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Question Time-lapse over 2 weeks best camera tethered indoor?

fozziebear39

Active Member
Hi
I would be grateful for your help please. I need a solution in the next few days please, cheers.

I am an artist and need to create a time lapse of me making a piece of art which will take two weeks. I work flat on a table and the camera is overhead on the ceiling.

I have used a webcam before, to a Mac Mini, and that worked great, apart from the picture quality (640 x 480 resolution). I need a solution to make a possible 4K resolution film? I don't need a camera with a time-lapse system, I just need to take a series of stills and I can convert them after into a time-lapse. I will manually trigger the shutter.

I need a remote shutter as the camera is out of reach and a live preview with possible USB or WiFi instant upload to the Mac Mini. (I need to make sure I have the files on the computer and backed up as I go along)

I am looking at wifi compact digitals. Canon and Panasonic Lumix have an iPhone App which sounds like it will do what I want. The only problem I see is battery life. The camera will have to be permanently plugged in, either charging or USB, and not auto shut off. I don't really want to have to turn the camera on every few hours risking moving it.

I am looking at around £200. (I know DSLR's will tether but too expensive unless I hire or buy second-hand)

Has anyone any recommendations please? Or alternatives? Tethering with USB seems more solid to me than wifi and I believe Go-Pro's can take good stills and be tethered.
 

wysinawyg

Active Member
And to add while I'm here - the way you light the work space will make far more difference to the quality than you will get between using an iPod Touch and a pro-DSLR. Especially when you're looking to turn it into a 4k movie anyway.
 

fozziebear39

Active Member
Thank you wysinawyg. I have an old iPhone 4S that I was trying to use like that before. It is up on my ceiling now with headphone shutter cable. When I have left it switched on, it overheats sometimes. It was a pain to climb up and access the screen at certain times if it lost airplay to Reflector 2 on my computer.
I am going to try a cheap wifi GoPro alternative with an App on phone and Mac.
Thanks
 

AMc

Distinguished Member
I think you may find that a GoPro field of view is very wide if you don't have a low ceiling.
You may also have significant distortion to correct - depending on the subject that might not matter.
FWIW I have an SJCAM4000 WiFi set up as a dashcam - it can see the whole windscreen area when mounted on the rear view mirror mount so very, very wide.
When it receives power to the USB port it switches on and starts making 5 minute recordings - overwriting the oldest recording when the 32GB card is full (about 3 1/2 hours at 1080p).
It's using a 3m USB to Micro USB cable from eBay.

I don't think it will turn on WiFi when it's powered on unless you turn it on at the camera itself by pressing a button.

You might be able to set one up as a webcam tethered over USB - the SJCAM4000 has a PC cam option
I set something similar up on PC using Animator DV Simple and a Microsoft webcam for my daughter to do stop motion animation but we didn't have it powered on for days on end.
 

fozziebear39

Active Member
Thanks AMc, yes was worried about the fish eye effect.

I might have to stick to an iPhone. The 4S, or lose my SE for a couple of weeks!!
 

Hillskill

Moderator/Games Reviewer
If it were me I'd be buying a 2nd DSLR and tethering to the mains. I have shot loads of week long time lapse projects. You really want to reduce handling to an absolute minimum. a 128GB SD card would mean you need only change cards a couple of times. The beauty of a DSLR is also that you would be able to set 0.5 second exposures which give the most pleasing look when it comes to time-lapse. Presumably the studio is at the same light levels during the time you work? You can then shoot everything in high res stills meaning a 4K final render would be very straight forward.

Happy to speak on the phone if it helps at all. Just drop me a PM.
 

fozziebear39

Active Member
Hi Hillskill, that is very kind of you. I think you qualify for the best answer. Secretly I knew I'd have to spend money lol. I've read that DSLR are the ones for tethering. I have a mount on the ceiling now. If the camera is plugged in to the computer and power I wont have to touch it. I'm in a windowless room with controlled lighting. Just changing to daylight LED as the fluorescent's flickered.
 

BananaTiger

Active Member
I've never done your setup so the others on here will be more knowledgable, but one thing that comes to mind if you are using a zoom lens is to make sure it doesn't suffer from lens creep. Back in the day when I had a sigma zoom lens, holding the DSLR with the lens pointing down would have the lens gradually extend to full zoom due to gravity pulling down the lens. Maybe a prime lens wouldn't suffer from this?
 

fozziebear39

Active Member
I've never done your setup so the others on here will be more knowledgable, but one thing that comes to mind if you are using a zoom lens is to make sure it doesn't suffer from lens creep. Back in the day when I had a sigma zoom lens, holding the DSLR with the lens pointing down would have the lens gradually extend to full zoom due to gravity pulling down the lens. Maybe a prime lens wouldn't suffer from this?
Oh dear! I've decided to try the DSLR route, how does it creep? Would masking tape stop the focus/zoom ring moving?
 

Hillskill

Moderator/Games Reviewer
You want to avoid any kind of variable that will effect the image. Pick up a prime in my opinion. you can shoot stopped down so you should be able to get the sharpest image out of it.
 

fozziebear39

Active Member
Thanks for your help Hillskill and others, its seems to be getting complicated now. I am presuming a prime lens has less moving parts and is fixed relatively? I've no time to find a suitable second hand one. I was going to get the Canon EOS 1300D with the standard lens, £299. It works tethered with Lightroom on my Mac and I can use a remote shutter release or iPhone App. If I get an elastic band to stop the creep I'm sorted lol. Oh and the mains lead and dummy battery.
 

AMc

Distinguished Member
FWIW my "vintage" long telephoto lens for my DSLR used to creep - it had a push/pull mechanism to zoom and would drop if you held it lens down. None of my other lenses has shown that effect, not sure if modern motorised lenses are affected?

A prime lens is a fixed focal length - described as a number in millimeters.
In the lens description zooms have 2 focal lengths, wide angle to telephoto e.g. 18-55mm.
Primes have one e.g. 28mm
There is no zoom ability so it can't creep as above.
It will still have a focus ring but you should be able to trust autofocus on each shot or set the focus once manually and leave it alone if you're leaving it powered continuously?

The biggest issue with buying a DSLR body and a prime will be working out the correct focal length to frame your work.
 

fozziebear39

Active Member
Thanks, I've ordered the EOS 1300D with an EF 50 mm f/1.8 Lens, I don't think it will frame at that distance though.
 

Hillskill

Moderator/Games Reviewer
i dont think 50mm is wide enough ozzie. I'd have said a 24mm or wider to be honest.
 

newbie1

Distinguished Member
That would be fine and it's relatively inexpensive. Otherwise gaffer tape on a zoom works well to prevent focus moving once it's set. To set the focus it's easiest to do it in liveview and zoom in as far as you can to make sure the subject is sharp.
 

fozziebear39

Active Member
Thank you newbie1. I'll get one. I found a calculator that says at 1.4m distance and 1.0m object that is about the focal length. I can sell the other lenses, as apart from photographing my work, it won't get much use.
 

newbie1

Distinguished Member
Sounds about right on a crop sensor 24mm gives about 35mm field of view which is roughly 50 degrees.
 

Ugg10

Distinguished Member
I would also set the aperture to around f8.0 if you can as this will give reasonable depth of view and give some focus tolerance, also tends to be within the sweet spot for sharpness of most lenses.
 

12harry

Well-known Member
I suspect Op will find that over several days the exposure and framing will show signs of change . . . the framing may be fixed in the Edit, with pan/crop - provided there is enough "spare" ( so a wider lens was worthwhile )....and exposure maybe affected by the size/colours of the object ( a painting?), as it progresses.
However, with some adjustment you should be able to get enough frames to show at say 25fps.
You may discover that this is rather static ( despite the obvious changes), so it may benefit from Pan/Crop to specific areas where the change is particularly "interesting".
For 4K every frame is about 8Mpx . . . so if you have chosen a high-quality image, there should be plenty to crop-into - if this is beneficial.

Good luck, + let us see the finished movie...
 

noiseboy72

Distinguished Member
Editing hi-res time lapse can be an issue. The files are huge compared to a similar resolution video. I normally do a rough assembly edit, then encode to a 4K H264 for grading and tweaks. If you pc is up to the challenge you can edit directly, but be prepared for some long waits and make sure you have plenty of drive space available
 

newbie1

Distinguished Member
Editing hi-res time lapse can be an issue. The files are huge compared to a similar resolution video. I normally do a rough assembly edit, then encode to a 4K H264 for grading and tweaks. If you pc is up to the challenge you can edit directly, but be prepared for some long waits and make sure you have plenty of drive space available
I've found that too. Is it better to take, say jpeg medium, from the camera rather than raw?
 

noiseboy72

Distinguished Member
Others may have a different view, but my approach has been to get the stills into the system at the highest quality I can and then once it is roughly in shape - correct shots & framing, I render a high quality intermediary and then grade and tweak from there. Using Premiere Pro, I can create a nested timeline - which preserves the full quality, but makes some tasks very sluggish.

I made a 1 minute time lapse from a Go-Pro on Thursday, editing onsite on a good spec laptop. There was about 7200 frames to import, which took about 45 minutes. I then selected the 2000 frames I needed and rendered it in about 12 minutes.
 

Ugg10

Distinguished Member
A slight diversion on how this time lapse works - am I correct?

If you want a 5 minute time lapse video at 25 fps then you need to take 7500 frames (5x60x25). Then if your real timescale is 10 days work over 8 hours per day then you need a shot every 0.64 minutes (10x8x60/7500).

So, if you have a dslr then you can just set up the aperture, ISO and shutter in manual mode, tape up the zoom/focus (manual), attach a cheap interval timer cable release, set it take a picture every 30s and off you go.

VILTROX MC-C1 Digital LCD Timer Shutter Release Remote: Amazon.co.uk: Camera & Photo

This one allows you to set the interval (30s) and take up to 389 pictures in one go before you have to reset and go again (every 3 1/4 hours).

Number of pictures that can be stored on a memory device

According to the link above, you can get 7500 jpgs on a 64gb card but will need 10 of them for raw.

So, finally you then take your 7500 photos and in software convert them into a movie (probably an overnight job).

So, if my logic is correct, you does not need to be tethered to a pc whilst taking the photos.

You can also get battery packs for dslrs that have the interval timer built in which may be a way of going through a days shooting without the need to be plugged into the mains.

Like this, but not managed to find one for the 1300d.

Meike Pro LCD Timer Battery Grip w/ IR Remote for Canon EOS 700D 650D 600D 550D | eBay

Going back to the op requirement, 1.4m stand off for a 1mx1m area will need a 20mm lens on a canon APSC camera.

Depth of Field, Angle & Field of View, & Equivalent Lens Calculator - Points in Focus Photography

The 24mm pancake is a good shout but will have to move the camera a bit further back. Note the shorter focal length prime lenses do have a bit of barrel distortion that you may want to correct (dxo free software link in another thread ?) plus still has a bit af vignette at the max sharpness aperture at f4.0 again correctable.

Canon EF-S 24 mm f/2.8 STM review - Distortion - LensTip.com
 
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fozziebear39

Active Member
Thank you everyone for your posts, very helpful. 12harry, yes I will post the finished movie. I will show you my setup on Monday before I start. I'm away today but those last information posts from Ugg10, noiseboy72 and newbie1, i'll read up on. Cheers!
 

noiseboy72

Distinguished Member
Just another thought, I doubt very many (if any) video editors will accept RAW camera files. I am sure that some camera specific tools can make movies from Raw files, but I don't have any specifics.
 

fozziebear39

Active Member
Ugg10, spot on with the 20mm, I'm using 18mm on the zoom lens that came with the camera. The good news is that's the extent of the lens coming out at it's "loosest" so won't get lens creep I think? I should be able to then batch crop the set of photos to the frame.

All set up now, my studio (garage) is painting in progress lol.
 

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