This timelapse video needed to be different from the first two (one | two). I needed to achieve a higher level of difficulty. I figured that the best way to do this would be to capture the transition from day to night. What I mean is, I would start shooting at or before the sunset and continue way after the sunset and the blue hour.
Here’s how I did it.
Ideally, I should have started shooting well before the sunset, but I started late. How late? My first test shot rang out at 6:12 PM!
This series of timelapse videos are only short tests for a longer composite video, so I wasn’t too bothered by my blunder. However, it would have been nice to have a balanced video with equal time before and after the sun set.
Anyhow, there’s a bright side to starting late. Because the sun was already low in the sky and giving off a softer light, I could shoot ‘into the sun’ without fear of getting ruined shots due to a scene with a high dynamic range.
Terminology: Shooting ‘into the sun’ means having the sun in your frame while shooting. These scenes are usually an unpleasant mix of very bright parts and very dark sections and they are referred to a high dynamic range scenes.
So I chose a composition that would feature the sun but also have a good view of the main road to capture light trails of the vehicles during the night. Then, I took a few test shots and chose the settings that gave me a relatively evenly balanced image (that is, a good representation of both light and dark).
Those of you who know anything about photography must be wondering:
But how do you choose settings that are favorable for the current daytime scene and the coming night scene?
Warning – more technical talk ahead! This is why it was important for me to use Aperture Priority mode as opposed to Manual mode (which I used in the two previous videos). This mode allowed me to choose the ISO and aperture settings, and forced the camera to choose the fastest shutter speed necessary to create an even exposure.
Shooting in Aperture Priority mode meant that as it got darker, the camera would automatically use longer shutter speeds in order to achieve similar exposure results.
In order to get the cleanest image, I used ISO 100, and I chose an aperture of f/8 to achieve a good balance between sharpness and depth of field throughout the image. Terminology: in photography, depth of field is the effective range of focus that allows an image to appear acceptably sharp from the distance between the nearest and farthest objects in the scene.
Day to Night – The Result
After choosing the exposure settings I entered the intervalometer menu and selected an interval of 20 seconds between each shot, using a maximum of 500 images. This interval is fine for the images that require short shutter speeds. However the longer exposures (for example, 30 seconds) would pose a problem for the camera.
I knew it would compensate for the longer exposures… I just didn’t know how, until the end. After almost 3 hours of continuous shooting, the sequence ended, not with 500 images, but with 314.
Editing was somewhat tricky though. My editing process for timelapse images is simple: thoroughly edit the first frame in the series and apply those edits to the remaining images. This works like a charm when all the images depict a daytime scene or a nighttime scene.
However, since this video features a transition from day to night, I had to be careful to not use edits for the daytime images that could potential hurt the nighttime images.
The result is a 10 second long timelapse video that slowed down by 50% for the final cut. Check it out below!
Now that you’ve seen both videos, what are your thoughts? Tell me in the comments below, I’d love to hear what you thought!