! I know this thing can (should) do a bit better!?

Comment is certainly invited!

MichaelA
06-08-2016, 03:35 PM
What the heck. Here's the first try. Note that at 6 seconds in the focus "focuses" and things get a bit better. Oh, and next time I'll turn off the front red record LED so it's not reflecting back in the window. No noise reduction or corrections, this is straight out of the camera:
https://vimeo.com/169932569

MichaelA
06-08-2016, 05:13 PM
Couple people PM'd about the GoPro time lapse for comparison. Here it is. Shot in RAW, corrected with a LUT & lens correction for fisheye...


https://vimeo.com/153830919

MichaelA
06-09-2016, 05:44 AM
Well, looks like this is turning into a monolog... but for the sake of the next guy who may be messing about with time lapses... Test #2: Full auto BUT; manual focus; ISO limited to 2000; High sensitivity; auto slow shutter; 1080p/30fps; straight out of the camera - nothing done to it. Much, much better!

Larry Chapman
06-09-2016, 07:00 AM
Well, looks like this is turning into a monolog... but for the sake of the next guy who may be messing about with time lapses... Test #2: Full auto BUT; manual focus; ISO limited to 2000; High sensitivity; auto slow shutter; 1080p/30fps; straight out of the camera - nothing done to it. Much, much better!

I shot this a couple days after I bought the camera. Loved the results. I babysat the settings. I shot it in 4K....curious why you didn't?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZEC8zOjV2e8

MichaelA
06-09-2016, 07:43 AM
Hey Larry! Looks great! I'm just shooting some test stuff that I can upload and move around kinda quick. Once I get the basics sorted I'm going to play a bit more with the 4k stuff. My computer at work can't handle 4K so my morning tests are 1080. Can't seem to embed this morning effort from work - probably our firewalls so I'll do it from home later but came out much better...

MichaelA
06-09-2016, 01:28 PM
OK... here's this mornings attempt. Much better.....


https://vimeo.com/170005983

mapper65
06-09-2016, 01:34 PM
Looks very good!

MichaelA
06-09-2016, 01:50 PM
Thanks Mapper! This thing has a long exposure shutter - like up to 2 seconds. I'd love to turn the gain down and use it since it would probably wipe out any graininess, but then what happens when the sun comes up? Can the exposure compensate enough if left on auto? Probably going to be my next test.... Oh, BTW, this is being shout out a pretty dirty window so some of the "noise" can't be helped!

mapper65
06-09-2016, 07:27 PM
Thanks Mapper! This thing has a long exposure shutter - like up to 2 seconds. I'd love to turn the gain down and use it since it would probably wipe out any graininess, but then what happens when the sun comes up? Can the exposure compensate enough if left on auto? Probably going to be my next test.... Oh, BTW, this is being shout out a pretty dirty window so some of the "noise" can't be helped!

Im really not sure if that will work correctly with the gain in auto. There are some settings in the scene file that have to do with exposure that may limit what you are trying to do if you don't mess with them a little.

I think you are going to save a bunch of us a lot of time if you can get this ironed out. Time lapse is one of those things that many people avoid because of the trail and error that you are going through right now but I think if you can get everything figured out then maybe some of us will use your settings. I've done a lot of time lapse stuff with the iPhone 6s but doing a sunrise or sunset may be out of the relhm of an iPhone.

mschagen
06-11-2016, 07:33 AM
I would do an attempt where I fix all settings to values appropriate for the conditions when the timelapse will end i.e. the brightest moment, exposure, whitebalance etc. The clip will start off darker, but a viewer would expect the image to start off dark and then become brighter as the sun comes up, so that shouldn't matter. It will propably also start off more blue-ish but that's not necessarily bad. And when the whitebalance is fixed it is easier to correct in post then when you use awb. I hope that where you live the weather is somewhat predictable, contstant. That would make it easier to repeat.

MichaelA
06-11-2016, 11:49 AM
Thanks! It's always a bit of a challenge... do you set up for where it starts OR where it ends. I guess I was trying to split the difference by using auto settings as much as I could. I'm going to do another test basically doing what you suggested, setting up for the end point. Was going to try Friday but was overcast. I'll see how it does and post pack!

JRJphoto
06-12-2016, 09:17 AM
Lock your settings for the brightest part of the finished sequence. Never ever use auto for something as precise as time lapse. Set up your camera, lock it. Setup the camera in daylight so you can get the right settings. Then hours before sunrise you either setup the camera again precisely how it was, or it already is setup so you just turn it on and hit record. This seeing in the dark with mega gain is not what time lapse is about. You should be dragging your shutter, anyway.

MichaelA
10-28-2017, 08:44 AM
"I think you are going to save a bunch of us a lot of time if you can get this ironed out. Time lapse is one of those things that many people avoid because of the trail and error that you are going through right now but I think if you can get everything figured out then maybe some of us will use your settings."

Reviving an old thread.

Over the last year, I've been messing about with time lapse stuff. What I've learned is that sunrise/sunset stuff is the hardest to pull off.
During these little exercises I ended up learning quite a bit about the DVX as well as general best practices.
So in the interests of "paying it forward" for the next guy who may be curious about using their DVX for a similar application, I've typed up my notes on what I have learned so far. Now I'm not an expert, so if I have misstated something or incorrectly provided a bit of info, PLEASE CORRECT ME! A lot of guys on here have been in the game longer than me and I really value their advise!

Next post contains my notes...

MichaelA
10-28-2017, 08:52 AM
DVX 200 Time Lapse Manual Settings
And stuff I learned doing sunrise/sunset time-lapses with my DVX200.

1) UHD/FHD Settings
I use dual record FHD and UHD at 39.97 for almost all my stuff. For time lapse stuff it works well since I have a UHD “master” for zooming and messing about in post. Read Barry’s book, page 192, for a discussion on how time lapse or interval recording setting CAN mess with SOME FHD/UHD settings and frequencies.

Why? Because it’s always good to RTFM anyway!

I’m not doing a sunrise or sunset. Does it matter?
It could. Barry sorts it out pretty well. For the most part you should be OK, but knowledge is power and best to read that section to be fully in the know!

2) Focus (Manual preferred)
This is tricky. Auto focus can go nuts in low light if it doesn’t have anything to focus on, or if it changes its mind as the scene darkens/lightens. Each situation is going to be different, and all’s fair in how you get focus, but keep it in manual so it doesn’t change on you! I’ll go so far as to set focus the evening before while there is light, note it, don’t mess with it, and then when I arrive early in the AM for the shoot it SHOULD be where I left it. BUT things like temperature changes can mess with this. Hopefully there will be something out there at the time of the shoot to get a good focus pull on. Don’t trust auto unless lighting is constant. Same goes for “area mode”.

Why? Because out of focus shots suck and you don’t want to waste your time! If you’re not very familiar with manual focusing here is a great chance to learn! All the focus assist features in the DVX will now become your new best friend!

I’m not doing a sunrise or sunset. Does it matter?
It still does, but life gets a lot easier as you can focus as you would normally.

3) White Balance
Sunset/Sunrise: Set white balance to either 5600K (daylight) or 3990K (tungsten). It’s almost impossible to get a good manual WB in the middle of the night if there are no other lights being used.

Why? If you use auto white balance it could go a little nuts from frame to frame as it “hunts” for what it thinks is the correct setting. This could cause color flicker in the final playback.

Which preset do I use? Individual preference, daylight settings will bring out the blues and oranges a bit more. Tungsten tends to favor the orange & yellow. Either way, WB is the easiest thing to correct in post if you need to adjust it. The choice may depend on the NEXT scene in your project. If you are cutting back to an indoor scene, maybe the tungsten will flow better. Same for going from/to an outdoor scene where 5600K could help keep any big color shifts to a minimum.

I’m not doing a sunset or sunrise and my light is stable. What do I use?
If your scene has stable light a regular or manual WB or auto WB will work fine.

4) Interval
The DVX under the “record setup”, “interval rec” menu allows for 1, 10, & 30 second, and 1 and 2 minute intervals. Pick one after you figure out your playback time needed and “smoothness” appropriate for the project. There are on-line interval calculators to help with this since it’s going to depend on your finished payback framerate. NOTE that this is a bit different than “variable frame rate” which is another matter altogether!

Why? No interval, no time-lapse! Simple as that!

5) Shutter speed (auto)
Things can get interesting here…. If you are doing the sunrise/sunset thing go to auto on the shutter speed and allow automatic slow shutter to function. This can drag the shutter speed down to second for a longer exposure which you could never get at normal shooting frame rates. Also, see the "Anything Else" section at the end for an alternate methodology using a fixed manual shutter speed that may work for you. Or not. Depends on the project and look you are going after!

Why? So your scene doesn’t just fade to black after the sun goes down! A longer exposure will be needed to compensate for the period of diminished light or from dark to increasing light and we are setting the camera up for what used to be called “aperture priority” whereby the shutter speed is going to be controlling exposure.

I’m not doing a sunrise or sunset. Does it matter?
In this case, not really. Stick with 180 degree or double your anticipated playback frame rate and it should all be good!

6) Aperture or Iris Setting (Manual)
Manual to fully open or as open (low numerically) as your zoom setting will allow (remember, the DVX zoom lens ramps, so you can only get “open” at the widest setting).

Why? Automatically adjusting iris in the middle of time-lapse cause’s headaches because the brightness of the individual shots can change as the auto iris tries to make up its mind. You’ll see this as a flickering sky during playback as the light increases or decreases. We don’t want that. Lock it open and eliminate the problem! Remember, the auto shutter is going to sort out the exposure and it has a range of second to 1/2,000 of a second. It has the latitude to compensate on its own.

I’m not doing a sunrise or sunset. Does it matter?
Probably not. But I’d advise keeping a manual correct exposure setting constant for the same reasons. IF your lighting is stable, then auto should be fine.

7) ISO/gain (I’m old school and still use ISO…)
For sunset/sunrises I’d keep it no higher than 1500. Maybe experiment with hi-sense mode. But the DVX isn’t a low light camera, so I wouldn’t push the ISO past 1500 in either regular or high sense. Go much past that and you could get a lot of noise in the image. Feel free to experiment. I’ve pushed it to 3000 but really wasn’t happy though it would probably be OK for a you-tube posting or something. Pushing the ISO past about 1500(ish) will also begin to tax the shutters ability to control exposure. It maxes out at 2,000th of a second and would probably need double that to compensate for a really high ISO.

Why? The longer shutter speed is going to work in our favor to minimize noise and grain by using a longer exposure than normal.

I’m not doing a sunrise or sunset. Does it matter?
In this case, not really. Stick with the ISO/gain that you are comfortable using or the shot requires.

8) Dynamic Range Stretching
Off or on at your preference. I rather like it on. It doesn’t give the camera any more dynamic range that it already has, it just “fakes it” a bit by keeping the blacks from being crushed too soon and the highlights useable just a bit more than if it is off. This could be a benefit during sunrise/sunset since you can’t really make any adjustments during the sequence shoot.

I’m not doing a sunrise or sunset. Does it matter?
In this case, not really. Use as appropriate for the scene you are shooting.

9) N/D Filters
Leave off. The shutter will compensate for us on this as the sun rises or sets.

Why? We need the light for exposure, N/D’s will knock that out and defeat the purpose.

I’m not doing a sunrise or sunset. Does it matter?
Maybe. Assuming your lighting is constant and the shot does indeed need an N/D filter, then set accordingly as you would do normally. However… if you’re shooting an above ground nuclear blast (could happen soon!) or someone arc welding or something weird like that, it may be good to turn them on…..

10) Anything else?
Ummm… not really, but here are just a few more practical tips:
Sunrise time lapse; bring coffee.
Sunset time-lapse; bring a beer.
Either way, make sure car headlights or any practical lighting around isn’t going to shine across the lens or scene.
Have as firm a tripod as you can and lock it down. Don’t allow for ANY movement. Shooting from a wooden deck or pier? Does it move when people walk by? Watch out for that! Don’t set your tripod on a park bench, either. They move and you may want to sit on it during the shoot anyway.
You can, alternately, set up the entire soot (say a sunrise) with the exposure AND shutter manually set and locked to the ending sequence light settings. This provides a totally different look that could work for your project but also could end up looking like a fade in from black. What I've tried to do in my notes is provide an alternative with longer usable scenes in the dark part of the sunset/sunrise. Your results or needs may vary!

Important: Get familiar with all the settings in your workshop or studio as a “dry run” BUT be aware the DVX may NOT remember all settings pertaining to a time-lapse if you power it off! Best to set up on location, power up, make your settings, and DON’T TURN IT OFF unless you are prepared to double check everything.

MichaelA
10-28-2017, 10:20 AM
https://vimeo.com/240300407
https://vimeo.com/240301894

The sunrise one was using a borrowed wide angle adapter and an early test of my settings to validate the auto shutter. Sorry, I don't recall the exact adapter, but think it was a Zunlow...

Design Media Consultants
10-28-2017, 02:39 PM
Hey Micheal, I don't know hardly anything about time lapse, and that is why I did not respond. But I do know that people who get super great results have often specialized in time lapse. They also pick subjects that lend themselves to time lapse. Maybe find vids of people explaining how they did it. I imagine it is not as easy as it looks. But you shoot good stuff, so I am sure with practice you will get it down. This is a good subject, and something I should start learning more about. Look forward to your future TL vids. keep us posted.

Design Media Consultants
10-28-2017, 02:44 PM
https://vimeo.com/240300407
https://vimeo.com/240301894

The sunrise one was using a borrowed wide angle adapter and an early test of my settings to validate the auto shutter. Sorry, I don't recall the exact adapter, but think it was a Zunlow...

Nice! You are getting it. Thanks for sharing

bpap
10-29-2017, 04:19 AM
@MichaelA
Very good job! I learn about it during the translation to german, when finished I have a guideline in german.
Thats in practice better for me.

Darren Levine
10-29-2017, 09:03 AM
I don't own a DVX200, but you're on the right track overall for timelapses, and each situation can be different. Some DSLRS can do an exposure ramp, and resulting flickering from changes typically are removed with software like flicker free.

I've done quite a few over the years, some with just sped up video, some with DSLR, some with gopro, all area dooable you just need to work with the best the equipment can do and understanding the situations. For DSLR shooting a sunrise/set, if i don't have ramping ability, i'll try to nail around 1 stop over the brightest point, then in editing i create two full sets of exposures, one for brightest, one for darkest, and then in editing i fade between the two. Some examples being at the end of this reel


https://vimeo.com/143746306

Design Media Consultants
10-29-2017, 09:39 AM
Hey Micheal this post should be a time lapse sticky! Some good stuff is being posted

Design Media Consultants
10-29-2017, 09:39 AM
I don't own a DVX200, but you're on the right track overall for timelapses, and each situation can be different. Some DSLRS can do an exposure ramp, and resulting flickering from changes typically are removed with software like flicker free.

I've done quite a few over the years, some with just sped up video, some with DSLR, some with gopro, all area dooable you just need to work with the best the equipment can do and understanding the situations. For DSLR shooting a sunrise/set, if i don't have ramping ability, i'll try to nail around 1 stop over the brightest point, then in editing i create two full sets of exposures, one for brightest, one for darkest, and then in editing i fade between the two. Some examples being at the end of this reel


https://vimeo.com/143746306

Great reel!

MichaelA
10-29-2017, 11:14 AM
Hey DMC!

Yeah, it probably could be a sticky, don't know how to make that happen though, at least post #15 so people could get started. Would be great if some could run a few tests using the notes and see what they get. It certainly isn't a "rule book" by any means - more of a jump start learning tool. The real proof is if it can get somebody started and get some usable footage. I'm certainly open to feedback and modifying my notes as input is received; kind of the purpose of sharing it here! These time lapses are kind of fun and very usable. For example I helped a friend do a wedding vid and after the guests left and we were packing up I ran a time lapse of clouds blowing past the wedding arch which had the clients names on it. He ended up using it and his clients really liked it. It was usable right out of the camera with no post-tweaking.

Most of my stuff is personal projects so I have the time to mess about and experiment, but every time I've done one of these (especially in NZ) in the evenings it ended up becoming a defacto party on the beach! At any rate, time lapse stuff can really add something to a production so I'm trying to make it as easy as possible to incorporate it and have it look decent without a lot of work in post.

There are some guys that really, really have this down and are in a whole other league with it. Check out Timestorm on Vimeo (not sure his stuff can be embedded but I'm going to try below). :Drogar-Shock(DBG): I mean, WOW! As in HOLY CRAP WOW! I don't know at any given time if work like that inspires me or makes me feel like an 8 year old with a brownie camera that doesn't stand a chance!


https://vimeo.com/231516166

Design Media Consultants
10-29-2017, 08:08 PM
Hey Michael, you have passion and enthusiasm and that helps. You are definetely right about it adding to a production. Another skill under your belt keep up the good work. Looks like I might have to start getting into it.