Thousands of still photographs, to make a video

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by FrankieTDouglas, Sep 25, 2009.

  1. FrankieTDouglas macrumors 65816

    Mar 10, 2005
    I like to use the continuous shutter option sometimes to document my summers, and then go back in later and compile all of this footage into "music videos" of sorts. This summer, I shot around 20,000 photographs, converted every moment into unique sequences, and edited them like video to create a 10 minute piece. It's shot at 3 fps and played back at 5 fps, coupled with a 1.8 lens that wanders in and out of focus, to create this really unique stop-motion'ish vibe to the video.

    I'd love to hear your views, opinions, crits on this.

    It was made while working at the Maine Media Workshops, in Rockport, ME. Most of the people you see in it are fellow staff and faculty from there.. And if you lived around the coast in New England during June, you'll understand the very opening to it.
  2. Keebler macrumors 68030

    Jun 20, 2005
    hey, i think that's a really neat concept. well done!
    makes me want to try the same thing with my kids.
  3. fiercetiger224 macrumors 6502a

    Jan 27, 2004
  4. pdxflint macrumors 68020


    Aug 25, 2006
    Oregon coast
    It's a really great idea... and you pulled it off. How many gigs of photos did you have to work with? and maybe you could tell us what apps you used, a little about your technique - I'm intriqued.
  5. dlegend macrumors 6502

    Jan 11, 2009
    Northern VA (outside DC)
    i agree, i like it but more info would be great. What did you edit it with, how many pictures did you end up using, camera gear, etc.

    Looks great though!
  6. Chimpy macrumors 6502

    Mar 9, 2007
    I saw a video where some guy put the camera on the dash of his car as he took a long trip and used an intervalometer to take pictures the entire time and created a movie in the same manner. Neat stuff :).
  7. tonyeck macrumors 6502


    Sep 3, 2004
    Las Vegas, NV

    Sir, this is quite frankly brilliant
  8. electroshock macrumors 6502a


    Sep 7, 2009
    Good stuff. :)

    I did something similar (of sorts) for family living far away. I went through over 2,000 personal photographs taken during the year, and used Quicktime Player to turn them into a 3 minute movie. They enjoyed it. The best sequences were where I took a lot of shots in a very short period of time such as in continuous mode while driving on the highway on a long trip because when played back, looked rather smooth.

    I had fun with certain sequences such as when my assistant was helping me do an autofocus test -- we used toy blocks (bought at a nearby Toys-R-Us for $10) that the assistant dropped at my command after I had the camera set up. I took these 11 fps shots and reversed the order, so the video sequence looked like they were falling into my assistant's hands. :D

    It's really nice to do a year's worth of photography and compress it into a few minutes because you can show the seasons changing that way. My biggest single tip would be to set the camera to JPEG-only mode (even if it's a nice DSLR) and make sure it's not at the largest/highest quality JPEG settings. That will make it much easier to more quickly plow through them when QT does its data-crunching. 2200+ JPEG files on my 2007 MBP took about 30 minutes to generate the movie.

    A young lady, a few years ago, did something neat. She took a photograph of herself in the same place and manner once a day -- every single day for a year or so, then compiled them into a short video. Really neat. I also remember where, in Life magazine many years ago ('60s?), someone else (a father and his daughter) took an annual beach photograph each year for many years -- some of them were published in Life. Really neat to see.
  9. FrankieTDouglas thread starter macrumors 65816

    Mar 10, 2005
    Thanks for the comments. I've actually seen that Mario Kart video before. A friend of mine is getting ready to teach a workshop on stop motion animation... fun stuff to ponder. At some point, I'll probably experiment with more "conventional," 24fps type videos.

    Technique? Emm... shoot a lot. Just treat the sequence as you would photographing anything, just visualize every moment as 5 seconds rather than 1/200 and shoot in continuous mode. My camera (Canon 5d) shoots 3 fps. Don't let the camera be static. Incorporate the lens into the scene as a personality, and don't forget to focus in and out of scenes. They provide natural transitions. Shoot as shallow as possible, so you can quickly point the eye to the focus point, and if you go out of focus, remember basic design elements and use shape to your advantage.

    I shot all of this on aperture-priority to maintain the 1.8 dof. Personal preference. Everything was shot as small JPG, since even that filesize is larger than a 1080 HD timeline. White balance as appropriate. Also, if you're shooting under florescent lights, keep your shutter speed under 1/200 or something. Experiment. A fast shutter picks up varying shades of lighting from the flickering lights. I learned that the hard way in parts of this video. Really, your ISO is the true exposure setting device.

    I shot around 20,000 photos for this. That's... oh... 30 gigs? I'm not certain and the folder is on my workstation. You could batch certain things to the photos in Photoshop if you want. I sorted them in Bridge, and then created an AppleProRes 1080 30P timeline in Final Cut Pro and imported per 1000 images and saved them as sequences. I set the still frame duration to 00:00:00:06, or 5 frames a second. This means that they play back faster than they recorded, but hang on each image long enough to not have a fast motion feel. Except they do. Sorta.

    Once finished, I nested each sequence into one master sequence. A quicker way would probably be to export each sequence as a Quicktime file, then reimport that and work on your edits from there. Otherwise, that's a lot of stills to manage.

    At that point, it's simply video editing in Final Cut Pro. Treat everything as a video clip and create away. In the end, the video is almost 11 minutes long. 5 frames per second, times 60 seconds, times 11 = 3,300 photographs.

    Have fun.
  10. pdxflint macrumors 68020


    Aug 25, 2006
    Oregon coast
    Cheers, thanks for explaining how you did it...! :)
  11. munkees macrumors 65816


    Sep 3, 2005
    Pacific Northwest
    What can I say:


    really enjoyed it. Captures, the fun, the people and the personalities.
  12. jbernie macrumors 6502a


    Nov 25, 2005
    Denver, CO
    Sometimes you see a video like this and it is a yawn from beginning to end and you just can't get into it...

    Ok... i was watching it from start to finish and enthralled. Loved it, i really enjoyed the fact that you didn't try to make it "perfect", in and out of focus etc makes it more human, and as you said the out of focus is a good way to transition. Also liked how some sections felt like a film and others were more obviously just lots of photos.

    I'm sure after you finished taking all those photos your friends didn't recognize you without a camera covering your face :)

    Thank you for sharing, I can appreciate the amazing amount of effort you put into bringing this to life.
  13. ProwlingTiger macrumors 65816


    Jan 15, 2008
    That wouldn't be a problem if you go out shooting specifically for this project. Shooting in RAW, the image can always be downsized and converted through Lightroom or Aperture, etc.
  14. FrankieTDouglas thread starter macrumors 65816

    Mar 10, 2005
    Sure. It's pretty obvious you can convert RAW files to however they need to be. And you can shoot a project like this in RAW if you want. But with camera buffer limitations, card write speed limitations, card size limitations, and video workflow bottlenecking, small JPGs fit the project idea better. Luckily, if a project like this is in mind, you're aware of your settings before you start holding the shutter down for an extended period of time. And, if you see something that would be best suited as a still image, switch your camera back over to RAW.
  15. TheSVD macrumors 6502a


    Sep 3, 2008
    The Jolly Ol' Midlands, England

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