Monday, September 4, 2017

How I Timelapse

I've taken and posted some timelapses, so I thought it would be good to show how I setup, take, and compile a timelapse.


In my kit, I have a interval remote which is what I use for timelapses. this allows me to set the interval time and a delay before the timelapse start.
The remote is connected by simply plugging the remote's cable into the camera's remote port (located under a rubber cover along with the mic port). I set the interval I want on the remote (10 sec for the timelapse shown below) and set the number of pictures I want taken (infinite).
I then compose my shot, let auto-focus pull focus, turn off auto-focus (so there is no crazy changes of focus) and press start on the remote. I usually will either set an alarm on my phone for how long I want it to run or just stop it when I feel like it. If there is a specific amount of time you want to timelapse for, you can divide the total time of the timelapse by your interval time and get the number of shots you need. You can then put this number in the remote and it will shoot that many shots and then stop.


The interval remote has the ability to delay the shots, take long exposures, and (of course) take shots with a set interval in between. Here are some pictures of the settings, and the video shows how to setup and use it.

Invisible filler text.

The green light indicates a half shutter button press (for focus and wake).

The red light indicated a full shutter button press.


After I have let the timelapse run as long as I want, I stop the remote, take the SD card, and copy the pictures to my computer. Turning the raw images onto a video is a two step process: Using XnConvert to take the raw images and output resized, adjusted pictures in a standard named image sequence and using FFMPEG to take the image sequence and put it into a video.


First, if you don't already use XnConvert, it is a great, free batch image editor. It can deal with pretty much every image type that exists. you can download it here.

Adding Files:
To add files to XnConvert, you can drag& drop files onto the window, or click the add files/folder buttons. The pictures will show up in the window with some tags showing what metadata the pictures have.
Adding Actions:
For my timelapses I use four actions: Automatic Contrast, Bloom, Resize, and Watermark. Below are the settings I use.
  • Automatic Contrast
  • Bloom
    • Method: 0
    • Opacity: 100
    • Blur: 25
  • Resize
    • Mode: Fit
    • Width:
    • Height:
    • Keep ratio: No
    • Use gamma correction: Yes
    • Follow orientation:
    • Enlarge/Reduce: Always
    • Resample: Gaussian
  • Watermark
    • Image filename:
    • Opacity: 100
    • Don't use alpha channel: no
    • Size: Percentage - 15%
    • Position: Bottom Right
    • Delta X: -10
    • Delta Y: -10
Adjusting Output:
Getting the output settings right is very important for FFMPEG to properly detect an image sequence. I setup a folder for the output images to go and make the output filename "####" which will make the images have filenames that are four digit numbers (starting with 0001) increment with each image.


I use FFMPEG and a batch script to automatically compile the images to videos of different framerates and resolutions. The XnConvert settings I use give me 4k images. The script takes these and makes some videos of different framerates and then makes videos with the same framerates, but 1080p. It puts the video files in sub-directories (see image below). To use the script, FFMPEG must either be installed or in the directory with the script.

It takes images with filenames previously formatted by XnConvert (as seen in the image to the right) and combines them into videos.


Comment on how you timelapse, or any other questions you have!

Click on images for full size.