Time-lapse movies are capable of depicting the long passage of time by capturing the movement of subjects such as cars, people, and clouds. With the D850, you can harness the high pixel count of approximately 45.7-megapixels to record images for producing time-lapse movies up to the Ultra High-Definition (UHD) 8K resolution. In the following article, I will be introducing tips and camera settings needed for skilfully producing a good 8K time-lapse movies. (Report by Koji Ueda)
The “Interval Timer Shooting” feature on the D850 can be used to record high-definition images needed for producing 8K time-lapse movies. Time-lapse movie is a visual technique that is the current global trend for reproducing the long passage of time in a short video. This is done by releasing the shutter once every few seconds to capture tens to hundreds of still images in the pre-set shooting interval, followed by connecting these still images into a movie to depict the flow of time.
8K time-lapse movies created by the D850 harness the high pixel count of the camera to produce movies with high apparent resolution as well as a smooth gradation. Compared to 4K UHD that has become the mainstream resolution in recent years, a 8K UHD can be separated into four times the area without losing details and is mainly characterised by the ability to reproduce images in a quality that surpasses the beauty as seen through the naked eye.
For movie qualities up to 4K, time-lapse movies can be created automatically in camera by selecting “Time-lapse movie” from the movie shooting menu. In the event if you desire time-lapse movies in 8K quality, use the regular Interval timer mode to obtain the material in 45.7mega pixels Follow by using any commercially available Software programs for creating time-lapse motion pictures and editing videos to finalize the time-lapse creation.
The D850 enables time-lapse movies to be created in any image size or frame rate, including the 4K quality. They can be created easily by anyone since editing is not required after the movie is recorded.
When capturing images that will be used for making time-lapse movies, the ideal subject is one that is moving, so you should try to target at subjects such as people, cars and trains. At the same time, pay attention to the movement of clouds and the sun. Changes in the sky as time passes, such as from day till night or night till morning, is also an essential element in time-lapse movies.
Meanwhile, subjects that are not suited for time-lapse movies are those without motion, so capturing only buildings or mountains will not yield interesting results.
A: In Point
B: Out Point
There are two points to take note of when determining the composition. When creating a time-lapse movie, the aspect ratio used is not 3:2 but 16:9. This means the upper and lower ends of a 3:2 image will be cropped away, thus you will need to compose the shots for the time-lapse movie in the 16:9 ratio. For me, I would first set the camera to the movie-recording mode, display the live view image (see example below) and determine the composition in the 16:9 aspect ratio before going back to the “Interval timer shooting” menu.
The second point is to take note of the in point and out point of moving objects. As shown the example above, include subjects that are moving into the composition from the right (in point) and out of the composition from the left (out point). Doing so helps to create an interesting movie with different events going on across a wide area in the image.
Upon starting live view in the movie-recording mode, the image is displayed in the 16:9 aspect ratio. As the aspect ratio used for photographing still images is 3:2, you will need to determine the composition in the 16:9 aspect ratio beforehand. In this example, I composed the shot with the upper and lower ends of the 3:2 image (indicated by the yellow lines) cropped out.
Next, I will introduce items that are necessary for recording a time-lapse movie. The first thing to get ready is a large-capacity storage media. When creating a time-lapse movie in the 8K UHD quality at 30p with a playback duration of 10 seconds, 300 still images are needed. If you are recording images in the RAW format to a 128GB memory card, you will only be able to capture about 1200 still images, so it is safer to get ready a number of memory cards. Also, since a large number and long hours of shoots are anticipated, a spare battery is another must-have item. Get ready also a sturdy tripod with thick legs to prevent vibrations.
“Aperture-priority auto” is recommended for scenes where there are changes in the condition of the sunlight because the camera automatically adjusts the brightness with the shutter speed in this mode even when there are drastic changes in the brightness of the image. Not only so, it is also easy to control the depth of field when composing a shot in this mode.
Set the ISO speed to “Auto” so that the camera can adjust the brightness by tweaking the ISO speed if this cannot be done using the shutter speed.
Also, photographing in the RAW format allows you to fine-tune the brightness and colour during image processing.
If you are photographing using the optical viewfinder with your face away from the viewfinder, make sure to close the viewfinder eyepiece shutter (indicated by the yellow circle). Otherwise, unwanted light may enter the camera through the viewfinder and affect the exposure during the shoot.
In the following steps, specify the settings for interval timer shooting. Start by selecting “Interval timer shooting” from the photo shooting menu.
Next, set the starting day and time. Selecting “Now” starts interval timer shooting immediately while “Choose day/time” allows you to set the timing in detail if you want to start shooting on a specific day and time.
“Interval” allows you to set the timing for releasing the shutter after taking the first shot. For instance, if the interval is set to 1 second, the shutter will be released automatically every second.
The shorter the shooting interval, the smoother the time-lapse movie will appear. However, caution is needed in this case as a significantly larger number of shots will be captured.
“Intervals×shots/interval” is used to determine the number of shots you want to capture. To do so, you basically need to decide beforehand the duration (number of seconds) of the time-lapse movie you want to create. For example, a 30p time-lapse movie with a duration of 10 seconds will require 300 still images. Once you have set the intervals, the “End day/time” information will be displayed at the lower end of the screen for your reference.
“Exposure smoothing” is a convenient feature that automatically adjusts the brightness when you shoot in the Aperture-priority auto and Programmed auto modes. The resulting time-lapse movie will look unnatural if the images are not consistent in their brightness. This problem can be prevented using “Exposure smoothing”.
Setting “Silent photography” to “On” switches the camera to shooting using the electronic shutter, which helps to prevent problems caused by using the mechanical shutter, such as camera shake and operation sound.
“Interval priority” is for determining whether you want to give priority to the shooting interval over the shutter speed. You can basically leave it in the “Off” setting.
“Starting storage folder” is used to specify whether you want a new folder to be created whenever interval timer shooting starts. If you are photographing a large number of scenes, selecting the “New folder” checkbox will help to ease management of the images.
Meanwhile, if “Reset file numbering” is selected, the file number is reset to “0001” each time a new folder is created. If you choose to continue shooting without resetting the file number, it will return to “0001” after reaching “9999”. This may cause inconvenience when you are sorting out the images as they are no longer arranged in chronological order.
Next, select “Start” and press the OK button. If “Now” is selected, interval timer shooting will start approximately 3 seconds after you have selected “Start” and pressed the OK button.
When photographing images for making a time-lapse movie, the most important considerations are the shooting interval and playback duration. With the D850, it is possible to perform interval timer shooting at an interval as short as 0.5 second, which makes the movement of trains, people and other subjects extremely smooth. However, shortening the shooting interval means a larger number of shots will be captured, and the playback duration may also become longer as a result. With movies, more often than not most of the footage would be wasted when you shoot for material of longer durations of 5 to 10 minutes. For time-lapse movies, it is better to record a number of short video clips with different variations such as by varying the angle of view and location.
Personally, I would capture 300 images for making a movie at 30p that lasts about 30 seconds to one minute. Although the time varies with the shutter speed and shooting interval, it should take only about 15 to 20 minutes to photograph about 300 images, so I would, instead, create about one to three different patterns at the same location, such as by changing the composition. Altering the angle of view between wide-angle, standard and telephoto helps to add contrast to the final movie while you are editing. This way of shooting is recommended as it allows you to obtain images needed for making a time-lapse movie efficiently.
Check out the website below if you want to learn more about time-lapse movies
D5600 microsite: http://www.nikon-asia.com/d5600/en/tips3.html
*This 4K UHD data was downsampled from an 8K time-lapse movie produced with 45-megapixel still images captured using the interval timer mode on the D850 for viewing on the social networking sites.
The most appealing feature of time-lapse movies is none other than the ability to condense a long passage of time into a short movie clip. While each frame of the movie is no different from a single still, by recording still images continuously and connecting these together into a movie, you are able to depict the flow of time.
8K movies require PCs with higher specifications to be played, while 4K movies are viewable on most PCs and TVs. Even if you downsample the resolution of an 8K movie to 4K, I believe you will still be amazed by the superior results.
With the D850, you can perform RAW batch processing of images directly within the camera, and this helps to cut down the time needed for post-processing by a large extent. To enjoy high-quality time-lapse movies, you are therefore recommended to record images in the data-rich RAW format.
A third-party software is a necessity for creating 8K time-lapse movies. In the sample clip here, I made use of software which supports editing of 8K files; to create a time-lapse movie by piecing together still images captured using the interval timer shooting feature.
Born in Hiroshima in 1982. He studied in San Francisco, USA, and produced works for TV programmes, commercials, short films, and so on. He developed an interest in portrait photography after purchasing a DSLR camera, and aimed to become a professional photographer. After returning to Japan he started working as a professional photographer. He currently contributes to digital camera magazines as well as other magazines and websites.