Time Lapse (dSLR source) with Ken Burns effect

Discussion in 'Digital Video' started by ab2650, Oct 2, 2008.

  1. ab2650 macrumors 6502a

    Jun 21, 2007
    Hi Folks,
    I'm putting together some time lapse video from dSLR source images. I will probably want to be outputting to 720p video, and the individual source frames are obviously a lot larger resolution, like 3872 x 2592.

    What I've done so far is used Quicktime Pro to save the series of images to one very large .mov, then in the past I've taken these files over to Final Cut Express to sequence my final video. Considering I have a huge amount of pixel data being scaled down to 720p, I was wondering how I could apply a "Ken Burns" style effect on video.

    I've done KB stuff with still images, but never with video. I'm wondering how people would go about doing that. I'm assuming it would be all scaled in FCE, but in the past I've had pretty lousy quality when scaling video. Are there any tricks?

    Along the same lines as Ken Burns "zooming" on moving video, I'd also like to consider doing a horizontal (or vertical) pan - I'd keep the same scale ratio, but just move what part is cropped...


    P.S., my first time lapse, done back when I used Windows is here on youtube.
  2. trudd macrumors regular


    May 27, 2004
    Export your original photo sequence at a larger resolution - somewhere in the ballpark of 1920x1080 or, for more leeway, 2k. Make sure your sequence in FCE is at 720p, then adjust your sequences scale (and use keyframes) to create that Ken Burns effect.

    Your images are plenty big, you just need your first VIDEO export of those images to be larger than the 720p timeline you will apply the KB effect to.
  3. Gymnut macrumors 68000


    Apr 18, 2003
    I'm interested in a method here as well, as I've done a few time lapse sequences with an intervolometer affixed to my HV30. I use FCP, but I imagine the option to "nest items" has to be available to in FCE. By nesting the series of images, it would create one large clip that can be manipulated in the Motion tab via keyframes. I suppose it would yield better results if you were to do the pan and zoom in something like After Effects.
  4. ab2650 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Jun 21, 2007
    Thanks for the pointers! I've put together my sample reel of about 8 or so time-lapses and posted it on Vimeo (in HD! Woot!)

    Check if out if you have a spare 1:26!
  5. computerjunkie macrumors member

    Mar 31, 2008
    I like that very much...nice job. Just out of curiosity...how many still images were in that clip?


    Bean Counter
  6. ab2650 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Jun 21, 2007
    Thank you!

    Jeepers, I'd have to check to see how many source frames I shot. I certainly didn't use everything I shot.

    Typically my camera is shotting between 1 to 3 fps (unless it's totally night time) and I almost always leave it running for 999 frames, the max for my camera's intervalometer.

    Exporting at 30fps, that yields about 33 seconds of video per scene, which I had I think about 9. Most of the clips are running at 200% or greater with a slight blur filter to keep it fluid, and I cropped some of the longer running clips.

    But to answer your question, I'd guess it was about 8000 to 9000 individual frames, many unnecessary due to my clipping or frame rate adjustments.

    Edit: I counted, and the final total is 7499 individual frames.
  7. seattle macrumors 6502

    May 15, 2007
    Great video! I have done some time lapse using my DV video camera but I would like to try using my Nikon D300 soon.
  8. computerjunkie macrumors member

    Mar 31, 2008
    Thanks...I was really curious.

    Curious George
  9. wheelhot macrumors 68020

    Nov 23, 2007
    That was FANTASTIC, GOOD JOB! 2 :thumbsup: :thumbsup:

    I give that clip a 4.5/5 ;)

    How do you do it? You let your camera continuously shoot the same spot for a couple of hours? Did you really left your camera outside? Not scared of someone to steal it or anything?

    Soo many questions, Im blowed out of my chair. Ouchies.....

    Hope to see more great work from you :D
  10. ab2650 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Jun 21, 2007
    Thanks for the kind review! :D

    The technique is about what you said; You set the camera on a tripod and have it shoot the same frame every few seconds for a good while. I don't have the patience to do a really long time lapse so most of my clips are between 15 to 30 minutes of actual shooting time (1 to 2 fps for 999 frames). The trick is setting manual exposure, manual ISO and manual white balance to reduce the camera trying to make frame-to-frame adjustments which would introduce flicker into the final video.

    And I'm not scared someone will walk off with my camera... I'm out in the sticks!
  11. ab2650 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Jun 21, 2007
    The D300, like the D200, has a built in intervalometer so you wouldn't have to shell out cash for extra gear (assuming you have a good tripod).

    Set the QUAL to Jpeg, large or medium, high quality.
    Turn off auto-ISO.
    Set the whitebalance to a preset (i.e., not automatic)
    Set the exposure to manual and adjust it to how the scene is lit.
    Turn off long exposure noise reduction if you're doing night lapse.
    Go to Shooting Menu -> Interval Timer Shooting.
    Blast away.
  12. wheelhot macrumors 68020

    Nov 23, 2007
    Haha, sweet, thanks for the tip.

    Considering Im new into this DSLR and stuffs, you say you shoot tons of picture at the same location, how do you set your camera to continuous bursting mode and can this be done on any camera or only specific cameras with specific features?
  13. ab2650 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Jun 21, 2007
    What you need is a special tool called an intervalometer. It allows you to "program" your camera to shoot continuously at an interval of your own choosing. For instance, many of the frames from my video were 1/30" exposures every 1 second, for 1000 frames total.

    Some cameras have an intervalometer function built-in, such as the Nikon D200 and D300. Quite often you buy a accessory "remote" intervalomter that plugs into your camera via a cable such as the Nikon MC-36 or Canon TC-80N3.

    You can even jury rig a USB connection to a computer, or the infrared sensor of some cameras to do interval shooting. I did a series of time lapse with a Nikon D70 connected to a laptop running Camera Control Pro to control shooting and download images on the fly. This was back with 512mb cards so going directly to a hard drive meant I could take really long and detailed time lapse, assuming I had AC power to let it run for 4000 frames. ;) The built-in intervalometer on the D200 limits you to 999 frames.

    BTW, actuating the shutter this many times day-in-day-out will break cameras. Fortunately I haven't blown the shutter yet, but the clicks are adding up I'm sure.
  14. wheelhot macrumors 68020

    Nov 23, 2007
    Aaah, okay, my dad mentioned something about this shutter damage problem. ;)
  15. ab2650 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Jun 21, 2007
    Like I said, I've never had a problem, knock on wood. I have over 35,000 shutter actuations on my D200 and 23,000 on my older D70 (pretty obvious which works better for time lapse ;) )

    A camera is designed to take photos. I wouldn't be scared that time lapse photography is going to break anything... it just might break eventually.

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