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Learn how to speed up time and create compelling visual effects with time-lapse photography. Join Rich Harrington in the field as he captures nature's patterns at Red Rock Canyon in southwestern Nevada, and shows how to frame your scene and choose the proper camera settings. He'll show you how to capture great images, whether you're using a DSLR camera and a motorized slider or just a smartphone you have handy. Then join him back in the studio to transform your still footage into a storytelling time-lapse video, using tools like Photoshop, Premiere Pro, and Final Cut Pro.
This course was created and produced by Rich Harrington. We are honored to host this content in our library.
Rich: When shooting time lapse, flicker is kind of a typical problem. Particularly if you're dealing with the sun that keeps getting interrupted. As a cloud passes in front, it's going to block it temporarily. And this can create instability in the lighting levels. Even if shooting indoors under, say, fluorescent lighting, you might see shifting from one shot to the next. Fortunately, there's a couple of ways of fixing this. You can use some built in tools. I'll choose Layer > New > Adjustment layer. Let's just select that, press Return or Enter and I'll call this Deflicker.
Now, on this layer, I can apply an effect. Under Color Correction, you'll find the Color Stabilizer. However, for this effect to work, you need to be able to pick a standard black point and white point that do not move. That could be pretty difficult as you're dealing with a moving, zooming shot. But if you do have a clean point of reference, just take the target and set them on the black and white point. And it will go through and smooth things out in the shot. On the other hand, you might take advantage of Auto Levels, Color Correction > Auto Levels. And by turning on Temporal Smoothing, say setting that to one second with the Scene Detect option, you might be able to get the smoothness. That's helping a bit.
Lets turn Scene Detect off and increase the Temporal property. And while better, it's still prone to some flicker. Now, some people will leave that set to zero and hope that it catches everything frame to frame. But you'll quickly notice that without smoothing it tends to still flicker. This is why there's a third party ecosystem. And one of my favorite effects is GBD flicker.
It works inside Premiere Pro and After Effects, and there's a standalone app. But this is a great tool if you need to fix Time Lapse flicker. Now, some of you are probably saying well, why isn't that build into After Effects? Let's think about that. This is an incredibly niche product. Fortunately the After Effects and Premiere Pro ecosystem are big enough to support the use of third party plugins. So, this is an affordable way to solve a very dedicated problem. But I'd recommend that you just download the trial version and see if it works for you.
Here's how. This plugin sells for about $100, which is a very dedicated tool. You highlight the clip and choose GBS as in Granite Bay Software, Granite Bay Deflicker. What happens here is that it will analyze the clip and attempt to fix it. Now, you have the ability to look under options and you could choose the method manually adding key frames if you want. And you could choose if it's going to shift or if it's going to just space or the gamma, but the default options actually work pretty well. Let's remind you what this looked like before we removed the flicker. And you'll see there are a couple of instances where the sun passed behind a cloud and made a dramatic change in lighting.
There was no change to the camera or its settings. You notice that the rocks themselves aren't changing as much. But definitely a shift. Well, this tool analyzes that, and attempts to fix. So, what you're seeing here is the luminance graph and you can tell where the lighting has dipped and got darker. And as such, it's attempting to smooth that out when it encounters those points. Did a great job. I can come down here and adjust the method here. Let's try shift for a second.
And you see that that behaved a little differently. And we also have gamma. Now, the flicker is a bit strong. We got rid of most of it but there's still a subtle pulse. I could adjust the amount of smoothing. And you'll see that that does a good job of taking out even more. So, a very compelling solution to minimize the overall flicker in a shot. And there's a lot you can do down here to really take a look. If you want to dig in deeper, you can look at just the histogram to actually see the details.
And this just gives you specific information on a per channel basis. But, all in all, this is awesome with how it goes through. Analyzes the shot and takes out a lot of the problem zones. I generally stick with the linear space. I'll bump up the amount of smoothing. And it looks good. And you can also set a clipping threshold. Now, the clipping is really going to be for highlights. So, it's not doing much on this shot but all in all very cool effect.
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