Newbie time-lapse question....

I'm experimenting with making time-lapse video on my new Canon 6D MarkII. The camera has a built-in time-lapse mode but it doesn't seem very versatile. I instead use the external intervalometer I bought with it. I quickly learned I need to use the lowest possible interval setting (1 second) to get smooth 30fps motion in certain situations where before I would simply speed up long video clips. I quickly learned that auto-metering every frame produces a "shimmering" effect that is quite grating on the eyes. However, keeping settings 100% fixed for the entire duration of the timelapse doesn't work when the ambient light is changing by orders of magnitude (dark shelf is approaching, sun is getting lower, etc...). What I did last time was turn the nobs to open the aperature and/or decrease shutter speed periodically as the shelf drew closer. When the exposure got below -2/3EV I adjusted to get it back up around -1/3EV, then when the shelf got really close I just allowed it to naturally fall below -1EV so as to look naturally dark and stormy.

The new problem is the abrupt exposure jumps that occur every few seconds. I was wondering if there are any software programs out there that can fit a smoothing curve to the exposure. The camera should record the EV in the EXIF data for each frame taken, so it should be theoretically possible to fit a curve to it then adjust the exposure of each frame to match the smooth curve as best as possible. Of course you'd get the best results doing this with RAW frames, but that eats through a hell of a lot of memory. I only have a 32 GB card at the moment so I've been limited to small-medium jpegs (4K equivalent image sizes).

There's also the problem the dials being locked up for about 1/2 second after exposure, making it hard to change exposure manually between shutter releases with 1 second intervals. I read noise-reduction algorithms cause the most lag, but are there other unnecessary "correction" settings I can turn off? 2 second intervals is good enough for some time-lapse, but being able to do 1 second intervals with 1/4-1/2 second shutter dramatically increases the chances of getting a lightning bolt in the frame.
 
I use LRTimelapse (LRTimelapse - Advanced Time Lapse Photography made easy!) in conjunction with Lightroom to edit any time lapses I take with my DSLR. This program has a couple tools to reduce the flickering you're seeing in your lapses due to both adjusting settings to due to changing light and frame-to-frame flickering. I've read that latter can be due to what aperture you're using. If you're not using your widest aperture, then the aperture can be off slightly between frames enough to cause differences in exposure. I've tested this, and it seems to work. Regarding LRTimelapse, there is a free/trial version in which you can only make lapses up to 400 frames, no text in the lapses, and I think limits resolution.

I only shoot in RAW, so I can't comment on how using jpegs with LRTimelapse or any other software will work. Shooting in RAW also removes all the post-processing on the image and may speed things up a little. There are also remotes and mobile apps that allow you to accurately control your exposure while shooting lapses so that you don't have to mess with the camera directly.
 
Cool. I have the lightroom + photoshop subscription so I do use RAW for still images. For video editing I've been using Adobe Premier Elements 2018 and/or FFmpeg, and they can't open RAW files. I'd love to use that timelapse program to remove flicker though. For that I suppose I'll have to buy a bigger memory card. With any decent length timelapse 32GB fills up pretty quick with RAW files. What size memory card do you use? If I do real storm chasing I'll eventually need to carry more memory with me anyways. The big ones are just expensive.

Edit: What is the cost in US dollars?
 
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James K

EF2
Mar 26, 2019
170
70
6
Colorado
Marshall Stone said:
What size memory card do you use? If I do real storm chasing I'll eventually need to carry more memory with me anyways. The big ones are just expensive.
Watch places like Best Buy around Black Friday, sometimes they do some pretty good sales on memory cards.
I also reccommend stay away from cards on eBay/Amazon .. they may not be what they say! (for example: might say 32gb and even appear as such on the computer/camera, but in reality its only 16gb .. any files written past the 16gb will be filenames only)
 
What size memory card do you use? If I do real storm chasing I'll eventually need to carry more memory with me anyways. The big ones are just expensive.

Edit: What is the cost in US dollars?
I have 2 8GB, 2 16GB, and 2 32GB cards. I purchased the 2 32GB cards earlier this year at $10.37 USD each on Amazon. The 8GB cards are just for backup, as I use the 16GB and 32GB cards primarily. For shooting an average lapse, the larger cards I have are sufficient for lapses with images taken roughly every 2-30 seconds. I use a 1 second interval when I'm shooting lightning, and I've only run into a bind once or twice when it comes to running out of room on a card when using that interval.
 

Jeff Duda

Resident meteorological expert
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Oct 7, 2008
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I also reccommend stay away from cards on eBay/Amazon .. they may not be what they say! (for example: might say 32gb and even appear as such on the computer/camera, but in reality its only 16gb .. any files written past the 16gb will be filenames only)
Wow, that sounds horribly deceitful! The Better Business Bureau should be notified about this kind of crap.

To Marshall, I would say that if you really want to get into time lapses, you're eventually going to just have to bite the bullet and pony up the cash for a higher-capacity memory card. I just found 64-128 GB cards at Target for $20-$40. Relative to what you spent on the camera itself, that's a pretty cheap investment. You might even try newegg.com. I see they have cards getting up to 512 GB for <$100 and you can find 256ers for $40-$55.
 
To Marshall, I would say that if you really want to get into time lapses, you're eventually going to just have to bite the bullet and pony up the cash for a higher-capacity memory card. I just found 64-128 GB cards at Target for $20-$40. Relative to what you spent on the camera itself, that's a pretty cheap investment. You might even try newegg.com. I see they have cards getting up to 512 GB for <$100 and you can find 256ers for $40-$55.
Yea. One 32 GB card isn't enough for long video and RAW timelapse together. I will probably buy a single 128GB or 256GB one so I don't have to worry about swapping cards. The best price/value ratio seems to be in that range now. Above that capacity they start going way up in price if you need fast read/write performance.
 
Wow, that sounds horribly deceitful! The Better Business Bureau should be notified about this kind of crap.
I think they are counterfeit scams. You can report the individuals but I'm sure they always hide/fake their identity. Government could force Amazon to investigate/track fraudulent sellers, but then people get paranoid about the government and/or big companies spying on individuals. I don't think online shipping/distribution companies are held responsible for third party sellers the same way real physical stores would be.
 
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James K

EF2
Mar 26, 2019
170
70
6
Colorado
Marshall Stoner said:
I think they are counterfeit scams.
Yep they are fake/counterfeit scams... (same is also being done with USB drives, and MP3 players).
Just do a google search for 'ebay fake sd cards' or 'amazon fake sd cards' . The sellers doing it are all located outside the US (most commonly in China), so nothing the authorities can do.
 
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