"I'm really starting to get tired of how blurry and pixellated my 4k image looks," said no one ever. But in the never ending quest to squeeze the most resolute, highest quality image possible out of our (relatively) inexpensive cameras, Art Sanchez was able to get 8k video from a $2,000 Nikon D800.
Miguel de Olaso, Macgregor, co-founder of Sanchez-Olaso, and partner to Art, started down the path to discovering how this was possible during a trip to Iceland. People say that necesity is the mother of invention, and when Miguel's video camera system became damaged, he needed to find a way to salvage the rest of his trip by capturing the best images possible. The result was shooting high resolution still images using burst mode, and using software to fill in the gaps using frame interpolation. This was the beginning of the "Quicklapse" tehcnique, and this video was the result:
After trialing different cameras, the Nikon D800 was selected as the best system for the task of making this technique applicable, and Art had just the project in mind: an architectural highlight video as seen at the top of this article.
One of the biggest hurdles was the 100 image burst limit on the Nikon D800. They were able to bypass this limit with a little help from a custom intervalometer developed by Alex Gutierrez, motion control engineer and CEO at Mslider.
This technique requires shooting and processing an incredible amount of data. Art shared information on his blog about it:
Since the whole project was shot in raw format, the processing and conversion of the stills had to be done before the editing could start. We used Lightroom for the raw conversion. It took more than two weeks to export the 36mpx color corrected raw material to 4K. And we are not counting the time we spent dialing the right settings in Lightroom. Two straight weeks where our main computer was just exporting image files, 24/7.
Once we had image sequences we imported those into After effects, where we performed tasks such as stabilization, perspective control and of course time remapping. This process took about two more weeks. We exported the clips on either uncompressed or cineform codec video files.
You can't deny the clarity of these visuals, and the fact that they started as RAW images means the correction and coloring possibilties are almost endless. This technique didn't come without some disadvantages as though, as one might expect.
Main advantages of Quicklapse:
-High resolution and rich colour imagery: real time video with photographic quality.
-Full frame 24x36mm sensor= good in low light conditions, optimal lens coverage specially with wide angles and tilt&shift lenses.
Disadvantages of Quicklapse:
- Tedious and slow workflow derived by working with such an enormous images and raw formats not developed for video.
- A limiting factor: fast moving objects can be a problem, such as trees or water splashes.
You may have noticed that there are no people in the video- my guess that motion interpolation would make them render very oddly, just like the trees and water. Art is quick to note that this technique is really best for emulating the "architectural photography look."
I love seeing artists push the boundaries of their tools, rather than being confined by the limits of technology. It is only a matter of time before this kind of image aquisition is common in these affordable camera systems.
You can read more details about the development and implementation of this technique over at the Sanchez&Olaso blog.