Learning Basic Hyperlapse Featuring Some Al Khobar Landmarks

One of the creative ways to document your travel is by making time-lapse and hyperlapse videos. That rising or setting sun, the busy intersection and other spots you want to remember vividly can be time-lapsed instead of just taking photos or normal videos.





Doing hyperlapse is not so practical during trips for some, unless it is part of the itinerary. At least that's what I thought.


What's in this post:


  • What is Hyperlapse?
  • My First Hyperlapse Video
  • Preparation
  • Location and Subjects
  • Equipment
  • Camera Settings
  • Simple Steps in Taking Photos for Hyperlapse
  • Youtube Tutorials and Hyperlapse Samples 
  • Conclusions



What is a Hyperlapse?


Hyperlapse is actually a form of time-lapse photography and makes use of the same basic technique in producing a complete output. Both are used for showing a scene that appears fast, as if the time lapses.

Hyperlapse is distinct from a normal/traditional time-lapse in the sense that the photographer walks/moves as he takes each frame, as opposed to using a stationary tripod or a dolly when making the traditional time-lapse.


My First Hyperlapse Video


I had been wanting to do a hyperlapse and the Eid al Adha holidays gave me time to take photos and create a (very) short video.

I was accompanied by my colleague Mark who actually has made some time-lapse photography himself and has shared a few tips, too.

Khobar Corniche Hyperlapse
My first try on hyperlapse featuring the Khobar Tower and other landmarks in Corniche Khobar. Three hours of shoot, about 200 photos, and around 4 hours editing (also first time to use Ae and Pr) for a 9-second clip! Eid Mubarak! Watch in HD (up to 2160p) and with sound πŸ”Š on. www.worktravelshoot.com
Posted by Elriz Buenaventura on Thursday, August 23, 2018




Preparation:


  • Think of a location and subjects/points of interest
  • Prepare the equipment and know the settings
  • Have editing software to create the final video
  • Watch videos on Youtube for tutorials and references



Tutorials helped me a lot which are cited below. This post is merely a narrative of how and what I went through to create my first hyperlapse, my thoughts and references.


Location πŸ“ and Subjects


Before the shoot, I could only think of one place to do the hyperlapse in Al Khobar: at the corniche or seaside park. It is good since it meets the following:

✔️ Landmarks and structures that can be used as focal points.

✔️ Lines, Bricks, tiles on the grounds are very helpful (if not essential) in maintaining regular intervals between shots. Regular spaces must be kept as much as possible to keep the transition from one frame to the next smoother and won't appear 'skipping'.

✔️ Open space. Too many obstructions to your subject can be quite a challenge in maintaining consistent shots and in post-production. While having many elements in the scene helps in giving production value, it could also become too much of a distraction from your focal point.


πŸ“ SAUDI ARABIA PHOTOGRAPHY TIP!

  • Since we are in Saudi Arabia, having a significant distance from your subject gives you a safe shooting 'space'. 
  • Some locals, especially older women and men, are still not comfortable seeing DSLR cameras around (since they are big) and for them, it's a form of invading privacy.
  • Avoid looking at women at all costs! It is unavoidable that local women in abaya would pass your shooting direction. In such instance, I would stop looking at my camera (to assure them that I won't take a photo) and wait until they're away. 
  • I was actually asked by an old man during this shoot and I immediately responded that I was taking photo of the tower and he happily walked away.




Equipment


Be sure to:

✔️ Charge your πŸ”‹ battery! Basic but often overlooked. 

✔️ Have enough memory space. It takes 24-30 photos in able to create a one-second long clip. Be sure to come with a fresh memory card.

✔️ Use a tripod. This makes the shooting slower but is crucial if you plan to shoot at night where you'll need to take photos at longer exposure. Even at daytime, using a tripod helps a lot in maintaining consistent shots but some do it without.

✔️ Use a wide angle lens


πŸ“ MIDDLE EAST SUMMER ☀️ TIP! Acclimatize your camera and lens.

  • I keep my camera in my room where the temperature πŸŒ‘️ is maybe a little above 20°C.
  • During summer, I would put my camera somewhere warmer (anywhere far from the air conditioner) at least for an hour before bringing it outside. But I forgot to do so. 
  • The result? When I was about to shoot, the hot and humid air outside (at least 40°C) instantly made the glass fog up both on the outside and in the inside. I had to wait around 30 minutes before I could start shooting. (Mark also encountered the same issue.)



Camera Settings πŸ“·


✔️ I shoot at at least f/5, ISO 100, and vary the shutter speed accordingly. If I set the aperture to a bigger number (>f/5, closing it more), it would require me to decrease the shutter speed, thus a longer overall shooting time. This is important for night scenes, so make a choice between aperture and shutter speed. (Remember, too, that higher f/5 means better overall sharpness/focus.)

✔️ Turn on the camera grid display. For shooting with the live view mode, I find the 6x4 grid helpful especially that it has lines crossing the center where I like to center the subject, and actually gives more choices for subject placement, as opposed to the 3x3. If shooting via the viewfinder you can use the focus points as your references in positioning the subject.

✔️ Use the camera's electronic level. It will lessen your alignment/rotation a great deal in post.

✔️ I set it to Evaluative-Metering.

✔️ Manually focus on your subject. 


Simple Steps in Taking Photos for Hyperlapse 


1. Locate the subject where you will put your focus on. (I chose that mosque.)

2. Determine your path. (Not your life's path though).




3. Determine the space between each shot and how you're going to position your tripod, or the steps you're going to make.




4. Pick a focus point. (In the example above, I chose the Crescent on the mosque's minaret.)

5. Start taking photos until you have enough. Adjust the camera accordingly, making sure you are focusing on the same exact point. Remember: 24 photos equal 1 second.


16 photos. It's 8 photos short for the standard 24 frames per second because I reached the end of the sidewalk! 



That's how it looks like without any correction or adjustment on the rotation and position. Stabilization will be done in Adobe After Effects.


While the steps above seem basic, they are the foundation of your hyperlapse. It will affect how much work needs to be done in post, how you will make transitions, among other things. (But, I didn't think of those things too much as I just wanted to try it and see the result.)


Software


Upon arriving home I immediately saved the photos to my computer and tried uploading them to Windows Movie Maker, just to see how the photos would look like without editing them.

It was okay... no not at all. That's why software that are capable of stabilization is important in creating hyperlapse:

✔️ Adobe Lightroom (or any other photo editing software) for editing the photos' color etc in batch (Note: don't do the rotation correction here). 

✔️ Adobe After Effects for combining the photos to make a clip and for correcting the individual photo's rotation and alignment (stabilization).

✔️ Adobe Premiere Pro for making the final video. (Actually, the Windows Movie Maker would be enough at this point.)



Youtube Tutorials and Hyperlapse Samples πŸ“Ή


Finally, the tutorials. I am new to this subject and I simply followed the tips from a few tutorials I found on Youtube. The three videos below are the most helpful ones.


More on Camera Settings


Most likely, you know your camera by heart and have shooting preferences already in different conditions (e.g., day, night, surrounding color temperature) but the key point here is to set the camera to manual mode in order to maintain consistent photos throughout the shoot.

This video by Emeric was my basis for coming up with some of the settings I had stated above (useful bits start at 0:55).



Shooting Basics


I find this video by Aidin Robbins really helpful when it comes on how to shoot (tutorial starts at 0:29):






Putting it All Together πŸŽž️


As I was excited to complete my hyperlapse, I didn't watch a lot of tutorials. I skimmed through several videos and thankfully found this one which I think is perfect.

The title of the tutorial by cameratest intimidated me a little as it says 'Advanced'. Indeed, it is thorough but quite easy to follow. It is 35 minutes but every minute is useful:





Conclusions


✔️ For me, those tutorials cover the basic and it's just a matter of mastering the stabilization procedures in post and taking different approach. But I'd watch more other videos for some shooting ideas.

✔️ Now that I have tried hyperlapse (mostly at night time), I think I can do it quicker during daytime when faster shutter speed is doable. And with that, would probably be able to do on future travels.

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