Cinematography Mailing List - CML

Time Lapse Filming

Hello all,

I am planning to shoot a time lapse sequences of a vase of flowers opening and dying over a period of three weeks in an enclosed room. The director does not want the lighting to change over this period and the whole sequence will last the entire length of a 400 roll of 16mm neg. film in order that on projection the life span of these flowers is compressed to a 10min screening.

I have calculated that there are 16,000 frames on a 400ft roll and that I would need to expose a frame every 2 mins in order to expose a total number of 15,120 frames over a 21 day period. Is my maths correct? Not my best subject.

I have never shot time lapse before and was wondering whether anyone with experience could offer advice with regards to lighting, exposure, intervalometers or relevant websites.

I look forward to all replies.

Many thanks

Lol Crawley

There was recently a very enriching (spellcheck) discussion on the timelapse issues, I think it was on cml-pro.

I think the pages have been collected and put on cml.

I did a huge amount of timelapse / animation some years ago and I had good use of a relay to shut down / halt operation when / if a bulb or anything else gave a decrease in the power consumption / level.

We found that it was safer (bulbwise) to have the light turned on , instead of switching it on before exposing and switching off after 8better colour temp linearity).The degradation of filters was a bigger concern but maybe you do not need a lot of light if exposing long.

A hammock was also very handy.

Minor variations in lightlevels was fairly easy to smoothen in post.

A link to remember is the

Allan O , 1.AC
Motion Control

Lol Crawley wrote:

> I am planning to shoot a time lapse sequences of a vase of flowers opening and dying over a >period of three weeks in an enclosed room.

Three weeks sounds like a long time. I recently shot a time lapse of roses in a vase that only took five days from closed to dead. Each flower is different, I guess (Lilies take FOREVER to open.

Also, 10 minutes screen time is pretty long. Remember, the interesting part is the blooming and dying. If your flowers take 3 days to bloom, and four days to die, that leaves 14 days or 6 1/2 minutes of them doing nothing.....

The Steele intervalometer chart that was posted up here last week says that 20 days into 10 minutes equals 1 frame every 2 minutes, so your maths is right.

The only thing I can think of that you need to watch is not to frame too tightly on your flowers, because as they die, they'll droop. If they drop out of frame you'll miss some of the best action.

Stuart Brereton
DP, Bristol UK

Lol Crawley wrote:

> advice with regards to lighting, exposure, intervalometers or relevant  websites.

I found this site very helpful when I was in a similar position - their are also some FAQ's pages by E.M. Kinsman that will probably answer most of your questions. FYI I recently shot a number of time lapse stuff using the intervalometer feature on the A-minima... Very cool!

Joe Liberatore
Milwaukee, WI

>>We found that it was safer (bulbwise) to have the light turned on , instead of switching it on before >>exposing and switching off

I'd use strobes. As a group, due to better electronics, they're more accurate than they used to be, but some are more so than others. I'd also have a grey ramp and colour chip chart in the frame to make it easier to fix inconsistencies in post. And - I'd have everything on a good UPS, maybe a small generator available.

Tim Sassoon

If you're working with time-lapse, you should spend some time at :

John Babl

If you are doing time Lapse for longer period and you want to be consistent with lighting you must get the dedicated Time lapse Camera and controller.

There are controllers out there that can fire the light or the slave light to the shutter. That way the light is on only during the exposure. In your case you may need to stimulate the Sun light inside the room in order to have the flower growing. If you need more detail e-mail me in private I may be able to give bit more insight and may help you to find the right Gear as well.

Suresh ROHIN (Loves Time Lapse because you get paid to sleep on Job )
Director of Photography
Eastman Films Inc..
Tel:1-416-898 53 23 (Canada)
91-98 407 10 919(India)

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