More timelapse trials: Firewood

So I had to do another one of these timelapse videos, they are fun!

Four cubic meters of firewood, moved. Nothing else. Hmm, maybe they are not that fun to watch as they are to do? See for yourself.

This time-lapse video features great beats by my brother Samuel, some of his earlier works. Check out his record label for electronic music at novo-music.com

Magic Lantern on Canon 550D

Upon building a DIY-timelapse hack of an egg timer, I needed an intervalometer to take the shots every nth second. Canon doesn’t offer that granularity in their original settings, so the only option is to buy an external peripheral to… NO! Scratch that!

Even though I came across some cheap $16 USD timer/intervalometer, I decided it was finally time to say Hello to the open source Magic Lantern firmware (ML) for Canon DSLR’s. I’ve followed their progress some time now, but have (for reasons that shall remain unknown) not tried it. Until now.

I just couldn’t wait for that gadget to ship from China, and I knew there was some settings in ML that would enable a good timelapse shoot. And yes there was! The installation went fine, I followed their instructions step by step.

There was only one hickup in that I had to re-install the official Canon firmware (at present v1.0.9) first. Note re-install, not upgrade as I was already on that official revision. From there, the installation of ML went smooth in a matter of seconds. A restart of the camera, pressing Live View-button and then the Trashcan-button, et violà! The Magic Lantern shined on my camera!

My first timelapse trial had a thick aura of newbieness all over it. I think I made most of the rookie mistakes that could be done:

  • Auto White Balance was on, making unnecessary flicker. Set it to what suits: Daylight, in this case!
  • I had a really boring frame on an apple tree. Nothing happened apart from the breeze… Find something interesting to shoot!
  • Autofocus was on. Find a focus and turn it off!

OK, so my second attempt wasn’t much better, but I’ll do better next time.

After about 1500 shots every 7th second, using my fixed 50 f/1.8 II objective, I unloaded them all on the PC. Now I had to figure out how to do a timelapse of all the shots. After a detour via Windows Live Movie Maker, Señor Google led me to a page which suggests to use Virtualdub, with some filters like ”deflickering” and ”resize”.

I tweaked some settings and am awaited the results, which took roughly 40 minutes (the images were Large!) on an Intel i5 PC. The results were a boring timelapse of an apple tree. Not much happened, apart from the sun setting.

The morning after I set up a shoot toward a lavendula, which had frequent visits from insects. The results above were OK. Virtualdub was used to handle the some 1044 shots, taken at 3 second interval, but I also used the MS Live Movie Maker to polish it up a little with transitions etc. Oh, after an hour my wife subtly reminded me that the camera could get hot in the sun. Right she was, as always, so I setup a small umbrella to cover it from the heating rays.

All in all a fun exercise! I will try to make some more experiences, perhaps of a star spangled night or a really cloudy day.