Long Exposure Time-lapse with the Nikon D810 - Field TEST

August 08, 2015  •  Leave a Comment

I don't often produce time-lapse videos. In fact I haven't done so in many years. The process can be lengthy but using a few batch processing tricks in Bridge or Lightroom, one could save time and produce some amazing time-lapse videos. With the introduction of a dedicated Time-lapse feature, new DSLR cameras can directly output your images to a time-lapse video. The end result is spectacular if you take time to properly setup your DSLR. 

The first segment is shot with manual settings while the second in aperture priority. To smooth the transition from frame to frame you can't shoot in manual mode. It scared me, I didn't really trust the automatic settings since I was shooting with a TIFFEN Variable ND at 9 STOP of light. However a -0.5 EV compensation proved to work just fine as seen in the second segment. Both segments we're at native ISO 64 and each exposure varied from approximately 2 to 10 seconds as the light faded. That's longer than my 5 second shooting interval. It still worked out fine as you can see at the very end of the time-lapse.

This is but a quick test. The ease of use comes at a price. You will need to compose your scene in LIVE VIEW - MOVIE MODE as this is in 16:9, tighter than the 4:3 view of a DSLR viewfinder. You may also prefer to shoot in Jpeg over RAW. This allows you to fine tune your jpeg processing and take advantage of features such as D-Lighting to clear up some dark contrasts. However these two segments were shot in RAW.

Once compiled you won't have access to your individual images. You'll only have a video and you"ll need video editing tools to make your final adjustments and your edits. This can be a problem if you have a dust spot that manifests itself during the shooting.

 

This initial test has truly revived my desire to produce a new full featured time lapse. Keeping in mind that there's 80 minutes of shooting for 30 seconds of video, this is not a quick project. I'll need to properly plan my sequences as to not waste valuable shooting time. If everything goes well I should have something really nice by winter.

 


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