Last night I created a time lapse of Gold Medal Park between about 9PM and 11PM. I used a Canon 5D Mark II and the Canon EOS Utilities software to control the interval exposures. In the clips below, exposures were set at 5 second intervals and the final frame rate was 30FPS. So, 1 second of footage represents 2 minutes 30 seconds.
Even a small breeze can make shooting a time lapse a headache. The jitter in the frame was caused from the wind. I tried using After Effects to stabilize the motion but the nature of the frame make this difficult. I’ve successfully used this method on bright daylight videos but I couldn’t get a good tracking on most of this footage.
Second, all of the frames were 21 megapixel JPEG images. The average file size was about 7MB per frame which meant that After Effects did not like processing them. It worked – but slowly. To speed up the process, I used QuickTime Pro to import the frames, scale them down to 3000 x 2000 pixels and compress it as an Apple Intermediate Codec file. This seemed to speed up the process quite a bit.
Lastly, use manual mode. The camera will automatically adjust exposure for each frame which will cause a subtle but noticeable flicker in the image. What I did to resolve this was to take a few test shots to measure the exposure. Once I found a set of values I liked, I switched to manual mode and started the capture.