Join Richard Harrington for an in-depth discussion in this video Modifying the camera to reduce flicker, part of Time-Lapse Video: Shooting with the Camera in Motion.
When you move into the post stage one of the most annoying things that you can encounter is flicker. Flickering is a light variation of exposures from image to image. So when you play it back in sequence, the movie appears to be strobing. What causes flicker is a number of different variations. Every single time your camera's lens and iris open and close, every time your curtain shutter opens and closes. It causes small, minor variations that change from shot to shot, creating exactly what you're seeing. Let me show you some strategies to minimize flicker.
The first thing I want to do to minimize flicker is my eyepiece. I want to try to black that out. Here I'm using a business card. As long as it's black on the inside,. Whatever side is on the inside of the camera. Making sure that any light bouncing around in there is not reflected back. So a piece of gaff tape, a business card, make sure it's dark and cover it entirely. This ensures that the only light entering the camera is through the lens. And besides blocking out any light here, I also block out any spill light coming from my camera, such as a light on the back of the camera.
I usually use gaff tape to accomplish this. We can also make some changes in the menu. Some cameras offer auto lighting optimizer or noise reduction. These tools are very useful in other situations, but for timelapsing and flickering, it is not good. So, you want to make sure to turn those settings off to prevent any variations from image to image. If you're shooting on a mirrorless camera you might not need this next tip. If you are shooting on a DSLR make sure to engage mirror lock-up. This will prevent small vibrations from the mirror opening and closing. And now, what's known as the lens twist trick.
Or aperture locking. Aperture locking disengages the aperture from opening and closing during each exposure. Every time it opens and closes, small variations can cause flickering. If you're using a lens with manual aperture controls, make sure to try to engage them. Otherwise, some people will choose to slightly disengage the lens from the body. This is called the lens twist, but be very careful that your lens doesn't fall off. To do this, you first press the lens release button. Then you hold down the depth to field preview button.
Then you gently twist the lens, making sure not to touch the focus until you hear a snap. When you pay attention to flicker, you'll be much happier with the end time lapse.
In this course, author Rich Harrington is joined by time-lapse video expert Keith Kiska. Together, they explore the hardware, software, and creative decisions involved in creating moving time lapses, while on location in Las Vegas, Nevada. Rich and Keith detail the types of motion that you can add to a time-lapse video, from basic movement of the camera to left-to-right, sliding, and two- or three-axis movements with high-end, motorized rigs. They also demonstrate hardware add-ons in a variety of price ranges, and show the post-production techniques that yield the highest quality.
Interested in more time-lapse tutorials? Check out more here.
- The benefits and challenges of motion in time lapse
- Determining available light
- Selecting a camera, memory card, battery, and other gear
- Panning the head
- Using a slider
- Adding motion in post
- Adding three-axis motion
- Designing and shooting a hyperlapse shot
- Advanced post-production techniques