28 June 2011

Wednesday Movie - view from my living room window

This weeks wednesday movie was made by me and it can be seen here
There is also a version with a soundtrack here which seems to work in some places but not others.

Over a year ago I got interested in timelapse photography. Since then I have experimented with a variety of different setups and methods which I have published here and on my youtube channel.

The most ambitious project has been to take pictures of the view from the Evil Lair once every 4 hours for a year. To make it more challenging I decided to create HDR pictures for each shot.

So the set up was an old nikon D70 powered from the mains, connected to an old laptop. In order to get the bracketing required for the HDR I needed to use the Nikon camera controller software. I must say at this point it really pisses me off that Nikon charge you thousands of pounds (or dollars) for a camera and then have the nerve to try and change you hundreds more for the software to use it!

Anyway the software was installed and the whole thing rigged up. I set the camera to automatic exposure bracketing one stop either side. The shots were taken at midnight, 4am, 8am, midday, 4pm, and 8pm. I thought this would reflect the changes through the year nicely.

Everything was running ok until I went to Utah in May. When I came back I found out the computer had crashed while I was away and I had lost a few days. This became a bit of a theme. I can not figure out why the laptop would crash, it was only running one piece of software, not connected to the internet and doing the same thing everyday but random times it would, normally after a month or so. I realised I could reduce this by restarting it every couple of weeks but I still lost a couple of blocks. The worse was when I was in Aberdeen for Sophie's birth and I lost the entire month of February (gained a daughter so I can't complain). Still very annoying.

I decided to stop at mid-summer, so I would have just over an entire year. Once the date came I downloaded all the pictures (about 6000). I am batch processing the HDR but in the meantime I decided to make the movie just from the single images, to see how it would work.

Its not practical to run the pics in order because within a day the contrast between night and day is overwhelming so that at 10 frames per second it just flashes light and dark twice a second. So instead I made seperate movies for the different times and the stacked them back to back. This way you can see how the length of the days changes with the weather through the year.

I am rather pleased with it. I compiled it in windows movie maker. I added Pink Floyds "learning to fly" as a sound track which seemed to fit well. When I uploaded it to youtube I got a message to say that it was blocked in numerous countries because of copyright, so I made a second version with no sound. I expect this means that less people will buy Floyds album now but that's EMIs loss - twats.

Anyway hope you enjoy the movie, I will post the HDR version when I get it processed

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