Join Richard Harrington for an in-depth discussion in this video Assembling the shot, part of Time-Lapse Video: High-Dynamic Range (HDR).
Let's bring in the process damage sequence to build out a time lapse shot. This is pretty straight forward, and I'm going to show you the highlights of doing it in after effects. But there are several ways to pull this off. To begin, I'll chose file, import file. The shortcut is command or control I, and you can navigate at to images that you've processed. I've already run this through and in the folder called H-D-R, I'm going to step into H-D-R shot one, sort by name, and choose the first frame.
At the bottom of the import box you will notice that you could import this as a tif sequence. This will turn these multiple frames into a movie, when I click open it's a near instantaneous process because all it needs to do is read the files in. Right now, I have 51 frames. And those 51 frames equal almost a two second animation at 30 frames a second. While you can play back your time-lapses at 30 frames a second, I usually slow things down a bit.
Most of the time, I master my time lapse sequences to 24 p, which is the same master as film. For video, I use 2398 or 23.976, and I'll show you that in a moment with presets. By default, when you import, it comes in as 30 frames a second. And while that's okay, it makes the time lapse go really quick and it loses some of its magical flow and quality. It can seem abrupt and kinetic. So I'm going to reinterpret this file. What I'm going to do here is right-click on a file and choose Interpret Footage Main.
This allows me to assign a new frame rate. And I'm going to slow this down to four frames a second. At four frames a second, it's going to hold each shot for about six frames, or a quarter of a second. When I click okay, that re-times out, and you see that now I have 12 seconds of animation. Well let's fit this to the window. And we'll drag this on the new comp icon here. And release to create a composition. To rename that, just press the return key, and you can modify the name.
I'll call this one C, because you'll notice that I've already taken a few passes or attempts at developing this. Once I've created a composition, I need to change its settings. So, composition, composition settings. And you'll find presets here for just about every delivery format, from digital cinema, to web video. Let's go with HDTV 720, but set that frame rate to the 23.976, which is 24p in video world. I'll click OK, and everything updates. Now, at this point, the image is too big.
So, with the layer selected, you could twirl down the disclosure triangles to see the controls and easily adjust this so it fits. You'll note the image now fits the width, but it's a little bit tall, so, perhaps, I want to adjust this a little bit, to see more of the sky and less of the trees. Particularly, less of the trees since a tripod was snuck into the shot by our behind-the-scenes crew. They didn't realize exactly how wide I was shooting. So, it's a good idea for us to just nudge that down, and see a little bit more of the sky.
And just a little bit less of the tripod. Now, I'm seeing a tree branch on top that's distracting, so I'm going to split the difference and scale this up just slightly. Note I'm not scaling above 100%, so there's no loss of quality. Looks pretty good. Let's invoke a preview, and see the results. Now, this will take a bit to load, but I'm not going to preview the whole thing. And if you're on a slower computer, you can easily drop the quality of that to quarter, and it will preview a lot faster. Again, this is just a preview, so you can get a sense of the motion, and the framing.
Little movement up front as I recompose my shot, but all pretty good. Let's trim off some of those initial frames there. You see a little wobble at the beginning. There, there, there. Looks stable there. So it's just really the very beginning of the shot. You see the shift right there. Right about there. Easy enough? Option left bracket will trim the in point to the play head. And then you could just drag this down.
Hold on the shift key and it locks pretty easily and I trimmed the front frame. Now, we'll make a few refinements. Right now, if we play this, you'll notice it feels a little bit stair stepping. Now it needs to be green in order to play back in real time. So only those frames can be judged. If you want to see more playback in real time, just click the Ran preview button and Aftereffects will cache the frames to your computer's memory and then use that real time playback performance, to give you an idea on the motion.
You can check the progress right up here and see what's happening. In any point of time just click the space bar, and you can see it playback. I like that but it's a little too stair step before me. So, I will turn on frame blending here, which is a global switch and the enable it with draft quality. Now, it's going to do slow dissolves between all those frames and create a smoother blend. In this particular case, with the sky being the way it is, I really like how that looks as it just creates a bit of motion blur or streaking on the clouds, and it feels very natural Let's play that back.
That feels pretty good. At this point, I've got the shot assembled and the timing's down. What's next is to color grade.
This course was created and produced by RHED Pixel. We are honored to host this content in our library.
- Staging the camera
- Controlling the camera with an intervalometer or smartphone
- Choosing the right interval for HDR
- Shooting JPEG or RAW
- Building a HDR test sequence
- Developing HDR images
- Organizing, assembling, and evaluating the shot in post