Sunday, May 25, 2014

Moving on: literally!

Like many photographers I am intrigued by videography, but not enough to spend much time on perfecting the craft. However, I have been attracted to the ‘middle ground’ offered by timelapse, ie taking 100s or 1000s of still images over an extended time period, and ‘stitching’ these together in a video, ie temporal bracketing.
But also like many photographers I have been ‘worried’ about the additional stress on my shutter mechanism. Once again, however, Magic Lantern comes to the rescue, in the form of RAW video capture from Live View, ie without a single mechanical shutter actuation.

The secret here is 'Silent Picture Mode', where the ML team discovered how to pull 14-bit RAWs (DNGs) from the LV process, albeit limited to about 1930x1140 image size, on my 5DIII. Coupled with being able to adjust the frame rate, between a fraction of a FPS to about 30 FPS, the still photographer has several new options. Here are a couple of examples.

First, by invoking the RAW LV capture, I can set the frames per second to, say, 10, thus allowing me to capture RAW (14-bit) images at, in this case, 10 FPS. The limit is the card-write buffer and on my 5DIII CF cards I can capture 14-bit RAW bursts up to 28 frames, following which the camera needs to write to the card. It is then a simple matter to bring these images into Lightroom, play around with the 14-bit data and, say, export as layers in Ps-CC and, just to have a bit of fun, create, say, a GIF sequence (see below, which is a handheld burst capture of our cat, Polly’s, twitching tail).

Second, by using the ML intervalometer, with the RAW DNG LV mode, I can capture single image (1930x1140) 14-bit RAW timelapse sequences without a shutter actuation. The attached (scaled down video) is a 240 image timelapse I took this morning at a 5 second interval.

The post processing is simple with LRTimelapse ( ), although there is a trick you need to do in Lightroom, to ensure the right EXIF data is associated with each file; as the DNGs that come out of the LV capture don’t appear to have any metadata. The trick is to use LensTagger ( ).

So, once again, Magic Lantern has provided three great in-camera features: an intervalometer, RAW burst capture up to about 30FPS (for about 30 images), and shutterless timelapse capture. 

Can it get any better!

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