Time Lapse Setup For Blizzard

obajobaobajoba Posts: 206Member
edited April 2013 in D3/D4/D5
We have an impending "blizzard" that should dump a decent amount of snow in Denver and they are predicting rain, lightning, thunder, "thundersnow", etc. So, seeing as I hate the cold, I am thinking of trying out timelapse. But, since it will stretch from daylight to night and back to daylight, I know I will likely need to adjust settings.

Knowing I am likely to get lynched for not re-reading the D4 manual, does anyone know if you can change settings during a time-lapse on the D4? My only other thoughts are 1) set it to Auto ISO with a ceiling of 10,000(ish), or 2) take multiple time-lapse photos then combine them into a single time-lapse.

D4 | 70-200 2.8 VR | 24-70 2.8 | TC-17e II


  • AdeAde Posts: 1,071Member
    edited April 2013
    Aperture priority might be your best bet here. Select a medium ISO setting. You don't want too high of an ISO to make night look like day.

    If you have enough memory cards, shoot RAW.

    Depending on your frame rate, most likely your battery wont make it all night. If you have multiple batteries then prepare two swap a fresh one in (and immediately charge the spent one).

    You may need a "deflicker" depending on how you will process the images.

    Many long time lapses these days are done using a "bulb ramper" (bramper) hardware or firmware hack to ensure smooth transitions throughout.

    Looking forward to see the results!
    Post edited by Ade on
  • obajobaobajoba Posts: 206Member
    Thanks Ade! I decided to do it in a few steps and I will have to create a single movie from multiple files in the end. I did, however, manage to get it started less than a minute before the snow started. The view from my window isn't great but maybe it will turn out ok. (fingers crossed)
    D4 | 70-200 2.8 VR | 24-70 2.8 | TC-17e II
  • JohnJohn Posts: 134Member
    Be sure to post the result and the settings that you used so we can learn from it as well.

    I would also suggest shooting in aperture mode. (let's say f8)
    Start at base iso 100.
    Set auto iso as Ade suggested.
    And don't forget to turn on long exposure noise reduction. This really makes a big difference when shooting long exposure images.
    And finally... Use a mirror up shutter delay of a second or two. That way you should have the sharpest images possible.

    Close the viewfinder when taking these pictures so you don't have stray light affecting your exposure.

    And finally... Don't forget to turn the lights of inside the room. ;)

    I hope you get good results.
  • MsmotoMsmoto Posts: 5,396Moderator
    I just did a trial on time-lapse and when I shot RAW, I had 340 images of 20MB....Ug!

    My next time will be in movie mode with the resolution set at 1980 x 1080. I would shoot for a replay rate of 30 FPS.

    Aperture mode will maintain a more fixed image. I like the idea of a limit on auto ISO so as to avoid the "daylight" night scene effect.

    It is my understanding no adjustments are possible once the time-lapse is started. This is from the p. 226 of the manual:
    "While time-lapse photography is in progress, the
    time-lapse photography menu will show the
    interval and the time remaining. These settings
    can not be changed while time-lapse
    photography is in progress, nor can pictures be
    played back or other menu settings adjusted."
    Msmoto, mod
  • JohnJohn Posts: 134Member
    I wonder if you can switch memory cards (I assume you can) and batteries (you probably can't) during time laps.
    But I've never done it myself so I would be best to test this in advance.
  • NSXTypeRNSXTypeR Posts: 2,123Member
    I have thought about it too- if you locked exposure at say, 5:00 with a time lapse, you'll be able to show the transition of dark to light. But if you lock it, you'd end up overexposing when it becomes brighter, say 8:00 or so.

    How do people get around that?
    Nikon D7000/ Nikon D40/ Nikon FM2/ 18-135 AF-S/ 35mm 1.8 AF-S/ 105mm Macro AF-S/ 50mm 1.2 AI-S
  • Mac_The_KnifeMac_The_Knife Posts: 19Member
    "Digicam control" allows controling of the camera from your pc, does time lapse, and transfers the images to the pc after each shot.
    Mamiya 60
  • YetibuddhaYetibuddha Posts: 388Member
    obajoba, Hope the time lapse went well. I am stuck in western Nebraska trying to get back to Montana.
    However, a great site, along with some software for timelapse, can be found by searching for LRTimelapse. If you did not use the time lapse function and instead use the interval timer, you get, I think, better results. use Lightroom to create your video.
  • obajobaobajoba Posts: 206Member
    edited April 2013
    Thanks for all of the replies, everyone. Much appreciated; it's great to know there's a place to get lots of positive and constructive feedback :)

    So, it turned out to be a no-show of a storm which garnered nothing more than a timelapse of my street with a little blowing snow - but I learned a ton. I started out with my tripod setup in my office (at home), D4 + 24-70/2.8, Manfrotto 055CXPRO3 and Gitzo QR1780(?) ballhead

    Initial setup (things I thought of as I went) :
    - "adjusted" to get the shot out the window sans the window muntin
    - I used my blackout curtains to effectively create a box around the camera to minimize light pollution from the rear (in conjunction with closing the viewfinder door)
    - taped town the switches for the porch lights (so the family wouldn't turn them on)
    - removed the bulb from the light in the room (so I wouldn't turn it on)

    Camera Settings:
    - Movie settings to 1080p 24fps, record to XQD
    - Timelapse settings to 60 seconds for 7h59m
    - Manual mode
    - AF On (initially, this was accidental as I "thought" I had turned both switches to M)
    - F/2.8, ISO6400, variable shutter speed via my go-go gadget arm and two feet every few minutes for the first couple hours
    **Note - the above means that 'Yes' you can adjust settings in timelapse mode, but don't switch on the menu or enable LiveView as both will end the timelapse recording, also - do not kick the tripod at 4AM with a bare foot (it hurts)

    Most valuable lessons?
    - My EN-EL18 factory battery that is 6 months old doesn't last very long (see below, ordered 2 new ones this morning)
    - AF in Timelapse mode kills your battery in 5 hours at 60s intervals on a D4 (see above)
    - I think I would prefer to just shoot in RAW using the built-in intervalometer then create my own timelapse "movie"
    - even at 2AM, during a storm with blowing snow, ambient light changes dramatically every few minutes
    - 60s is too great an interval, but 5 seconds is ludicrous for anything but an extreme timelapse (at 24p and 60s intervals you end up with a couple seconds of video per hour)
    - If I *really* had the patience, then investing in a bramper and associated hardware/software would be swell, but I have zero patience for this kind of thing

    When I figure out how to remove the blown out sections of the time-lapse (from when the automated exposure adjuster guy was sleeping) I will get it posted and shared but, honestly, it's pretty darned boring.
    Post edited by obajoba on
    D4 | 70-200 2.8 VR | 24-70 2.8 | TC-17e II
  • MsmotoMsmoto Posts: 5,396Moderator
    For time lapse one needs the AC adaptor...just bought one for my attempt....
    Msmoto, mod
  • obajobaobajoba Posts: 206Member
    AC adaptor is definitely a necessity when using the time-lapse function but I would consider it a "nice-to-have" if using intervalometry. I only say that because if you're using the intervalometer you can switch out the battery very quickly and restart the photos; you'd only miss a few frames then.

    All in all, I learned a lot more about the camera from this exercise and IMO, that's one of the most important aspects of photography. Hopefully my "learning experience" is able to give others some insight, if not a list of things *not* to do :)
    D4 | 70-200 2.8 VR | 24-70 2.8 | TC-17e II
  • YetibuddhaYetibuddha Posts: 388Member
    one thing to consider in many timelapse situations is to turn autofocus off. One might also search for a site called timelapse.org. A lot of video there plus hints and tutorials.
  • MsmotoMsmoto Posts: 5,396Moderator

    Oh, how true....I am learning this stuff....lots of mistakes.....
    Msmoto, mod
  • obajobaobajoba Posts: 206Member
    @Yetibuddha - my intention was to turn off AF initially but I realized once the battery died so quickly that I in fact had not. Time-lapse rookie mistake :) I can see in the first video the moments when AF "misses" in the dark because the zoom appears to fluctuate when it is out of focus.
    D4 | 70-200 2.8 VR | 24-70 2.8 | TC-17e II
  • Golf007sdGolf007sd Posts: 2,840Moderator
    One of the main reasons I purchased the Promote Control System was not just for HDR photography but also for time lapse as well...in HDR as well :). Even though I have not had the chance to do this, the unit really offer a great number of features in accomplishing this task. It is far more flexible than the intervalometer of the camera or cameras that don't have such a feature.

    D4 & D7000 | Nikon Holy Trinity Set + 105 2.8 Mico + 200 F2 VR II | 300 2.8G VR II, 10.5 Fish-eye, 24 & 50 1.4G, 35 & 85 1.8G, 18-200 3.5-5.6 VR I SB-400 & 700 | TC 1.4E III, 1.7 & 2.0E III, 1.7 | Sigma 35 & 50 1.4 DG HSM | RRS Ballhead & Tripods Gear | Gitzo Monopod | Lowepro Gear | HDR via Promote Control System |
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