Lessons learned from Timelapsing with the CHDK

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I wrote earlier on about my contact with CHDK and how I tried to do some time lapses. I was fascinated how easy this technique is and how powerful the visualizations are. I had my first failures and I did some of them again. I will return to this point at the end.

This blossom my friend is blowing in the wind...

This post is called lessons learned, because I just want to recite some things which are obvious, but should be kept in mind.

  • Time lapses take time – so plan ahead
  • Time lapses need space on your memory card – 4 GB might be not enough, with 16 GB you are on the safer side
  • Time lapses are battery hungry – so plan ahead
The magic triangle of time lapsing is time, memory and energy. There is a lot of planning. If your camera is set up wrong, the best which can happen is a boring movie, the worst is a waste of time. You do not want any of these. So plan ahead!
Set up a plan what you want to shoot, when and where. This is not the same like taking a photograph. One second takes 25 or more frames. So a sequence of 30 seconds consists of 30×25 = 750 pictures. These pictures have to be saved to your memory card and depending on your camera this can be a lot of space. If the movement on the pictures is fast, the intervall might be too long if it is 5 seconds. You can always make it slower. Never make it faster…
The hardest part is the planning of energy.
  • If you have to run on battery, make sure your battery is full at the start.
  • Turn off all the things you do not need: Most important is the display. Turn off the replay of the shots, turn off live view and all these energy destructing elements. You do not need focus assistant. When you set up you should know where the focus is and maybe:
  • You should think if you want the RAWs of your pictures. If you use LRTimelapse to develop the RAWs you need the RAWs, but the RAWs only, you do need the JPEG. Every file you save costs energy. Space is not the problem. Energy is.
And finally: Treat your camera nicely. Do not set it up in a dusty or wet, very hot or ice cold spot. If you do not want it any more you can send it to me 🙂
Coming back to the error I made. It was the ratio of the sides. I did not shoot in 16:9 and I was thinking and talked to the guys who make the videos in our company. The next thing I was doing was editing and animating the time lapse in blender. I will write up a detailed tutorial on how to do it. It is some work, but you will see: It is so awesome and cool!

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