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It’s All in the Intervalometer (updated)

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The weather’s been a little odd for mid-May in southern California, so I decided to take advantage of it this week and see if I could create a camera effect that highlighted the movement of clouds.  (Hmmm, I guess weather does affect behavior!)  We don’t often have the puffy cumulus types in these parts.

The key to the whole thing is a relatively inexpensive camera device called an intervalometer, an electronic device that triggers the camera shutter at adjustable intervals.

So as I stood in the parking lot of the Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook, my new favorite promontory, I set the intervalometer to snap a shot every two seconds.  I calculated this at 30 shots per minute, and 1,800 shots per hour.  The research I’d done said the shorter the interval, the smoother the effect. I installed a new 32-gigabyte storage card in the camera, and adjusted the image quality to allow me to get more images on the card.

Math is a beautiful thing; other paramters, not so much.

For some reason, the camera stopped snapping about 45 minutes into the project.  I’d intended to go a full hour.  I checked the camera specs when I got home, and it seems the battery life is up to 2,700 shots.  Perhaps the battery wasn’t fully charged, because I fell more than 40 per cent short of that.

As I look at the video, it seems I may also have had incorrect settings for ingesting the stills into the non-linear editor.  It looks to me like the shots are in SD 4:3 aspect ratio rather than the HD 16:9 I was aiming for.  But the 45-minute shoot is distilled to 30 seconds, a time-compression of 90:1.

And guess what?  Despite everything, the clouds are in motion!

UPDATE (1:10 pm): I monkeyed around with some of the settings, and lo and behond, it wasn’t on the INGEST that the aspect ratio got messed up, it was on the EXPORT!  So here’s a fixed version of the video.

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  • Kitty Alva May 20, 2011, 10:47 pm

    Sounds like so much work… but it paid off. I absolutely love “Clouds in Motion”… extraordinary!

  • Paul Skolnick May 21, 2011, 5:52 am

    Thanks, Kitty