A five second video I made today from the footbridge of a Hull to Bridlington train stopping at the station in Driffield. As the train arrives in the station you can see the level crossing barriers behind it go up and traffic resume.
I have worked out a method to allow zooming and panning for time lapse movies. More work is still needed, but here is a short sample of storms last Saturday.
Here is another time lapse, this time of a five acre forest fire on the mountain range outside of Tucson. The fire is about 10 miles away. The time lapse was created using 10MP images with the camera at full 3x optical zoom. The images were then cropped to 1920 x 1080 to create a high definition movie.
The total elapsed time shown was one hour and 41 minutes, compressed into two minutes at 24 frames per second.
A time lapse video can be made to look really good if the camera is panned while the picture taking happens. The result is smooth motion during the video, and there are plenty of examples of this on You Tube.
There are lots of ways to make cheap panning mechanisms, with the most popular involving an old egg timer. However these approaches have some limitations:
- Once the panning starts you don’t stop it, even if you panned away from an area where something happened 10 minutes after the start
- The panning is typically a linear motion – the same speed all the time
- Most panning mechanisms do not have vertical panning, only horizontal
Number one comes from the limitation of having to set up the motion before starting to take the pictures. It can be difficult to anticipate in advance what might happen in the scene and once it does even if the motion was somehow changed, it would have to change slowly to avoid disrupting the video in a jarring way, missing the item of interest anyway.
Number two can be solved by using a PC or microcontroller to control the camera motion in more complex ways. However this is added time and expense for design and setup.
Number three can be solved by using two motors, one for horizontal and one for vertical. Again, unless the motion is very simple and defined in advance, a PC or microcontroller would be needed.
Another time lapse, this time of a trip I took yesterday. Created using a Canon A480 and CHDK.
Here is another time lapse of storms building over the Santa Catalina mountains. The black specks that keep appearing are birds going to and from our bird feeders.
It was generated with 3750 pictures taken two seconds apart using CHDK.
Here is another one – it’s a strange angle because I needed to keep the oven light out of direct view of the camera. Total time elapsed was 20 minutes. Compressed to 33 seconds. Generated using a Canon A480 and CHDK.
Last weekend we took a drive from Tucson to the top of Mount Bigelow, which is home to TV and radio antennas. Some stats:
- Driving time – 55 minutes
- Distance – 31 miles
- Altitude gain – 5,500 feet
- Temperature drop – 29 degrees Fahrenheit
- Pictures taken – 1,219
Some things to look for:
- Overexposure in most of the frames. This is because I forgot I left the camera on ISO 800. Don’t do that.
- 0:24 – cyclist
- 0:25 – end of the cactus, start of the small bushes
- 0:29 – fee station
- 0:41 – start of large trees
- 0:50 – Windy Point, a popular vista location to look down on Tucson
- 0:55 – start of the pine trees
- 1:06 – turn off the main road onto a dirt road
- 1:12 – Forest Service truck
- 1:13 – people camping
- 1:16 – a family with a dog
- 1:18 – looking north towards San Manuel, Ariz.
The Canon A480 doesn’t have manual focus of course, but by adding CHDK it does! At first the feature appears to be broken, so here is a short video demonstrating how it works. It’s called Subject Distance Override and to turn it on in record mode press Mode then up (ISO).
It’s amazing how Pinnacle Studio and it’s Dazzle interface can take a nice clean input and make it look like an old VHS tape…
A total of 105 exposures at 30 seconds each, ISO 400. Canon A480 running CHDK. No in-camera noise reduction. Four dark frames. It took just over an hour to take the pictures.