Five minutes into a trip up the Pacific Coast Highway and I hastily decided to rig up a camera to take 4,218 shots. I set up my tripod, threw on the camera, and programed my remote shutter release to take a frame every 6 seconds for about 12 hours. I don't know about you, but if I were in charge over there at Google Maps I would create Google Time-lapse and map the world in a walking/driving time-lapse that could be sped up or down from real time to real real fast. You're welcome!
How freaking cool would it be if I could enter my address, then your address, decide how long I'd like it to take, and then experience a 35 mm stroll to your house? You could even add a variety of filters and take the trip down sepia lane should straight out of the camera not suffice. Yes there would be a few logistical issues but these are minor problems in the grand scheme of things. It's nothing Adobe Content-Aware, Google Fiber, a swashbuckle of programers, and a whole bunch of people with cameras couldn't fix. Last time I checked we got a whole bunch of all of that.
I set up my Canon 5D MK III with 24-105mm f/4 L IS, tripod, ball head, and zoomed in to 35mm. I manually focused on a point ahead of the car and then set the lens to manual focus. I turned off auto preview to save battery life and had two fully charged batteries in my battery grip. The batteries finally gave out 5 minutes from our destination just inside the city limits. After taking photos the entire day (72 GB) and ingesting them all into Lightroom 5, I spent about 2 minutes making a preset including a couple curves, a 16x9 crop, copied the preset to all photos, then exported all JPEG's at 1920 pixels on the longest edge at 240dpi. From there I imported them into Final Cut Pro X, and resized the duration to fit the song I used. Processing the photos from Lightroom to Final Cut took about 2 hours. Here are the other camera settings, if you are wondering.
- Camera Mode - Aperture Priority
- f/8 the entire time, which is one of the sharpest points in this lens.
- ISO 100 till 4PM then 1 stop every 15-25 minutes.
- Size: Small RAW
- Shutter Release Remote - 6 seconds
- Auto White Balance
What I learned
- Should have taken 1 photo every 3-4 seconds to create a more cinematic, less choppy feel.
- A tripod and camera rigged up in front of my head would be dangerous if we would have wrecked.
- Have more than 2 batteries charged for the trip.
- Make sure the tripod hasn't shifted more often.
- The shutter sound every 6 seconds is quite therapeutic.
If anything this was a good exercise in marathon time-lapse photography, or MTLP for short. I had never done anything like this and the end result was, in my opinion, a better keepsake than a bunch of photos that I took shooting from the window. Considering I didn't plan on doing this I think it turned out okay. Where was your favorite place to pause in the time-lapse? What did you recognize? Bonus points if you find the frame of the squirrel overlooking the lions.
If you ever get a chance to make this drive up the PCH, get a convertible and do it. Big thanks to my sister Anna for driving, what an epic drive.
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Don't forget we are teaching a workshop down in the Bahamas this May: