Playing with Hyperlapse

About a week ago, Instagram announced the release of their new free Hyperlapse app for iOS. So since we were headed to Ohio to visit relatives over the Labor Day weekend, the timing was perfect for me to use some flights to experiment with this new software.

Mind you, Hyperlapse does wonderful things, but it has its limits. It has essentially no settings you can change — you tap on a button to start recording, tap again to stop, then decide how much you want the video sped up before it is saved. The particularly impressive part of this story is that the app makes use of your iOS device’s built-in solid state gyro to help smooth out the device’s motion while you recorded the video.

Here’s a hyperlapse video (10x speedup) of our departure from Denver International Airport:

For the most part, it looks pretty good to me — but you can see some artifacts in the clouds from point to point. The default speedup is 6x, so on the flight home from Cleveland, I used that setting for three hyperlapse videos I made during ascent. Here’s a montage of them:

Maybe this was just a fluke, but the app seemed to do a much better job with things like clouds in the second video. A function of the speedup setting, or just dumb luck? Time (and some more experiments) will tell…

eBook Review — Craft and Vision’s Timelapse: An Introduction to Still Photographs in Motion

Anybody who’s followed this blog for long knows I’m a big fan of the eBooks published by Craft And Vision. They’ve just released another one, so I’m giving it a quick review here — hopefully it’ll be a useful addition to your library.

Timelapse cover

This particular eBook is written by Dave Delnea, and is titled Timelapse: An Introduction to Still Photographs in Motion. $5 will get you 43 tabloid-sized pages/sheets, with links to example video on the internet (on Vimeo, to be precise). Here’s a quick summary of what’s in the eBook:

  • Introduction — why do time lapse photography, what you can do with it
  • Demystifying Time Lapse — a simple overview of the work involved
  • Getting Geared Up — a fairly detailed discussion of the equipment you’ll need (or at least, want) to use for time lapse photography. This comes in four parts — Essential Equipment (cameras, lenses, tripod), Essential Extras (intervalometer, power, etc.), Not-so-essential Extras (collapsible seat, smartphone with essential apps), and Computers / Software.
  • Getting Ready — what to do before you get to your site, and what setup you need to do once there (setting up your tripod, framing, focus, camera menu settings, etc.)
  • Flicker — causes and fixes
  • Post-Production Workflow — Ingesting images, editing, deflickering, converting the images to video.
  • Advanced Techniques — motion control, bulb ramping, etc.
  • Case Studies — 5 examples, with explanation of the challenges involved in each, and links to helpful time lapse video clips hosted on Vimeo
  • Conclusion

All-in-all, Timelapse is a very solid introduction to time lapse photography if you’re (relatively) new to it. Even if you’ve done time lapse work before, you’ll likely pick up some good tips from the eBook. Dave uses Nikon gear, but his discussions of camera settings translate pretty easily to other makes. His post-processing discussions are focused on the use of Lightroom and a bit of software called LRTimelapse. This section doesn’t seem to me to translate as well, and LRTimelapse isn’t exactly cheap (a free version with limited capabilities is available; a license for non-commercial video costs 89 euros, one for commercial video costs 249 euros).

Timelapse Horizontal

So depending on whether you want to make time lapse videos for fun, or for potential sale, and depending on what software you already own, the eBook’s software section (taking up a bit under 1/4 of the book) will be more or less useful to you. Even without it, there is quite a bit of good material in the rest of the eBook.