DSLR Timelapses addictive, frustrating and often rewarding…

Still frame taken from timelapse sequence

I have been doing timelapses ever since Sky the company I used to work for got their first Avid machine and were able to speed up footage. I used to shoot on Betacam SP, shoot one scene for 4o minutes  (which of course pissed off the editor as they have to real time digitize) and get them to speed it up X number of percent to effective give me a timelapse. Not the most elegant way, but certainly the only way for me to do it for a number of years.

The advent of tapeless cameras like my Sony F350, Panasonic HVX200 and PMW EX1 it became far easier to do timelapse. You could actually record one frame at a time over a prelonged period of time. So no wasting media, fast ingest time and the ability to truly control your timelapse with things like slow shutter for low light, taking one frame every 10 minutes or more if you wanted to. Suddenly the creative possibilities of timelapse where at my fingertips!

It wasn’t until I started using DSLRs though that the true power of timelapses were at my fingertips. The ability to create noiseless low light timelapses was very exciting. It was Tom Lowe from Timescapes.org who got meaddicted to this. He is the master of DSLR timelapses.

Most fun and rewarding for me are the star night time timelapses like the ones in the middle of my Skywalker Ranch film. These are mind blowing but take enormous patience. As each exposure takes about 30 seconds and you need 24/25 frames for each second of footage. That’s a long wait!

You see with stills timelapses you take loads of photos and then stick them altogether and create a video file. It’s actually very easy.

First off you need a camera that can do timelapse. The Nikon D300/s, D700, D3/s all have timelapse built in. The Canon cameras don’t. So you need something called an intervalometer. Different cameras need different ones. The official Canon one for the 5Dmkii, 1dmkiV and 7D is the TC-80N3 but you can also buy some cheap Chinese versions. Here are links to ones I have used for the cameras I have with me: 5DmkII, 500D, GF1.

Get yourself a nice sturdy tripod. Make sure you are on ground that won’t wobble like some pavements/ sidewalks, have enough battery power and enough card space. Ideally shoot RAW if you can but I often shoot JPEGs especially for the epic ones that last all night or longer.

The tricky bit is controlling the exposure because once you start you don’t want to start changing the settings on the camera or it will look like crap! Even lighting situations like daytime or nightime are easier as you just stick the camera in manual and away you go. If you want long exposure longer than 1/30th of a second on the 5dmkii then take it out of live view mode for video and put it in stills mode. You can then shoot long exposure timelapses in live view mode. You can shoot timelapse in live view mode or just normal stills mode. I like live view mode as it shows me what I am getting but it eats up juice, so if you are doing long ones make sure you have a main power supply for the camera or a battery pack. Live view mode also means the mirror box isn’t constantly opening and closing and therefore is also quieter. The GF1 is live view mode only.

Oh one thing…take your camera out of auto focus! It will screw up your timelapse completely! Manual focus only!

There is a finite number of clicks your shutter can take on your DSLR, this can vary from camera to camera. Yes, this will shorten the life of your shutter, but not your camera. If your shutter does eventually fail on you then it’s not the end of your camera, it can be fixed. I have been quoted £200 if it needs it, others may quote higher or lower. Your 7D + 5dmkII shutter should last you well over 200,000 shots.

If you are doing timelapses of something that will have a drastic light change that’s when it becomes difficult. Day to night and night to day are tricky as you really need something on auto, the iris, the shutter or the iso.

Aperture Priority means the iris stays as you set it and the camera adjusts the shutter to compensate. Shutter priority adjusts the iris to compensate whilst keeping the shutter to what you have set it at. I prefer keeping my ISO locked down at something low to keep the image clean.

Don’t forget if shooting with a shutter that changes then when it gets dark your photo can take much longer than a second to expose which means you will capture less stills per minute therefore making any timelapse you do shorter in footage duration.

With the intervalometer make sure the frames are set to — as if you try and put a number down then you will get max of 99 frames which is useless! Also set the interval to what you want between shots, I often make it just 1 second between shots.

The problem we have to deal with is flicker. This happens in auto mode due to the metering of the camera. It decides whether to open up the iris, drop the shutter etc to compensate for subtle light changes so frame by frame the exposure changes. This causes flicker and is a pain.

There are a number of post ways to get rid of this. Many swear by a PC solution using VirtualDub but as I don’t have a PC I cannot use it. Other use After Effects to even out exposures very successfully. I have some plug ins for final cut but they don’t work that well.

The way I create the video from the stills using my Mac is very easy. I open up Quicktime Pro 7, not Quicktime X. Quicktime Pro 7 is hidden in the utilities folder of Snow Leopard. Open up image sequence. Make sure photos are all in one folder and then click on first photo in sequence. You are then asked what frame rate do you want the video to be at. I selected 25p as I am shooting 25p for this documentary. So I need 25 photos for 1 second of footage. More if I feel I may need to speed it up later. Quicktime then creates a massive 5K file that I then save whole. You can also export down to ProRes Full HD using crop, but this often creates banding, so I tend to bring in the whole large file into Final Cut and use all the extra information to do things like digital zooms and pans etc without loss of resolution. This is what I did in the video at the bottom of the post in Dubai. Digital pans and slow zooms all done because I have all the extra resolution.

You could set everything to auto. Including ISO. I did this for my 36 hour timelapse in San Francisco and I had no flicker. Go figure!

36 hour timelapse on the Canon 7D from Philip Bloom on Vimeo.

I am staying at the Atlantis Palm hotel in Dubai whilst I film the documentary using the Canon 7D on the Royal Family of Dubai, the Al Maktoums who commissioned the film on their history. I am making this with Talkabout Media and Media Prima. I am filming about 20 odd talking heads, filming dramatic reconstructions and getting general shots.

I chose the Atlantis as I knew the view looking to the city would be spectacular and it is. I just need a different room now as am having issues with this one as there is a massive light to the right of my balcony giving me nasty light pollution.

So far, I haven’t got the perfect timelapse. I am still trying and every night I will keep on trying!

The below timelapse is mostly 5DmkII with 24-70 f2.8, 70-200 f2.8, TS 24mm F3.5 lenses and the first and penultimate shots are done on the little cheap GF1 and look great! Most of them are set to aperture priority but this isn’t working for me. As you can see in one of them, which flickers badly…

I will keep trying and work out the best way. I won’t give up just yet! Do share your tips and solutions below!

EDIT: I HAVE FOUND A MAC FCP POST SOLUTION TO FIX MY FLICKER ISSUES AND IT WORKS PERFECTLY. GENARTS FLICKER REMOVAL. Unfortunately it’s only available as part of a large VERY expensive package which I have owned for about 3 years. Be great if Genarts could make that one plug in available separately. I will keep on the lookout for cheap alternatives. Below is the Vimeo “De-flickered” version. Click here to see the original version with the flicker in it.

I am hoping to get permission to film some stuff around the hotel as it will make a beautiful short. My B-Roll guy is coming here this work whilst I shoot more interviews but I want to shoot more myself with my glidetrack as it will be a lot of fun and will look great…

Room with a view: Dubai Timelapses tests from Atlantis hotel from Philip Bloom on Vimeo.


  1. Love this Philip! Great job.

    I was trying to do a starry night timelapse but had a lot of trouble with dew forming on my lens. Have you ever had that problem and what have you/would you do to fix the problem?

    Love your work!

  2. Hi Philip,

    Your timelapses are really really nice ! Close to perfection for me.

    So what were your settings for those ones ? I understand you locked the ISO and the interval was set to 1 second but was it in Shutter or Aperture Priority or maybe Manual ?


  3. Philip,

    Another “free” timelapse control option for 7D (and 5Dmk2?) owners: use a USB cable to tether to your laptop (MacBook) and the DPP software that came with the camera. There’s a time-lapse controller built in. It’s a less portable set-up than using the smaller controllers, but since the camera is locked in position anyway, portability should be moot.

    Fantastic and beautiful work, Philip! Thanks for everything you show us.



    1. Hi Patrick,

      I have just bought a 7D and have a MacBook Pro but cannot find the time lapse control option in the Canon software, I am very new to this and need some pointing please.

        1. I believe it comes packaged under the EOS utility. The option is under ‘remote shooting’. It enables you to play with exposure, white balance, aperture, and everything else you could normally control on your camera, etc. You can choose the time between shots (must be greater than 5 seconds and less than 30 seconds, have not found a way to bypass these limits). It allows you to choose up to however many shots you want (which is handy, because it can store it on your mac/pc with a large hard drive.

  4. Don’t DSLR shutters have a limited actuation lifespan (number of actuations) that you would reach very quickly shooting lots of time-lapses?

  5. Thanks for this Philip, solved a mystery and provided me with good information. As soon as I got myself the 7D, I will surely be testing Time-lapse.

  6. I wish my timlapses look half as good as your try out. I’m doing mine using the mac software wich is nice but I’m missing batery life so I cannot go far from a plug. Nevertheless Philip, should I give priority to aperture or exposure?
    I visit your site every single day hopping to learn more and more.
    Great work

  7. thx philip great blogpost … as usual 🙂 i didn’t make any timelapse on my own … yet… but i’m sure following this and upcoming posts i’ll be confident to try it one time without messing everything up 🙂 i can’t wait to see what may be the best setting and/or DSLR for this type of stuff … so i wait and see … i hope you get your footage as you want it (permission and so on)

    … and your work for the documentary on the Royal Family of Dubai doesn’t disturbs your timelapse-project as much 😉

  8. Philip,

    Great post as always! Just starting to shoot timelapses myself, and plan to write a column for the local newspaper (Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada) on the subject! I’ll be sure to link to this post, which is definately required reading on the subject!

    Keep em coming!


  9. Thanks Phil for the great information as usual. Beautiful timpelaps, I hope to go to Dubai one day myself. I have been itching to do a timelaps with my 7D, hopefully soon once I purchase an intervalometer. Have you found any difference between the cheap intervalometer vs. the one made by Canon?



  10. Thanks for the great post Philip! Have you figured out how to get image sequence to work properly on the new iMac? Mine doesn’t seem to be displaying a preview when it first engulfs the screen, but it does display correctly when you export from Quicktime. Also is there a way to make verticals display properly when played back?

    Looking forward to seeing more from you and trying this out!


  11. Philip, one way to do a sunrise or sunset without flicker is to shoot a bracket of exposures in manual mode. Create a separate timelapse for each exposure then blend them together on the same timeline by giving each it’s own layer. Of course, that will hasten that trip to repair shop to get a new shutter!

  12. Great timelapses Philip! I was wondering what timing you usually use to get good smooth movement (for example, 1 photo every 5 seconds, 10s or 20).

  13. Hi Philip,

    Thanks for this very informative blog post – I have just started doing timelapses and much is still a mystery to me, but it’s great that you share your experiences with us and clarify some of these mysteries.

    Two questions:

    Have you tried using VirtualDub with Parallels or BootCamp on a Mac? That should work, and with the new coherence mode of Parallels you won’t even notice it’s not a native Mac app (on a powerful Mac, that is).
    Alternatively, I can really recommend the great Sapphire plugins for After Effects or Final Cut Pro. I successfully removed lots of flicker due to wrongly adjusted shutter speeds using HMI lighting. It was the only plugin delivering what I needed and really getting rid of the flicker.

    When you are doing your post pro zoom-ins to your timelapses in Final Cut Pro, you certainly use the massive native movie file you created in QuickTime 7 Player, aren’t you? I find it noteworthy that people shouldn’t start nesting FCP sequences in one another, as Final Cut Pro will only use the resolution of the nested file to render the zoom-in. As a consequence, you would lose resolution and of course sharpness doing it this way.

    Personally, I prefer doing the timelapses using After Effects. You don’t need to create massive QuickTime files, but you are able to use an “Ease In” and “Ease Out” effect, something which is just impossible using a manually keyframed Final Cut Pro change in scaling.

  14. 2 thoughts:
    1. wouldnt we want to have shutter speed always half as long as interval to get the exact amount of motion blur we love so much? especially when theres fast movement,short shutter speed just doesnt look good/smooth. will need some nd filters at daytime…
    2. for all those, like me who doesnt want to waste our shutter&mirror: get a canon digicam and CHDK (http://chdk.wikia.com, check which cameras are supported) and the “ultra intervalometer” script.

  15. BBC were using fixed exposure and the dynamic range of col neg film to cope with exposure (about 16 stops) instead of auto for the same reasons you describe

    7D will only give you about 9-10 stops, but 5D2 should be good for 11+ in RAW and then Bridge to batch process….?

    Don’t try using sRAW – not nice!


  16. Great looking video Philip, and an informative article too. Dubai, definitely looks like an interesting place to visit. Is that train the only way of getting to your hotel?

    If you’re ever after a pocket sized camera you can shoot timelapses with, I would highly recommend anything by Ricoh. You just set them at intervals of 5 seconds or more, or you can shoot in continuous mode at roughly 2 to 4fps. Their current top of the line pro models are the GR Digital 3, GX2 and GXR. I shot this http://bit.ly/5g5QBl on a GR Digital back in 2006. Great little cameras, and so quick to set up. There’s also a remote USB cable release called the CA1 that you can use with them.

      1. Hi Philip, actually, all the Ricoh’s have that time interval function built in including the cheapest in their range right now, the R10. I picked up the Ricoh CX1 really cheap recently which is a brilliant camera for the price. One great feature it has is a multi pattern auto white balance setting which analyzes tiny sections of a scene, rather than the overall scene as a whole. So indoor photos where there’s a window visible can be taken without the outdoor lighting looking too blue. It actually works really well, and also on photos where a flash has been used. A spirit level on LCD too which is very handy!

        You should be able to get some nice looking timelapses on your GRD II. Give it a try! I shot about 4 minutes worth on my old GRD in NY back in 2006, which I’ll eventually get around to doing something with 😐 Sadly it’s lens locked up a while back and getting it fixed would have cost more than buying a new one, so I switched to using their cheaper cameras. A Caplio R7 which I later gave to my wife, and now the CX1. To be honest, I can’t notice much difference in image quality between these and my old GRD.

        1. I’ll add, the crazy thing is, both the R7 and CX1 each cost me less than what my mate payed for his Canon intervalometer!

          Oh, and the best focus setting for timelapses on these cameras is infinity.

  17. Hi Phil,

    Just wondering if you have any workflow recommendations for the gf1 and FCP? I’m a little confused by the manual/marketing materials which say the sensor outputs 30p but the file the camera turns out is 60p.

  18. Your time-lapse are beautiful. Can you tell me how you are getting the movement in your time-lapse? By movement I mean the movement from side to side or zooming in during the clip. Thank you for sharing.

  19. Beautiful stuff Philip! It’s really interesting to see the subtle changes in the water something that ordinarily would go unnoticed. Also loved the dancing cranes atop the buildings being constructed. Fascinating to see a what is usually a static shot come to life.

    One technical question, how did you create the camera moves (pan, zoom, dolly) into the time lapse shots?

  20. Hi Philip, been watching your for a while. Great post. Just did my firt 7D “star-lapse” during an overnight winter hike. When I “import image sequence” in QT Pro 7.6.3 I just get a 12 second 1.25GB black video and that’s it. I’ve read that some users have experienced this, have you? (I’m running Snow Leopard)

    Thanks a bunch!

    1. Are you trying to import a raw sequence? Final cut pro is a quicktime based edit system and can troubleshoot some codec problems. As far as I know fcp can’t import raw directly. If you have fcp then try converting the files to a tiff or jpeg. You can import the whole folder that contains your pictures (before you do this set the still / freeze duration to one frame) and drag it on the timeline.
      I you set the still / freeze duration to 1 frame it avoids unnecessary editing on the timeline.
      I hope this helps a bit, otherwise please ignore my rambling!

        1. Hi Philip,

          the way you create the videos from stills using a Mac like you described indeed is very cool and easy. But unfortunately it does not work with RAW. This makes sense thinking about your comment here. I am just a little irritated because above you mentioned that you prefer to shoot the stills for time lapse in RAW. How do you handle the pictures in the RAW format?

          Thanks in advance.

          Best Frank

  21. Very informative post Philip!

    I’m looking to shoot the sunrise but I’m struggling with deciding on the settings. I think I’m doing a little too much thinking and not enough shooting. Reading this post made me realize that. Thx again.

    Best from Vancouver

  22. Another great blog from the master, a great read and fills the gaps to a lot of questions I have. Going to try timelapse with the 5D when away next week snowboarding.

    Thanks for you time on this subject Phil look forward to the next…

  23. Hi Philip

    Your work is a great as usual, congratulations. I just have one question: At what interval did you photographed the images used on this timelapse?

    Kind regards,

  24. Nice job, I loved the vid. I thought that canon has released a firmware update for the 5dmk2 (which can allow variable frame rates) and you were testing it 😀
    But I think 7D has it on this front to the 5dmk2.

    nice work

  25. Hey Philip, thanks for a informative blog. Always some very useful insight into tips and tricks. I’ve just finished a little timelapse job for Audi Edinburgh using a mix of the 7D and the 5D some of the 5d was shot realtime and sped up. The guys on timescapes were very helpful in getting my moco skater dolly working. Haven’t used it a great deal yet but the potentional is there.

    I’ve posted the audi ad on youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=50o9S4we-ac

    be interesting to see your thoughts.

    Ps how did you get on with the nano flash I’ve been looking at getting one to use with the 7D.

  26. Love the Timelapses! I finally received my Chinese version intervelometer. So just waiting for the right time to give it a shot. (No pun intended). Will we be able to see some of the documentary footage you’re shooting once it’s finished?
    Thanks for all you’re insight and help with EVERYTHING video!

  27. Beautiful work. Perhaps I missed it, but how are you creating the pans and zooms over the course of the time lapse? It’s the subtle motion that adds the wow factor IMHO.

  28. Hey Philip,

    As always, great stuff!

    Have you seen how Tom Lowe uses the Mumford Stepping Motor to do real-life motorized movements using a self-build Glidetrack like rig? Have contacted Alistair at GlideTrack and suggested he’d would offer that as an add-on. He replied that he has no plans for now, but that this may change in the future. Perhaps you and your followers can help!?

    Also, have you seen the timelapses done with a Meade panning head? Quiet another amazing effect. Example: http://vimeo.com/8389988 Hardware available here: http://shop.telescope-warehouse.com/product.sc?categoryId=1&productId=119

    I did my first long time lapse last week, using AV-mode. This caused severe flicker. Am looking into ways to effectively reduce it. This reminds me: when editing timelapses do you manually remove any birds/planes jumping in & out of the scenes?



    PS1: The AE-plugin that Philip is referring to is called GBDeflicker and is only available for Windows machines: check out http://www.granitebaysoftware.com/products/productgbd.aspx
    15-day free trial and $79 for a license – not bad. Finding out now if it fixes my timelapse flicker.

    PS2: Here is a workflow in AE when using RAW files for timelapses: http://www.delaat.net/~arne/tltips.html#how2

    PS3: You can also open up the RAW files in Photoshop (Extended version), edit the files (e.g. remove birds/planes), save as PSDs and export it out as video.

  29. Love the nighttime shots. Those cranes on top of the buildings like electric bugs! Great to be able to zoom in and pan. Rendering must take a while, but its really worth it, the quality is right up there.

  30. Heard the news via Twitter…silly Cleaners. Sorry about your luck :\

    Nice info. I want the gear that you use so badly, I sometimes cry myself to sleep at night. Keep it real Sir!

  31. Always love reading up on your exploits and travels. One thing I thought it would be nice to share with you all regarding time-lapse, is my little secret, the powershot G9 with CHDK firmware hack.

    I have a 7d, and have done time-lapse with it, but in all honesty, once you scale the gigantic image down to HD size, I coudn’t tell the difference between the 7d and the G9 videos in terms of quality. Acutally, the G9 (or the newer G11 powershot) is superior in many ways:

    1) the shutter is rated at over 300,000!!
    2) there are less (if any?) moving parts, and consistently less flicker. In fact, I get no flicker with a powershot.
    3) CHDK is a free firmware hack available on the net (google it: chdk canon) that enables time-lapse scripts, and all sorts of other goodies (1/80,000 shutter speed, etc.), for FREE, no need for intervalometer.

    the resulting images are still 12mp, so you don’t need to worry about quality at all really. My goal is to get an underwater housing for my G9, weigh it down, and somehow make an underwater time-lapse!

  32. Man killer stuff. I have a D90 and finally upgraded my computer so now I can handle the video files. I am in love with this new technology and can’t wait til about 3rd generation. I will admit that Cannon is Kicking Nikons butt at the moment since they are shooting full frame with 5dII and 7d. at full 1080i.

    I have Nikon and already invested in the glass so for now I will get the work flow down so when they finally get up to speed I will be good to go. However I will more than like also get a HV30-HV40.

    Yet the bliss is being able to have an all in one solution such as what you have here. The time lapse is killer not sure that the D90 does that I have to check I think it does actually.

    Anyway congrats and thanks for all your info on your blog.
    Best Regards

    Funn Foto

  33. Philip,

    Good post.

    Question related to Timelapses in general:
    Have you ever tried to mask out small portions of image in every frame?
    For instance: timelapse of stars at night, and lights from the cars on the mountainous road are distracting, so how to deal with them?
    ( and road could not be removed from the frame in first place, since wanted to keep that mountain in the frame )

    Few of the solutions I tried :
    1. Very Time Consuming approach:
    going over 200 frames and mask out light on each frame

    2. Fast approach, but not good results:
    mask out that area with the road by the same mask for all images,
    and then overlay all of them with one of the frame without lights on the road.

    ( road is actually not seen 😉 )

  34. Amazing work. I must say: always very happy to read your articles because making time lapses is indeed time consuming, frustrating but ofter rewarding. Because of your work and that of Tom Lowe, I completely got hooked up as well.

    I am even more happy to read that you use different shutter speeds. This was (until now) the biggest issue I had making time lapse movies.

    Keep up the good and amazing work.

    Paul (from Dubai)
    (Next time you are around here let me know, I know some amazing places here for stunning shots)

  35. To remove or reduce flicker, use the normal Large or normal Medium JPEG quality setting. This is the “stepped” icon next to the L or M. Also shoot at 2.8 since the aperture does not have to close down and open after and during each exposure.

    Normal settings are not has detailed as the fine settings, but look the same in the output for regular applications. Flicker is caused by the detail in the photos being too great for FCP and our screens to handle.

    Normal Medium with the 7D gives you at least 3456 pixels across, which is plenty for most pan and scans. Use Large if you plan on something more panned in.

    Let me know if this helps.

  36. Hi Philip,

    I just read two articles with not so good news on the VDSLRs, concerning effects that I have discovered on some of my footage as well: moving moiré patterns resulting from aliasing (fake detail) that the Canons are designed to produce:

    This is especially a problem with deep focus video shots (wide angle landscapes) of places with lots of detail. I am sure that you must have noticed it on some shots as well. Not so much a problem when shooting stills for timelapses, but all the more apparent when shooting video…

    Now, your videos appear nice and clean to me. I am curious to learn if you have experienced moving moires as well and, if so, what you do in practice to
    – either prevend it
    (e.g. use low pass filters in front of the lens, stay away from deep
    focus when shooting sth with lots of detail)
    – or combat it
    (with software when it shows up full screen in your edit suite)?

    Please advice.



  37. Quick question Philip. I noticed that you used the Glidetrack Shooter while visiting the Skywalker Ranch and you are using the PocketDolly Basic. Do you prefer one over the other?

    Thank you.

      1. Dear Phillip, love your work, it has taken my career to a next step:-) THX 4 all!!

        I have a client who wants a time lapse of 3 hours combined with a 360 pan in a 20 sec film. I was thinking of making a big disc like a turntable with all the degrees on it with a foto-tripodhead in the centre and then turn the camera manualy 1 degree every 20 seconds and making 1 shot each turn. Would this work? All based on a very thight construction. Thanx for your time.

  38. Great post on creating a time lapse video – it has inspired me to create my own.

    I need a little help with the correct “Easy Setup” and Sequence Settings in FCP for properly using the MOV file that QT spits out.

    I’ve taken my photos and in QT have done “open image sequence” and created the video. Clicked Save and choose the larger inclusion file and spit out a 6.8 gb file.

    Here are the MOV properties:
    Apple Photo – JPEG, 4288 x 2848, Millions

    Easy Setup (not sure about these)
    Format: DV / Panasonic DVCPRO
    Use: DV-NTSC 24p

    My sequence settings are as follows
    Frame size: 4288 x 2848
    Pixel Aspect Ration – NTSC – CCIR 601 / DV (720 x 480) (I don’t think this is correct)
    Compressor: Photo – JPEG

    I’d like to be able to pan and zoom within the images.

    Thanks for your help,

  39. Hey Philip. Love these timelapses!

    I started making a simple one in my kitchen last night using RAW stills from a Canon. However, I can’t seem to open the CR2 files within Quicktime Pro 7 (using image sequence). Any idea if this is possible? If not, do you know what the work-around is?

    I didn’t really find a good answer via Google. I am assuming that I don’t want to convert the RAWs to JPGs. Is that a good assumption?


    1. There’s probably a better way but I ended up importing all my RAW files into Lightroom and then exporting as full size JPGs. I suppose the quicker way is to simply take JPGs in the first place!

    2. I am having a similar issue, I converted all the RAW CR2s to jpeg and all I get is a black when I play the movie back.

      I would also like to know if anyone has a fix for this.

  40. Does the remote you listed for the GF1 really only go up to 399 exposures? Thats only about 16 seconds at 24P. For the time lapses I have in mind, I would want it to go longer than that.

    Nice work by the way, love your stuff.

  41. Very nice – love reading these kind of updates / info on the fly !

    awesome stuff – and the water is mesmerizing !

    also – is this flicker a problem that happens over the time of image capture or something that develops later in FCP ?

    If it is the images themselves – Is ““Auto Lighting Optimizer” turned off / disabled ? As I know that causes flicker during video ??

    anyways – great stuff ! ( didn’t really notice any flicker in above vid? )

    Dubai is crazy

  42. Hey Phillip-

    Great blog of course – but I’d like to know more about what you DO when you’re shooting the timelapses as opposed to the settings & etc.

    When do you get the time to do these? Do you set the camera up and leave (how do you accomplish the motion in some of the shots?) or do you hang out, kick back and have a drink?

    Also, I have heard many conflicting opinions on Dubai. I know, you’re there for a very specific (sensitive) reason, and I’m sure you can’t really talk about it here, but I’d love to know what you thought…

    It seems that you’re choosing “city” or “location” shots- did you get in the “thick of it” and take any shots of the people in a more- contextual- way?

    Great stuff, old chap!

  43. I’ve done quite a bit of timelapse experimentation, mostly after seeing work by Ross Ching (http://rossching.com/); his Eclectic series is excellent.

    I started out with my lowly Nikon D80, for which I have numerous lenses. Timing was provided by a Pclix (http://pclix.com/pages/pclix_main.html), which has a gawdawful interface but does get the job done. I later realized that the 10 megapixel resolution was extreme overkill and that I didn’t want my DSLR sitting out in the open for hours on end. So I used the Pclix with an old Canon G5 camera, which still gives me HD resolution at 5 megapixels. The only thing I miss out on is the lens flexibility; the image quality is perfectly acceptable.

    Timelapse is only good if there are changes in the scene being snapped. Storms building are always fascinating, traffic flow can be interesting, the changes in light and shadow as time passes easily turn ho-hum when you overdose on it.

    The biggest drawback to doing a good timelapse is the sheer time involved and finding a secure place either leave the camera or a comfortable place to spend the day with the camera. I think that’s the main reason I don’t do more of it.

    I haven’t done anything significant in post production other than occasionally adding music. Never thought of zooming and panning in Final Cut Pro; will have to give that a try.

    Thanks for the post. Always interesting to read about other people’s experiments and results.

      1. Can you give any details on how to use the CHV filter in FCP using stills. Do I apply it to all the stills in my timelapse sequence or can it only be applied to a video sequence of stills made in QT7 for example? Thanks in advance.

  44. Hi Philip
    been following along off and on since NAB last year. and here is one of my earlier attempts at Timelapse.
    As the sun rises I got blown out using manual settings. Im guessing had I set my iso to auto and set my camera to AV I would have had better results. Im stuck in North Sweden for work so I have time to point my camera out the window and shoot.. 8) shot using a canon intervelometer and my new canon G11.. I’ve now learned that if I plug in the mini USB/AV cables it disables the screen but doesnt reset me back to autofocus, which is what happens if you simply turn the screen off. But its all about making mistakes and learning. huh? thanks for all the indepth information.
    Heres another attempt with a different technique..
    shot on my canon 7D 12 mins of 720p video sped up in premiere at x2500% came out rather ok. except for the smudge on my lens. 8(

  45. hi philip.

    as the best plugins are currently for pc, you mentioned you didnt have one, your probably aware of this but you actually do… kind of…

    you can install windows in a partition on a mac so you are able to boot in pc mode and have a shared folder between osx and windows.

    another option is…

    install a virtual pc on your mac so you dont have to restart your machine… http://www.parallels.com

    im thinking of trying it out… anyone else tried this?

      1. yeah, it really stretches out the whole production process.

        you may already know this but i just found out that gbdeflicker is out for mac now (after effects and premiere)

        ive been testing it and it does help, though not perfect, ive done 15 x 5 second timelapse tests (25fps) over the last two days and still not found the “ideal setting”
        to reduce flicker in camera and within the plugin, it just seems its down to luck!

  46. I ve done a day/night timelapse with a Canon 550D set to aperture mode and everything else set to manual and stay fixed (iso, white balance, etc…)

    Despite of this, I have a lot of flicker effect… Useless !

    What have i done wrong ?

    Which mode do you select in order the DSLR calculate the exposure : evaluating metering, partial metering, spot metering, center-weiighted average ?

    Thanks for your answer and your very inspiring work…

  47. Hey Philip,
    I’ve encountered a strange glitch when using CHV long exposure and Magic Bullet looks. When I render my timelapse in the timeline using the two plugins, I get these green and yellow blocks jumping all over the image. Is this a rendering option problem? can’t seem to find a fix.
    Any ideas?

    FCP version 6
    Magic Bullet Looks 1.0
    CHV time-collection4
    Mac Pro running 10.5.8

  48. Hi Phil – great to meet you in Toronto!

    Wondering if you can please share the general settings/first things you try when correcting flicker, using the CHV time plugin? Getting some cool results with cars and such, but haven’t solved flicker yet.

    You rock


      1. Yes, with CHV. Some of it’s improving, but it also creates other issues, like killing what were decent streaky planes are now stacatto.

        Also, with the banding – will using the full res QT file cure this?

        You had mentioned some people solving flicker with After Effects – any leads on that info?

  49. Hello Philip.

    Would you have a moment and try to answer these questions
    if you can, please?

    Changing Light

    After shooting stills for dawn timelapses,
    the exposure, of course, is tricky.

    Would you suggest trying aperture priority first?

    You are not kidding, it’s a tricky area!

    What has worked for you the best for light-changing
    timelapse shooting.

    For smaller flicker problems on a PC, GBDeflicker seems to work well.

    Thank you…Lu

  50. If I set my camera (7D) up using Aperture Priority as you recommend when shooting a shot with clouds and traffic, how do i get the traffic to have thaat cool motion blur? Because I no longer have shutter control in Aperture Priority mode.?


  51. and why does my intervelometer have an hour, min, and second setting for exposure time?? who would expose a shot for a half hour? or an hour?? and why cant you set the exposure for less than a second????

  52. hey Philip, thanks for all the helpful info! One thing; would you mind giving the names as well as the links to equipment please, as I find that most of the links on your older posts are broken (e.g. the cheaper intervalometers above). thanks, omar

  53. Hi Philip.
    Thank you very much for sharing this extremely informative information here.
    I am definitely going to take another good look around your website:-))))))


  54. I’m shooting without an intervalometer and using the EOS Utility for the 5D MkII. Has anyone found a work around for the limitation of shooting at intervals of 5 seconds? I’d like to take it down to 1 second.

    Anyone know of any 3rd party apps that might work?

  55. Hello, thank you for all your tutorials! I shot a time-lapse in raw and I don’t have adobe software. If I am using quicktime pro 7 and later Final Cut, is my only option to shoot in jpeg? For now, I am converting my Raw images to jpeg in order to continue on as it seems quicktime won’t except RAW files? Thanks a bunch

  56. Hello, great post – I know its several years old now but am having the same issue with flicker on sunrise/sunset timelapses. I shoot RAW on a Canon 60D in AV mode with manual focus, locked white balance and ISO. I then ‘develop’ the photos in Lightroom 4 (I develop one then paste settings to make sure there’s no variance there) and export as Jpegs. I was then bringing them direct into FCP X to make the timelapse but the flicker is a real problem. I have closely followed Philips advise on using Quicktime 7, but it didn’t make any difference for me. Am I missing something, or is there something different about Quicktime 7 Pro that reduces the flicker? If so, will be well worth the $30! Any feedback much appreciated.

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