How to purposely create motion blur?

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by NikolasMason, Jun 6, 2010.

  1. NikolasMason macrumors member

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    Oct 16, 2008
    #1
    I tried a new type of photography today where I was in the back of a Jeep Grand Cherokee driving at 60mph to photograph a motorcycler because he wanted shots of him riding. I got plenty of good shots, but I was thinking it might look interesting with everything but him blurred, to imply speed. Here's one of the shots:

    [​IMG]


    I was thinking maybe a lower exposure and higher aperture or something, but everything i tried caused the entire image to blur from the bounciness of the Jeep. So is what I want to achieve possible? If so, what settings would you recommend? I'm thinking it might not be possible due to the constant motion of the vehicle I was in.

    For this particular shot, I thought the lack of motion blur was fine, but some of the others could've benefited from it.
     
  2. toxic macrumors 68000

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    #2
    it's called panning. you need a monopod or tripod, preferably a monopod.
     
  3. gødspeed macrumors regular

    gødspeed

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    #3
    Yeah, panning would work if you have a smooth tripod head. It's hard to master that technique, though... you need to keep him at the same exact place in your frame for an exposure of at least 1/4 sec for it to look any good.

    I'd suggest getting an ND filter rather than stopping down beyond f/8ish
     
  4. Doylem macrumors 68040

    Doylem

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    #4
    For panning, you need to experiment with shutter speeds, and your ability to 'follow' a moving object in an arc from left to right (or r-l...). I'd start with, say, 1/30sec, hand-held (no tripod). Get your friend to ride past your position by the side of the road. Try to follow his movement, in one smooth movement, and trip the shutter as you're panning the camera. You're trying, in essense, to match his speed with your camera movement.

    With trial and error you can get great results - the amount of blur being controllable via shutter speeds - and plenty of 'nearly' shots too. ;)
     
  5. turugara macrumors regular

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    #5
    And to answer the part of your question about the camera bouncing up and down due to the road, you can't fix that. Find a less bumpy road. Otherwise a bump or two in those 1/4th of a second or when your shutter is open will cause the image to be blurry.

    I'll second the idea to use a ND filter. If you don't want to wait to get one, you could always shoot a little bit later in the evening or a little earlier in the day when the sun isn't shining so bright.
     
  6. toxic macrumors 68000

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    #6
    you don't need a 1/4s exposure. it depends how fast the object is moving, how close you are, and how much blur you want.

    stopping down really isn't an issue. the background/foreground will be OOF anyway.

    IS can compensate for some shakiness, but not that much. you should stand still, find a smooth road, or look up rigs for doing that sort of stuff.
     
  7. compuwar macrumors 601

    compuwar

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    #7
    Actually, since you're both moving you don't need to pan, you just need to keep him in the same place in your viewfinder with a longer shutter speed- if he can keep the same distance from the vehicle you're shooting from it'll be significantly easier than panning from a moving vehicle, where a monopod or tripod doesn't add much stability. 1/15th or 1/30th would be a good starting point. It's probably easier to speed up the vehicles than to go for a longer shutter speed.

    Paul
     
  8. davegregory macrumors regular

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    #8
    I took this shot of my father on his motorcycle from the window of an adjacent car. [​IMG]

    Speed was 60 kph, 1/25s, f/14. Remember, the more to the side of you the object is, the faster the light travels, so, you won't need as slow a shutter speed than if the object were exactly behind you. Also, a lot of times people just use photoshop to create the same effect, you see it a lot in car ads.
     
  9. viggen61 macrumors 6502

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    #9
    What you're looking for is a slow shutter speed for a motion blur. Slower than 1/30th for sure, maybe longer. This will result in a smaller aperture (higher number). But that will make the background sharper, as your depth of field increases.

    A Neutral Density filter will let you get the slow shutter speed with the wider aperture to decrease your depth of field.

    Decreasing the depth of field with a wider aperture helps keep the background out of focus.

    Lastly, if your camera can do it, try "second curtain flash sync" to fire the flash. This has its roots in film photography with focal plane shutters. Flash normally fires as soon as the entire image area is exposed ("First curtain" sync alludes to the old cloth or metal "curtain" that kept light off the film until you were exposing it). "Second curtain" sync fires the flash at the moment before the second curtain starts to close (the end of the exposure). This lets film or the image sensor capture a long exposure image, and the flash "freezes" the motion of your main subject (which is usually closer to you, and will reflect more of the flash's light). You may also get interesting effects as your subject moves, and is then frozen with the flash.

    Good luck!

    :apple::apple:
     
  10. Edge100 macrumors 68000

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    #10
    Not sure I follow. What does the speed of light (which is constant and unaffected by the motion of an object) have to do with anything?

    Just curious; could you elaborate?
     
  11. Designer Dale macrumors 68040

    Designer Dale

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    #11
    I think he's referring to the way flash falls off with distance. Light dispersion. A flash is more effective on a close subject that one farther away.

    Light speed is 186,000 miles per second, so "close" can't mean across the road.

    Dale
     
  12. panoz7 macrumors 6502a

    panoz7

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    #12
    I don't think davegreggory meant that the speed of light was literally changing, only that the apparent motion of the background is. Things that are farther away will tend to look like they're moving slower than things that are up close. That's one of the ways your brain is able to judge something's depth.

    Professional auto photography of moving cars is often done with a rig. You can see some videos of rigs being used here. Note that it's very difficult to create this effect soley in post processing and have it look realistic. Even when professional images are composited the car is still shot using a long exposure on jack stands so that the wheels can be turned during the exposure.

    I'm not sure how a rig shot would work with a motorcycle. There's a pretty interesting video of Dean Collins shooting a motorcycle in a studio setup back in the 80's. I originally found it here: http://strobist.blogspot.com/2009/09/back-in-day.html
     
  13. Edge100 macrumors 68000

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    #13
    Precisely.

    Also, flash exposure is independent of shutter speed, so again I don't follow.
     
  14. Edge100 macrumors 68000

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    #14
    This makes more sense. Thanks.
     
  15. davegregory macrumors regular

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    #15
    Sorry, I didn't explain myself correctly, Panoz7 is correct. Objects further away "appear" to be moving slower than objects next to you. For example, look out your car window at the ground when moving 50 mph, then look at an object further away, it looks like it's moving away much slower. That's what I meant, sorry for the confusion, you're correct, light doesn't change speeds, it's the distance the light is traveling that is changing.
     

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