Shooting a Hyperlapse Time-Lapse Video
Illustration by

Shooting a Hyperlapse Time-Lapse Video

with Richard Harrington

Video: Evaluating the shots

I've previewed out a couple of different daytime shots. In this case, I'm just using the deflicker plug-in, and the You'll note that we are not using frame blending in this case.

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Shooting a Hyperlapse Time-Lapse Video | Course Tutorial
1h 33m Intermediate Mar 28, 2014

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Hyperlapse = time lapse + camera movement. You can get the effect by moving your tripod manually or along a track, but shooting hyperlapse from a moving vehicle is the one guaranteed way to get really dramatic time-lapse footage. And it doesn't take a lot of gear. In this course, Rich Harrington introduces the equipment you need and the techniques you should use to capture great hyperlapse sequences, as he travels around the Nevada desert during the day and captures the bright lights/big city of Vegas at night. When he returns to the studio, he shares his post-processing tips in Adobe Camera Raw, Premiere Pro, and After Effects.

This course was created and produced by RHED Pixel. We're honored to host this content in our library.

Topics include:
  • Choosing the right camera for hyperlapse video
  • Mounting your camera
  • Stabilizing shots
  • Programming the camera
  • Capturing shots
  • Post-processing, assembling, and color grading footage
Subjects:
Photography Video
Author:
Richard Harrington

Evaluating the shots

I've previewed out a couple of different daytime shots. Let's see what we have here. The first two shots are really test shots, followed by two shots that are more finished quality. This first one, was a little bit blue in some of the shadowy regions, but overall, it feels pretty good. I think the deflicker worked well and I really like the mountains there. Now, we did have a lot of lighting conditions change as we drove through the pass there. But, all in all, it feels pretty good.

The earlier parts, where we were in intense shadows, feel a little bit posterized to me. We're doing some auto-levels there and up here in the beginning, this is definitely getting pushed. If I turn off auto levels and auto color, you'll see it goes back to sort of the shadows. And, it might be worth exploring not using auto at all there. In this case, I'm just using the deflicker plug-in, and the shot's a bit darker, but it looks a little more even. Although, I do think there's some benefit here to going through and tweaking things, just a bit, to get better color.

But, all in all, I think that works pretty well and I like how that comes together. You'll note that we are not using frame blending in this case. Because it's distance lap, if there's a lot of motion going on even with draft quality frame blending, it's going to feel very blurry. And, while I like that blurry and streakiness for the nighttime time lapse, it feels out of place here at daytime. Using frame blending here on the daytime shot produces a result that I'm not happy with.

Note with all these twists and turns here, it just gets to be a very ghosted image, and it doesn't feel quite right. For that lower exposure nighttime shot, the blurring worked pretty well. But, here it just seems to be very staccato. I don't like it. So, I'm going to leave that off, and turn Frame Blending off for that clip, and set that back to None. That feels a lot better. Alright. Here is that shot from all of our tests, and let's see how that turned out. Here we're making slight variations and changes, but on the open road it feels pretty good.

We seem to be moving at a constant rate of speed towards the mountain ranges. The blacks are nice and crisp. The shadows held up really well there as we drove through tunnels and shadowy areas. And, the snow retains a nice, clean white. All in all, this feels pretty good, and we kept a car in front of us for a point of reference here, so you can really judge things. But, as you look at everything, I really like what's happening here. We seem to have a nice constant rate of motion. Alright. Here is one of the quote real shots, one of the ones that we did at full quality that we were satisfied with.

This particular one is being treated at eight frames a second, meaning that every single frame in this this hyperlapse is visible for three frames in this 24 key animation. This means that each frame is up for an eighth of a second, which creates a bit of blurring due to persistence of vision. For the viewer, this feels like a good mix. Let's take a look at that full screen. The benefit of what's happening here is that persistence of vision in their brain creates a smoothing effect. Their brain is able to see the previous frames and it sort of smooths out some of the jerkiness.

This feels to me to be a good pace. This is eight frames a second. I might try six and four, just to see if it worked better. But, all in all, this definitely was a success. For a big part of this, we let the vehicle in front of us fall forward and we just drove with the open road. But, notice as we move towards the mountain range how it's a nice smooth, fluid motion, and I really think that this works nicely. Alright. One more daytime shot. Here it is. Very twisty there on the roads. So, it seems to me that as we get into more twisty areas that lowering the frame rate would be a good idea.

Let's try that. Let's check the composition settings. It's currently at 24. That works well. Let's select the finished clip here, which is eight frames a second, and reinterpret that. Interpret Footage Main, just right click. And, I'm going to lower that to four frames a second, and press return. Let's build a new preview of that out. Each frame is up for a sixth of a second. And, this is a very curvy area. That feels better to me. A little less jarring as we go through. But, the curves in hyper elapse definitely feel very, very frenetic.

Now, one last shot to show you, and I had lumped this into the night time category, but it brings up an important problem with hyper-lapse. That is that after a day of driving on the open road, it's very easy for your windshield to become dirty. Make sure you pack some cleaning materials as well as have plenty of stuff in there. As the sun got lower in the frame here, we definitely had some issues with the sunlight causing spots on the windshield. It's not a problem until the sun is directly hitting the windshield.

But then, all those spots definitely show up. This is a late afternoon shot, and I really do like the glow and the warmth to it. The sun is blowing out and creating some nice streaks, and all in all, it feels pretty good. I still consider it a usable shot, but it does point to the need to always think through your production workflow and pipeline.

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