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time lapse cinematography


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#1 lloyd Handwerker

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Posted 29 January 2007 - 03:30 PM

I want to shoot some time lapse footage over a long period of time from a rooftop. Any advice on how
to do this? What camera to use? Power supply solutions etc.?

Thank you,
Lloyd Handwerker
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#2 Nick Mulder

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Posted 29 January 2007 - 04:38 PM

What is your intended output format ? (what sort of quality are you after ?)

"long period of time" a day ? a year ? :huh:

What sort of weather conditions are you expecting ?

etc...

There are myriad possibilities of set ups that all depend on factors that aren't specified ie. the more info you can supply us, the more we can you ...
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#3 Daniel Sheehy

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Posted 29 January 2007 - 07:40 PM

I am assuming you're wanting to document a building construction project from start to finish..?
You might want to consider putting in a hard point, with a camera mounted on it in a weather-proof housing (of the sort used for security cameras).
Arrange for a power connection & adaptor for the camera, with a backup system.. a couple of marine batteries?
With a little thought you can put together a fairly robust, autonomous system.

These guys have an interesting product: http://www.bmumford....to/camctlr.html

I'm doing a similar project at the moment... there are so many things I wish I could do differently.

Edited by Daniel Sheehy, 29 January 2007 - 07:41 PM.

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#4 lloyd Handwerker

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Posted 31 January 2007 - 12:23 AM

I want to shoot in 16mm film and try to keep the camera continuously shooting for months at a time or
longer if that is possible.Thanks Daniel for the web sit information.
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#5 Nick Mulder

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Posted 31 January 2007 - 03:43 AM

hmmm, an ol' 1:1 bolex with a Tobin Time Lapse motor would do the trick nicely... if you are that way inclined you could scrape out the gate and turret to super 16 also

what are you shooting ?

how many exposures a day ?

do you want the exposures at certain times only ? (for instance, not at night or maybe at one time per day to see seasonal effects etc...)

have you thought about the duty-cycle of exposure ie. just the 1/40sec exposure per frame or perhaps using a heap of ND to get a longer % of the period ? (motion blur effects) ...

I have learned with time-lapse that if you are going to spend months shooting something that planning and testing is vital so the time isn't wasted so its good I suppose that you are here doing just that, but again... the more info we have the more we can give
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#6 Peter Emery

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Posted 31 January 2007 - 05:19 AM

I'm shooting part of a stop motion animation at the moment on a Bolex. My tip is test your Bolex carefully. The ones from even well known camera houses can be in poor condition - speaking from my own expereince.

Sounds fun though
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#7 lloyd Handwerker

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Posted 31 January 2007 - 10:51 AM

Thanks for all the questions, information and advice. I'm planning to shoot the destruction and rebuilding
of several city blocks. I was thinking of squeezing off one frame every thirty seconds or every minute? I
would probably want to shoot less than that at night if it was possible to program such a variance.
What is a 1:1 Bolex?
How do you scrape out the gate and Turret for super 16?
What do you mean by duty-cycle of exposure?
How do you accentuate blurred motion?


Thanks,
Lloyd Handwerker
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#8 Nick Mulder

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Posted 31 January 2007 - 06:01 PM

What is a 1:1 Bolex?

A newer model wind-up bolex with a shaft that turns in a 1:1 ratio with the shutter (RX4 onwards) - with this you can disconnect the spring and attach a motor instead (such as the Tobin TTL) - the older models had a 8:1 shaft which turned 8 time slower than the shutter which could also be used for such applications but I think the TTL fits only the 1:1 models (I'm sure Clive will throw in some suggestions soon)

How do you scrape out the gate and Turret for super 16?

This is isn't an easy thing to describe and should only be attempted by those with mechanical/tooling experience but there are some instructions here - you will utilize more of your frame and therefore have smaller grain and a wide aspect sexy image :lol:

What do you mean by duty-cycle of exposure?

With time-lapse and the right motor set up you can control the effective 'shutter-angle' of your exposures - Although the angle of the shutter is no longer any thing to do with it, I dont know the correct term so use the concept of duty-cycle to describe what I mean...

If we were to simply shoot time-lapse without really thinking too hard we would simply take a frame every period we decided upon - for instance you suggest maybe every minute, which sounds fine so we set the camera to take a 1/50 exposure every minute, which is easy to set aperture for ... But we are really only capturing a very small snippet of that minute (one threethousandths of it, 1/3000) - what results is the classic time-lapse sequence of slow moving objects like the shadows cast by the sun moving nicely but everything of a more itinerant nature is just a mad flicker - clouds even at one minute will be zippy - if thats the look you are after then go for it...

What I'd suggest is at least thinking about with using a much larger % of that minute period to expose your frame - why not even a close as you can get to the full minute ? 58secs or something, leaving 2 seconds for the camera to close shutter and pull the next frame into the gate ... You would need to put a heap of Neutral-Density filtering on the front end to cut the light down but by doing this you will remove most of the flicker caused by cars/people etc... and see a smoother more 'integrated' picture of the actual scene -I've noticed some of the time-lapse clips of NYC from The Apprentice use this effect so the clouds become very elongated and whispy - nice, in other words ...

Its just another aesthetic decision to make after having thought about what aspect of the temporal image you really wish to capture - think of it perhaps like a time based Graphic EQ or Low Pass Filter for your image ...

Thanks,
Lloyd Handwerker

yer welcome!

p.s. Peter is correct about testing a Bolex, unless you are Trump you'd be buying a second hand one... best to check it before such a long shoot ... I just borrowed a RX2 to do some time-lapse of myself over 8 months - I'm going to take a pic or two of myself every day for 8 months (I'm going through chemotherapy) - prob going to use a flash so I need to be sure I get the exposure correct... test test test!


p.p.s - I'm sure Bolexes aren't the only solution.

Edited by Nick Mulder, 31 January 2007 - 06:04 PM.

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#9 Daniel Sheehy

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Posted 31 January 2007 - 06:50 PM

You would need to put a heap of Neutral-Density filtering on the front end...

Great if he's only shooting during the day, but at night that might pose some problems... unless he was going to come past every evening & remove the ND?
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#10 Nick Mulder

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Posted 31 January 2007 - 07:13 PM

Great if he's only shooting during the day, but at night that might pose some problems... unless he was going to come past every evening & remove the ND?


ND reduces the amount of light, and thats it - its just compensating for the long exposure... so he's going to have the same night-day problem shooting without ND anyway :huh:

instead he'd have to shoot past every evening and morning to adjust the aperture...

Unless you are referring to recopricity failure issues ?
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#11 Daniel Sheehy

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Posted 31 January 2007 - 09:21 PM

Unless you are referring to reciprocity failure issues ?

Yes.

Enough ND for smooth motion effect during the day would probably be overkill at night.

There are also the issues of light leakage to think about.

EDIT: Just found this link: http://www.cinematog...mTime-lapse.htm

Edited by Daniel Sheehy, 31 January 2007 - 09:24 PM.

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#12 Zamir Merali

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Posted 31 January 2007 - 10:32 PM

If you put enough ND for a nice sunny day then cloudy days would look bad. And rainy days would look terrible. There is probably an automatic exposure system that can be bought for time lapse applications. I would shoot some tests and see what works and what doesnt so after the couple months you dont find that you wasted all that film and your time.

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#13 Nick Mulder

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Posted 31 January 2007 - 10:43 PM

If you put enough ND for a nice sunny day then cloudy days would look bad. And rainy days would look terrible. There is probably an automatic exposure system that can be bought for time lapse applications.


<_<

Again, I say that you would have the same cloudy day/sunny day problems with ND or not.

Its the reciprocity problems that Daniel and I are talking about ... (non-linear relative exposures at low light levels)


The POE and PTL zooms both have auto-exposure apertures for Bolex ...
(The POE is available in C-mount also)
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#14 Daniel Sheehy

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Posted 01 February 2007 - 12:35 AM

I did some more looking & found this article: http://www.soc.org/o...hngtntmlps.html
It is directly applicable as the author talks about how he dealt with longterm time lapse issues on film.

To control exposure he used the Norris Light Priority Control. Instead of using an iris AE system, this varies the shutter speed motor, based on a spot meter reading, to control exposure.
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