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#1 Jase Ryan

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Posted 23 December 2007 - 02:17 AM

To take timelaps photographs of the night sky on film, what the best approach? A fast stock and wide open in a remote area? The timelapeses in Baraka, how are those photographed? I know he uses a motion control system, but how is he setting up the camera?

Thanks,

Jase
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#2 timHealy

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Posted 23 December 2007 - 11:10 AM

To take timelaps photographs of the night sky on film, what the best approach? A fast stock and wide open in a remote area?


You may have to simply experiment and bracket to see what results you like.

Best

Tim
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#3 Joe Taylor

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Posted 23 December 2007 - 11:37 AM

Use a high speed film, I've always used 500 Speed Kodak and some Fuji. 2.8 at around :25-:30 sec. will give you a nice sky filled with pin point stars. If you go longer than that you risk getting star trails, but that may be what you want. I usually use a wide-angle lens, that way you pick up pick up some darker areas of the sky and a good chunk of the Milky Way belt.

To get a moon lit night landscape with stars, do the exact same "formula" above. Try to have something in the foreground for a subject. After that experiment with different settings. The great thing is is that you never know what you're going to get. I've been doing this for 15 years and I still get all sort of happy accidents.

The biggest threat to your shot is light pollution. Get as far away from the city as possible.

Check out my links below to my film "Dead Lonesome." Experimental film about ghost towns and the western landscape. All time-lapse in 35mm.
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#4 Walter Graff

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Posted 23 December 2007 - 11:45 AM

Are you using motion picture, digital still?

For still, which is probalby best and easiest, you could use anything from 15s exposures at 100ISO, to 180 second exposures at ISO 800. As the other poster suggests, this is really one area where you must do some bracketing and see what works best for you. I do a lot of astrological photogrpahy and can't tell you what I like best. It all depends. If I'm doing comet exposures I usually do 5min exposures at 800ISO. If it's noctilucent clouds, I find 15s exposures at 100ISO work great, and for starfield photogrpahy sometimes 30 to 60 minute exposures if I want star trail effects. Best bet is to find a nice night and go experiment.
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#5 Joe Taylor

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Posted 23 December 2007 - 12:19 PM

Are you using motion picture, digital still?

For still, which is probalby best and easiest, you could use anything from 15s exposures at 100ISO, to 180 second exposures at ISO 800. As the other poster suggests, this is really one area where you must do some bracketing and see what works best for you. I do a lot of astrological photogrpahy and can't tell you what I like best. It all depends. If I'm doing comet exposures I usually do 5min exposures at 800ISO. If it's noctilucent clouds, I find 15s exposures at 100ISO work great, and for starfield photogrpahy sometimes 30 to 60 minute exposures if I want star trail effects. Best bet is to find a nice night and go experiment.



I'm shooting both and have been for over two years. Clients still want film, but I play around and shoot some stock (for High Def requests) with a Canon D1. For 35mm astronomy work, I mounted an Arri 2C to a telescope mount that had it's own dedicated trailer. I was doing :15 min. tracking exposers for that. You can see one of the shots in the second link below. For doing astro-photography/astro-cinematography with a DSLR, I piggyback the camera on a Meade ETX 125, a full setup that I can carry with one arm. There's no way you're going to mount a 35mm film camera to a consumer grade telescope. It's so much easier with a DSLR setup.

Yes, the DSLR sensor is much more sensitive for doing long-exposure work, especially deep sky photography. But I still stick to my formula for both formats when shooting moonlit landscapes and get excellent results with both.
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#6 Walter Graff

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Posted 23 December 2007 - 12:27 PM

I don't see the link. I have been doing quite a bit of astrophtog as of late. It seems it comes and goes in phases for me. (Hey a moon joke). My only problem is my Meade 16" RCX weights about 200 pounds and takes me usually a day to set up for a night of observing.

Ah moonlit landscapes. Nice. I'd love to see some shots?
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#7 Joe Taylor

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Posted 23 December 2007 - 12:41 PM

Meade 16" RCX. That's some serious hardware. You can do deep sky with that beast. With the ETX 125 I stuck with :10 or less, unless I piggy pack with a normal lens, then I can expose as long as I like, though

Hopefully my links are showing up way down below at the bottom of the page.

If not, here they are:

Part 1:
Part 2:
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#8 Walter Graff

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Posted 23 December 2007 - 12:59 PM

The meade is great because of its tracking abilities. Now If only I could get rid of the atmosphere around this planet. I also have a 24 Dobsonian but it doesn't hold a camera well but does some amazing things.
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#9 Jase Ryan

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Posted 24 December 2007 - 06:03 AM

Joe,

I love some of your images in your links. The first shot in part 1, how did you get that? I mean, the rock was exposed which I would think meant it had to be during the day... but the stary sky is obviously at night. Can you let me in on how I can achieve some images like that?

Thanks,

Jase
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#10 Joe Taylor

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Posted 24 December 2007 - 08:35 AM

Jase,

Thanks for your comments. The big monolith, Valley of the Gods, just outside Monument Valley in Utah, was exposed by moonlight-- a :25 sec. exposure. Because of the length of the exposure, the film was also able to "soak" up enough light for it to appear to be daylight-- even the stars to show up. Everything in that shot as well as the entire film, "Dead Lonesome," was filmed using an Norris intervelometer. No double exposers or matte shots.
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#11 Walter Graff

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Posted 24 December 2007 - 08:39 AM

I have a HD100 disk recorder that I use with my JVC HD200. It has time lapse settings. I've never used the feature. I'll have to give it a try.
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#12 Tom Lowe

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Posted 24 December 2007 - 11:07 PM

Joe, those are some awesome shots! I'd love to see them in HD.

Jase, I do quite a bit of this night timelapse myself, although I have not graduated to motion control yet. I use a DLSR with a simple intervalometer shooting RAW. At night for stars you typically need at least 30-second exposures, so it's "bulb." You just try a few shots and then go with what looks like a good exposure on your LCD.

After the shoot, you have to batch process your stills through photoshop to the size of your project (1920x1080 for example), then you simply import the images into your NLE as an image sequence at 24fps or 30fps and voilĂ !

Here's some of my stuff at 720p:

http://digitallions.org/timescapes.mov

If you have more specific questions, feel free to ask.

Edited by Tom Lowe, 24 December 2007 - 11:10 PM.

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#13 Saba Mazloum

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Posted 25 December 2007 - 03:06 AM

Sorry guys if this question is a bit off with what you guys are talking about.
I was wondering what is the safest way of exposing like ext. night scene , lets say like downtown at night with street lights etc.. would i pick 500t wide open iris? or?

btw i watched dead lonesome, it was amazing footage.
Thanks..
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#14 Joe Taylor

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Posted 25 December 2007 - 09:52 AM

Thanks everybody!

Shooting artificial light at night, like a downtown setting, you could get away with a slower film, like a 250, since your exposures will be generally less than half if you were exposing with moon light. But I would stick with 500. For a bright down setting with many lights, I've done shots with around :06 secs at T/f5.6

Best advice is to go out and experiment. You can almost never go wrong and you will probably be so excited with your first shot (if your shooting with a good DSLR, that you'll be there all night.
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#15 John Sprung

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Posted 26 December 2007 - 02:35 PM

I know he uses a motion control system, ....

What the astronomers have is a mount that rotates the telescope around an axis parallel to the axis of the earth, at a rate of 1/24 of a revolution per hour. That keeps them pointed permanently at the same piece of sky. The angle between the mount axis and level is equal to your latitude, so it's flat horizontal on the equator, and sticking straight up at the poles.




-- J.S.
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#16 Tom Lowe

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Posted 26 December 2007 - 03:00 PM

What the astronomers have is a mount that rotates the telescope around an axis parallel to the axis of the earth, at a rate of 1/24 of a revolution per hour. That keeps them pointed permanently at the same piece of sky. The angle between the mount axis and level is equal to your latitude, so it's flat horizontal on the equator, and sticking straight up at the poles.

-- J.S.


I'm pretty sure what he is describing is Fricke's dolly moco system, which used stepper motors to move his camera on three axes - dolly, pan and tilt - during some jaw-dropping night timelapse sequences in the last 4 minutes of Baraka.

If you used telescope tracking hardware and software, you would blur the foreground (rock arches, temples) and kind of lose the whole stars-moving-across-the-sky effect. That is more useful for long-exposure stills, I believe.
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#17 Joe Taylor

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Posted 28 December 2007 - 07:00 PM

Just watched Baraka, there's quite a bit a motion tracking in that film. Doing multiple exposures with a sky tracking device is kind of a science in itself. You have to have a very precise system and dead on in your alignment if you expect to keep it zeroed overnight. I've tried it once out in Utah (it's in Part Two of the links below) there's some movement and it picked up the ground towards morning. I actually flipped the frame since my Arri was inverted.
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