Shooting or capturing a time-lapse for the first time can really help you understand the transition from photography to videography. I found it helpful to gain an understanding of the basic fundamentals like what size of picture (frame) I could capture, how many pictures (frames) I could capture over a period, how many of these pictures (frames) would I have at the end and finally how many of these pictures (frames) should be displayed a second (fps- Frame Rate).
The size of picture I.e. how many pixels dictated the Image quality and determines the output HD, UHD and 4K etc.
Working out how many pictures you can capture or will have at the end can be dictated by a few factors like camera battery life, what it is you are capturing, what you would like the final timelaps to look like etc
An example I can run through with you is a short one I created with a go-pro. The go pro I used could take a maximum size of image of 2592 x 1944 so the resolution would be 5Mega pixel.
The next point I took into consideration was the length of clip I required 30 secs. I wanted to display the images captured at 25 fps meaning that each clip picture would be displayed for 0.04 of a second. I did the following maths 30 secs x 25 fps = 750, the amount of images I needed. Luckily my go-pro battery lasted about 3.5 hours, again I did some more maths 3.5hrs x 60mins = 210 mins. therefore 210/0.5 (30secs) = 420 pictures, so you can see i am over half way there giving me room for a little editing as the building process i wanted to capture was going to be over 2 days leaving me with a final total of 844 images.
Having all the images batch edited and organised with the same settings is also very important as you can see from above you may end up with a lot of images for a very short clip. Adobe Lightroom is great for this it allows you to organise and edit large amounts of images at the same time. I made sure to rename all of my images in a sequence style.
I now used premier pro, this allows you to create and edit a time-lapse with ease, select import and choose your file location, with the first picture selected and the sequence box checked you are good to import. the images will be automatically compiled into a time-lapse.
Once you have the time-lapse imported, select editing at the top, drag the clip to the sequence bar bottom right, then sequence on the very top tool bar and sequence settings, this will allow you to choose frame rate etc.
You can now check the FPS and Size quality of your images add music etc. Once happy output your time-lapse and share with everyone.
Here is one I created with a go-pro and over 800 images. The go pro was set to capture an image every 30 seconds and was taken over 2 days the battery lasted about 4 hours.
Things to look for when using black and white (monochrome): What are you taking a picture of? E.g Subjects all about colour may lose a lot of impact and will not suit black and white. To contradict myself when an image has too many strong colours black and white can help bring out a subject better.
Tones – are very important as some colour tones when converted to black and white will become very similar this means detail within the image may be lost.
Grey Scale – Black and whites are made up of black, white and grey,
Lighting – Best lighting conditions can be early morning and late evenings providing natural light, back lighting objects within your pictures helps create silhouettes. Converting Night time images to black and white can help to remove different lighting effects from various light sources. (white light, orange street light etc)
Contrast – Black and white the clue is in the name high contrast huge difference between black and white without much greys. (Ying yang picture). Low contrast pictures with a lot of grey can give your images a dream like feel.
Format – as with all pictures they can be edited and displayed in the Portrait, Landscape, square etc.
Some ideas for black and white photography landscapes dramatic skies can be great in black and white polarizing and ND filters work great. Architecture with dark buildings and bright sunlight casting shadows etc. Portraits when people are wearing contrasting clothes or bringing detail out in old wrinkled faces. Wildlife photography of less colourful animals.
Note:(Shoot in RAW and use the monochrome setting on your camera will allow you to preview the images on your LCD in black and white.)
HSL/Grey Scale Hue saturation and luminance as I have found is the best tab selection in adobe camera raw to edit and turn your images to black and white, compared to the “convert to grey scale” option.
Hue – allows you to change the colours in your images.
Saturation – allows you to increase or decrease the amount of colours in your images, great for finding cross over in your colours. If colours are stripped away this can help identify tones that are very similar.
Luminance – increase brightness of the tones in your image.
How to convert your images from colour to black and white.
Open you image with Adobe Camera Raw and Edit the white balance & lens correction. You can open JPG files with adobe camera RAW it does not just have to be a RAW camera format. (Select filter, Adobe camera Raw filter when none RAW file open in photoshop.)2. To convert your image to black and white use the saturation tab first to check for the most dominant colours by removing each colour individually. Stripping the colours away manually instead of choosing the greyscale option helps you understand and pick the colours which will make a difference and the effects you will have when adjusting using the luminance tab.
Note: as you can see the main colours within this image are the: Reds, oranges, yellows, greens, blues and purples.
3. Now adjust the Luminance slider to increase the brightness of these tones.
4. Now head back to the first for a final edit your picture and check you are happy with Exposure etc.
5. Head to split toning options tab. highlights balance and shadows press ALT key when on the slider to help view the colour you want to adjust. Don’t push too much when toning keep it low is key. As you can see I have given the image a slightly aged image feel.
6. Fx panel – remove haze or mist effect. Grain effect Grain has no pattern but noise in a picture does. Grain helps to make a picture older, vignette helps darken the edges bringing your focus to the centre.
Final Images Original (left) and final image edited with photoshop (right)
The saying above is not entirely correct and there are many takes on the origins so here is my attempt to tell you who created it, and why it is still so relevant in today’s digital world!
Fred R. Barnard – is associated with first use of two phrases December 8, 1921 “One look is worth a thousand words” & March 10, 1927 “One picture is worth 10,000 words.” Frank was an advertising executive and he used these two phrases to promote and commend the use of pictures/graphics in advertising. He was quoted to say “he originally said it was a Chinese proverb so people would take it seriously”
The earliest reference of any phrase I could find was by the Russian writer Ivan Turgenev wrote (in Fathers and Sons in 1861), “The drawing shows me at one glance what might be spread over ten pages in a book.” Source
It is still a piece of marketing genius if you ask me; he created a very true and meaningful phrase which can be proven in today’s digital world.
Marketing with picture’s
National geographic (Nat Geo) is well over 100 years old the first magazine publication was in 1888,but for this old magazine it continues to be top of the charts for followers, they have over 88.8 million on the social media platform Instagram, this is for good reason their pictures are awesome! The cross platform sharing photographers often do on various other social media platforms could also account to this. You can see their @Natgeoyourshot page! or use the #yourshotphotographer has over 1.3 million posts.
May 2015 saw them reach the top spot with over 17 million followers where they have continued to stay , Dec 2016 over 64 million, Dec 2017 84 million, 2018 continues to grow July 2018 over 88.8 million followers!!!
View all pictures from their 2018 competition or you can upload pictures to their website after following an assignment they have selected for the month, every month 12 pictures are selected and posted to their Instagram page, if you are lucky enough to be selected the reach one picture could have is huge and would be a great way for some free recognition!
The secrets of a Digital Image!
Many pictures tell a story and as with many photographers objectives they allow other people to be drawn to the picture giving them a sense of emotion to someone or something they may not get to experience otherwise. Images also help draw the attention of customers browsing online for their next purchase but we do not just have to have amazing pictures for the picture to tell 1000 words, the picture does not have to be viewed as a whole, there is secret Data associated with individual pixels not everyone knows about, EXIF files! Not all cameras have GPS but more and more do with that comes a location, geospatial information which can be associated to each individual pixel or the whole picture in metadata.
The histogram used by a photographer is another quite often hidden or unknown, the chart associates each pixel with a tone from which photographers can use to tell if the picture has the correct exposure.
Steganographic image – This involves hiding or replacing the least significant bit in an image with part of your secret message, the image itself with not look to different from the original, with the use of the key the image is now a secret message. This article goes into more detail
This is something I love doing I find it very satisfying and rewarding. Post processing can take up a lot of time, as you have to stitch the pictures together. For this I recommend PTGui, as with everything there is more than one program. I started with this software and have been given no reason to change it does everything I require.
The work flow I follow to create a panorama 360 would be.
Take the required pictures remembering each one will be bracketed. Make sure the pictures overlap enough about 30% from one to the next. Take one up one middle one down and then rotate until you have a full 360 view. If you can imagine yourself at the centre of a globe and you want to make sure you cover every angle. Do not forget to take the sky and floor pictures too. Remember to adjust your pictures for the sun my best results were achieved on a slightly overcast day when the sun was shaded behind a cloud. You could possibly end up with 100 pictures for one panorama 360.
I would then bring the pictures into photomatix and individually merge each of the pictures together creating about 20 HDR images.
After this stage I would bring them into PTGui and stitch all the HDR images together to create one big picture.
Finally I bring the picture into photoshop where I would adjust what type of camera took the picture(Basically it’s a layer that has been modified and then you add your picture layer together)
This makes Facebook automatically recognises it as a panorama 360 and allows it to be an interactive360 picture. Visit FACEBOOK
If you don’t have facebook page or account but have created a website I created a subdomain and used wordpress to allow me to add the Ipanorama360 plug-in.
Tips to remember when creating your panorama 360:
The no-parallax point – Your photos need to be taken from exactly the same point to avoid parallax errors in the stitched panorama. Panoramic heads are the best tools for achieving that. Take a look at Nodal Ninja panoramic heads (we really like them).
Shoot in RAW format to ensure maximum quality
Shoot on full manual mode (manual exposure – both time and aperture, manual focus, manual white balance
This style was an impressive little photo I saw on a photography page when I was looking for 360 panorama’s. It is quite an easy thing to do with Photoshop after you have created a 360 panorama. The panorama takes a lot of work especially if you have a hundred or so picture’s to deal with at the beginning. But when the hard work is complete you tiny planet photography should take 4 easy steps:
Take your HDR panorama 360 like I have described in a previous post. Bring you image to Photoshop,
Resize your image/pictures so it is a square.
Rotate you picture so it is upside down.
Apply the polar coordinates filter (Filter~Distort~Polar Cordinates) and make sure “rectangular to polar” is selected (ticked)
Perform any post process you like to the picture and your done.
Simple but effective to produce another different view of your work.
Well this is a very complicated subject and took me some time to get my head around but I think I have managed to grasp the subject and will attempt to explain what I have understood. Please leave a comment if you think I have any of this wrong. Happy reading and do not forget understanding what benefits the sensor size and the relation to the amount of pixels images may require can assist you when choosing your new camera or drone.
What is a camera sensor?
This is the part of the camera that captures the light coming through your lens each tiny point on the sensor stores one single square colour known as a pixel, therefore when they all join together to create a picture. Types of sensors in today’s digital cameras are mainly CMOS. CCD is an older style that captured good quality images but had higher power consumption. Today’s CMOS sensors have matched or bettered the older CCD style, price points are very similar if not better and these outperform when it comes high-speed capture allowing for burst shooting. CCD and CMOS are not the only types of sensor’s available but when it comes to drones CMOS is the most commonly used, unless that is you drone is carrying a standalone digital camera.
CCD – Charged Coupled Device
CMOS – Complementary Metal Oxide Semiconductor
The Senor make up is quite complicated but from what I can gather it is made from lots of Active Pixel Sensors (APS), which relate to the amount of pixels captured and this is measured in the unit MP (Mega Pixel). The size of the sensor helps to create better quality images but how many you need requires some consideration:
Do you plan on heavily cropping your images?
Do you plan on printing you images?
Do you plan to publish the images online?
Are more megapixel better?
A common way camera manufacturers advertise their cameras is by the amount of megapixels their sensor has and a common belief is the more pixels the better. This is a great marketing plan as every year the sensor has increased the number of pixels and therefore gives the consumer a sense of improvement and the need to upgrade. The thought behind the belief of more pixels are better is, smaller active pixels crammed onto the sensor makes it harder for the eye to distinguish the edges of the pixels in an image therefore creating a clearer picture to the naked eye.
Common image sizes and megapixels to use:
Computer – 2000 x 1000 pixels = 2MegaPixels so to view your image on a computer 2 MP image might be suitable depending on your screen resolution.
Prints – 6×4=2MP, 10×8=6MP, 14×11 or larger = roughly 8MP
Keeping in mind for larger prints they tend to be viewed further away thus allowing the image to be of a lower DPI.
So now we know how many pixels we should have roughly we need to make sure the image is the correct size and understanding Effective resolution should help you decide.
DPI – Dots per Inch or PPI – Pixels per Inch the common way effective resolution is measure. So for a picture you can target 300 DPI, for a large wall poster you can aim for 150DPI and for images used online about 75DPI should be effective.
To put this into practice the amount of pixels, divided by the DPI relating to your intended display with equal the maximum output size of your image.
E.g. Width 2000 x Height 1000= 2, 000,000MP
So the maximum size a print for 2MP should be was:
2000/300 = 6.67inches and 1000/300 = 3.33inches
Camera Sensor Sizes and Aspect Ratio
The size of a camera sensor helps to identify the image size you camera will output therefore allowing you to understand the maximum size print you can achieved if no cropping is carried out. An aspect ratio can be worked out when you know the Camera Sensor Size and the Sensor size is important as larger sensors tend to capture more light and less noise so your images can be brighter, clearer and sharper. So you may find using a larger camera sensor with less mega pixels will be better than a smaller sensor with more megapixels using the same lens types.
My personal belief is having an understanding of how your camera works can help your final product so I have included in the section below a piece about video resolution as with most cameras and drones they take both still images and capture video footage. I have also included some examples of Sensors on drones and action cameras. Now some of these sensors look the same but cost more money that is because there are other parts that combine to make a camera which affect the image quality like ISO, lens type, lens quality or aperture of the lens. Most of which are all built up together as a point and shoot one camera does all on most drones.
Some of these sizes will differ from manufacturer to manufacturer so please use the above as a guide only.
A square has an aspect ratio of 1:1 even along both edges. A 35mm full frame has an aspect ratio of 36x24mm so if we divide 36mm/24mm= 1.5 crop factor 1.5:1 so 1.5 wider than it is higher. I believe most sensor sizes fit between the 1:1 to 1.5:1 aspect ratio.
To work out the crop factor of a camera sensor when the sensor sizes is unknown take the uncropped image size and divide the larger size by the lower size.
Missing from the list is the 1” sensor(13.2mm x 8.8mm) found in a lot of point and shoot cameras 13.2/8.8 = 1.5:1 aspect ratio
Common sizes used today are 720×1280 HD, 1080×1920 Full HD, 2160×3840 4K.
4K is very memory dependant and the processing power required to post process or edit is high which in the end is more expensive. I aim to shoot most of my drone videos in 4K but before I perform any editing I compress them to 1080 Full HD as this helps speed up the process and most people do not require a 4k format.
The DJI Phantom 4 Pro: 1” Sensor 20MP
Image size: 5472pixels/3648pixels = 1.5
Maximum Image size for a print 300dpi:
5472/300 = 18.24 inches
3648/300 = 12.16 inches
The DJI Spark: 1/2.3” Sensor 12MP
Image Size: 3968 pixels x 2976pixels = 1.33
Maximum Image size for a print 300dpi:
3968/300 = 13.23 Inches
2976/300 = 9.92 Inches
DJI OSMO Zenmuse X3: 4/3” Sensor 12MP
Image Size: 4000 x 3000
Zenmuse X5:1/2.3” Sensor 16MP
Image Size: 4608 x 3456
Zenmuse X7: 23.5mm x 15.7mm 25MP
Image Size: 6016 x 4008
Yuneec Typhoon H Plus: 1” Sensor 20MP
Image Size: 5472/3648 = 1.5
Maximum Image size for a print 300dpi:
5472/300 = 18.24 inches
3648/300 = 12.16 inches
DJI Mavic Pro Platinum: 1/2.3” Sensor 12MP
Image Size: 4000 x 3000 = 1.33
Maximum Image size for a print 300dpi:
4000/300 = 13.3 inches
3648/300 = 10.0 inches
GoPro Hero 4 Black: 1/2.3” Sensor
GoPro Hero 5: 1/2.3” Sensor
GoPro Session: 1/3.2” Sensor
Sensor size and crop factor – These have an effect on the focal length your lens may provide, this in turn affects the (FOV). A full frame sensor with a full frame lens means your 50mm lens does in fact equal 50mm. Full frame lenses can be used on cropped sensors and vice versa but understanding the crop factor will help because if you use a smaller sensor you will have a cropped effect. This is like having an increase in focal length. E.g. APS-C Sensor with a full frame 50mm lens will have a crop factor of 1.5 so the lens becomes a 75mm equivalent. Full frame sensor cameras and lenses tend to be a lot more expensive but as mentioned you can interchange them.
If you are new to photography like I was, I found I was processing/editing my images and dealing with JPEG file types. But as my time progressed and I learned how to take pictures in manual mode l heard more people talking about RAW files which I learned to be very similar to an old film negative where there has been very little processing done by the camera. A JPEG on the other hand will have been edited and compressed by your camera this therefore leaves little room for post processing. RAW files allow you to add your own create style to enhance pictures, while playing and understanding exposure, contrast and colour which helped improve my understanding of my cameras settings and what I should tweak while out taking pictures with the added benefit of less time in front of the computer post processing/editing.
What is a RAW file?
A RAW file is a lot larger than a JPEG and the files tend to come in the format CR2, NEF, ARW etc this depends on the camera type you have. RAW files also have a secondary separate file XMP (Extensible Metadata Platform) which holds the information about any changes made to the RAW file. These files are created when you open a RAW file quite often these are present on your computer but might not be displayed (Hidden).
Note: When taking pictures in RAW you may find the pictures you view on your cameras LCD will be different to what you upload to your computer. The camera will display the pictures more like a JPEG format.
Now to view RAW pictures you will require a program on your computer. I started out with a program called GIMP which is free but to use this for editing images I had to convert them first, to a RAW file GIMP could recognise now you have an option to download a plugin for GIMP called UFRaw. GIMP is a great way to learn photoshop, as the screen layout is almost identical and it is free. I eventually did progress to photoshop but sometimes still head back to GIMP to edit pictures. (Adobe Bridge or Lightroom are file management systems and help organise your pictures. Lightroom is a lot more extensive). Most cameras that allow you save your images in a RAW format will come with their own software to edit the images. If like me you are using a DJI drone to take your pictures and you want 20% off adobe creative cloud check out this article!!
Once you have your chosen program and opened your RAW file I would aim to edit the following points:
Basic exposure adjustment
These are the points I was taught to remember, the order of which may not matter, as little bits may need tweaking here and there once you have changed various points.
A worked Example,
I located my .DNG file as I have taken this picture with a DJI phantom 4 drone. (DJI prefer the .DNG file type). There are differences between .DNG files and RAW files. A .DNG file has the XMP file merged together so there is only one file. (A lot better for file management). Make sure your .DNG files are backed up and you only edit copies, when originals files have been modified and saved there is no going back.
I find my DNG file and open the image file using Adobe camera RAW
Using the white balance selector tool I would aim for an object I knew was white, black or grey until I was happy.
Next using the exposure adjustment option and with the help of the histogram I would adjust the exposure, contrast, highlights, shadows, whites and black sliders. Again until I was happy with how the image started to look.
I would then play with the Clarity (midtones), Vibrance (helps with balancing the weaker colors) and Saturation(will increase all of the colors in the picture)
Adjust for lens correction to assure my lines and horizons were straight.
Adjust for sharpness and noise reduction.
Localised adjustments with the adjustment brush tool, graduated filter toolradial filter toolAdjustment brush allows a painting action, Graduated filter for a large region and radial filter tool to create a round selection and make the changes inside or outside.
Choose the spot removal tool and move down to the type, this allows you to Heal or clone
Note: As with any type of digital work never save or overwrite your original file save a copy as you want a back up to return to if everything goes horribly wrong. I have taught myself a lot about Photoshop and photography but if you would like a helping hand I can recommend the Shawacademy, they have helped me progress a lot and I have signed up as a lifetime member. If you would like to read my review you can Click Here
One of my favourite pictures to take is one in HDR (High Dynamic Range). For me in the beginning it involved one over exposed one normal and one underexposed pictures (Bracketing) some cameras and even drones have AV mode Auto Bracketing.
Why use AEB/HDR photography
Camera sensor limitations make it difficult to capture highlights and low lights (shadows) in one picture without something being sacrificed. A simple example could be when the camera settings for the foreground is under exposed but sky exposed correctly and when you adjust the sky becomes over exposed but foreground is good, so we can merge these pictures together taking the good pieces from both.
Examples of when to use HDR:
Night time – cityscapes.
Black and white – tone mapped can be great too.
E.g. with bright light in windows, a dark building without enough light, shadows, helps bring out textures
AEB- Common selections are 3, 5, 7. E.g. 3 pictures, one at 0 then one stop above and one stop below only adjusting shutter speed. (EV Exposure value another word for Stop) As time has progressed and I have become happier with my images I find 5 different pictures merged together gives me great results. I always make sure my images are taken in a RAW format, this gives me a more advanced post processing options. RAW pictures are a lot less processed and take up more space on a memory card so you want to make sure you have a good sized one with a fast transfer speed. This speed up the time the camera takes to transfer or save the picture thus letting you take the next one quicker.
Some things to keep in mind during Camera Setup and some preferred settings:
AEB – Auto exposure bracketing or aperture priority mode/A not fully manual can make things a lot better and allows you to keep the same depth of field in the picture. Aperture should remain constant and shutter speed should change to correct the amount of light hitting the lens.
Setup for 0 on you camera’s meter (Evaluative metering)
Manual focus to keep the same focus point while changing bracketing.
Having a nice calm day and not windy for your drone will keep things steady, if you are taken these pictures with a camera do not forget your tripod.
Once you have your required pictures you then merge these pictures together with software. Photomatix is my preferred software but other ways to do this are In camera (only JPG), Photoshop HDR Pro, Lightroom, Nik editing – Plugin, Photomatix Pro, Aurora, EasyHDR, Luminance HDR (free). Remember when merging your images together to look out for ghosting, this is when the images are overlapped together but the alignment is off causing a ghost like shadow.
The colours that come out are brilliant and these pictures really stand out from the crowd. Not only do you have a picture taken with a drone that is from a completely different angle that most people can manage you also have some very vibrant clear pictures. Commonly used or spoken about HDR styles:
Tone-mapping can have similar end products as HDR but this is only one single photograph. Before editing the picture, make sure your single photograph has good detail. Single photographs can be underexposed and over exposed using software and merged together. The drawbacks from tone mapping are that this process does not use the whole range of your camera’s sensor. You will find a lot of phones which can capture HDR images will actually use this process.
I know there could be some strange acronyms or things mentioned throughout this post but as you develop, play and have fun with your camera or drone a lot of these things will become second nature. I had dabbled a bit in photography previously and with the help of Shaw Academy was able to understand the concept of bracketing and using RAW files a lot easier. You can find my review of Shaw Academy in one of my previous blog posts
Above are two pictures I took with my drone, they consisted of 5 bracketed picture’s and merged together using photomatix software.
Four great pieces of free software that I think anyone performing any sort of image processing should have.
This is a program that allows you to animate and create 3D images. To me it seems like a massive program capable of many things. I only played with this for a few days but it was great combined with the use of Inkscape.. I used Inkscapes trace function to convert my logo image file to a Plain SVG file (2D) which I imported into blender and managed to create a 3D clip
It is not the easiest to get your head around but after some nice YouTube videos and playing around it definitely becomes clear that you could do almost anything with blender. For anyone looking to create some 3D animations to use with their drone advertising to promote your drone videos I would recommend blender.
In previous posts relating to HDR photography, 360 Panoramas and Tiny Planet pictures I mentioned the use of Photoshop. But you can’t forget GIMP this is another great free piece of software for editing images. I find the layout very similar to Photoshop and it is great for starting out and learning how it all works.
Links to the above mentioned programs can be found below: