Playing With Time Lapse

Update: I have been set straight by the Amazon Seller who offers the product I purchased. He gave me the tools to verify my filter sheet as a legitimate product. I am grateful to Agena Astro for their patience.

With the Eclipse coming on Monday I’ve been pondering capturing a time lapse of the event. Unfortunately Fortunately, the solar filter sheet I’d purchased through Amazon for this project is legitamite a counterfeit 1, so I will not be able to take photos of the the event with my Nikon. I do have legit glasses, purchased through B&H photo. , so I might attach one to my iPhone and create a time lapse via an app — but it’s not the same. At least the UV filter for my 55-300mm lens will come in handy.

As much as I am bummed, I have begun playing with a new photography skill. This makes me happy 2.

Friday afternoon, I set up my camera in my bedroom window, along with my qDSLR setup, and configured a time lapse session. As I was experimenting, I set up this session for 25 fps, a goal of 8 seconds total video time, and a shutter delay of 2 seconds. I ended up cutting it off at 50 exposures so I could create a two second time lapse.

This where things got interesting.

Many Lightroom users who create time lapse videos use an excellent plugin called LRTimelapse. This is what I’d prefer to be using, but it’s $99 for a private license 3. So I had 50 jpeg photos of the street in front of my house, and no easy way to turn them into a proper time lapse. At least, so I thought.

I have Final Cut Pro X on my Mac, which means I had everything I needed to create a simple time lapse. I imported the 50 still images into a new library, created a new project, and set it to 25 fps. I have FCP to set a still image’s default duration as 10 seconds, which meant I’d have to change the duration of the stills I added to my timeline, but this is not difficult. I selected all the stills, drug them into the timeline, and then set the duration for each still to one frame. Voilà! I had a 2 second time lapse video including each of the 50 exposure I’d imported!

That evening I set up my second test as a storm rolled in. I captured 300 exposures and set the frame rate to 30 fps. The result was stunning.

Even though I’m glad my original purpose for pursuing this skill has not been derailed, and I am excited over the possibilities time lapse photography offers.

  1. To say I have no respect for profiteers selling fake eclipse safety items is an understatement. My college astronomy professor used to warn his students, “You do not tell your worst enemy to look directly at an eclipse. I am not making this up, looking at an eclipse will burn out your retinas.” And I thank the Amazon seller for giving me the tools I needed to verify their products were legitimate. 
  2. Learning is, perhaps, my greatest joy in life. 
  3. There is a free evaluation license, but I’m not at a point where I feel I know enough to make it worth it.