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Thread: Time Lapse - keeping you watching?

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    Default Time Lapse - keeping you watching?

    I take time lapse shots whilst I am boating out on the UK canals, and thought I'd share one here for views. Wasn't sure which video to post, so here's one



    I know there's a couple of shortfalls in my set-up - the camera is behind glass, so you can get reflections (I did have a way round this on my old, not bust, camera) and will probably fix in future, and water droplets (its at the front and I'm at the back), but really thinking of how these look for those who don't boat? The maps are added manually in post, but hopefully give the video some context. What about titles during the video, do they add enough, should there be more historical facts?
    I suppose you can say they are long, but didn't like disjointed cuts and not sure further time compression would help.
    Last edited by canals; 05-31-2010 at 12:48 PM.

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by canals View Post
    The maps are added manually in post, but hopefully give the video some context.
    The maps are useful, and I'm certainly a fan of them for giving context as you say. My problem was that the split screen layout meant I felt I was either watching the maps or the film. On another ofyour films you had the map placed lower right which seemed to work better for me. Ideally it would be superimposed on the main picture (in the "sky" area) with just the canal showing and the landmarks rather than the surrounding parts of the map.
    Quote Originally Posted by canals View Post
    What about titles during the video, do they add enough, should there be more historical facts?
    I didn't like the mixed fonts - the "space age" one for the clock didn't work for me.

    The brief captions simply stating the name of the bridge etc were simple and did the job. Fit for purpose.

    One issue with this type of film is that you are restricted by the speed at which you pass by each location and the lack of speed at which you pass the bits in between locations. You also may well run into two or three interesting locatons one after another which would give you a massive burst of things to "say" whilst the viewer wouldn't be able to both read the content and see the images.

    I suppose what I'm saying is that I don;t think this lends itself to a documentary type film. (You could, of course, film in real-time at locations you specifically want to talk about and then time-lapse between locations - but I don't think that's really what you're after.)

    I must admit, I didn't particularly like the music (though my 5 year old did!) for this film. It seemed too "modern" for the subject matter.

    However, more than that, after 30 seconds or so it began to lose my interest as it became "more of the same". It is interesting, but once you've seen a bit of a canal trip speeded up, well, it really needs more to keep interest. I think introducing some location sound would help a lot.

    And if you really want to make this have a wider appeal, think about introducing a commentary. This needn't be a dry factual narration, indeed it would probably be better if you tell us of your experiences, how you feel etc.

    Alternatively, sitting somewhere between location sound and a narration, would be "sound bites" of conversations between you and your travelling companions(s), if any, or voice to camera taken during the journey.

    Creating variety with sound in this film is particularly important as you have no means of creating variety with the images. You have no opportunities for different angles, medium shots, close-ups, extreme close ups, dutch tilt, cutaways etc. You're straighjacketed by the format you've chosen.

    So, in summary, I think the images are great and from your own perspective the film will do enough (your memories of the experience will fill in the rest - give it more life), but from a general viewers perspective you only have half a film - the visuals but no (interesting) sound.

    I fully agree with you that simply shortening it will not necessarily improve on it (and could mean that we don't get to see enough of each location).

    I do hope this hasn't come across as too negative, but has given you some things to think about. I love watching timelapse and I'm really interested in how you develop this into making more "rounded" films.
    Tim

  3. #3

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    Would the map be more fun if it auto oriented, like it does in a GPs. Some interesting effects might become possible in transitions etc between the map and the real footage.

    I agree. It's very long. And I was hoping that the lapse time would change so we could navigate some of the less interesting, long straight section, at 100mph

  4. #4

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    Thanks for the comments. Sound isn't much I've looked at yet, it was more a case of putting tracks on to have some sound, after seeing a lot of time lapse videos out there with ambient styles, tried that. So that could be one area to explore - possibly some recording along the way via a separate device as background, and maybe the experiences suggestion could be looked at. Possibly recording my feelings of the actual trip might be one way forward.

    Sorry you didn't like the clock idea. It was an experiment in producing the video for that day's cruise - there is often concern about ensuring you stay at safe moorings in urban Birmingham, so we had to cover a certain distance, so it was to try and reflect that (though I guess I lack the shot angles to be able to do a 24-esque shot ).

    A documentary isn't what I was after, correct, there are other people doing that with better equipment set-ups, but as a time lapse if its going to be longer than 2 - 3 minutes you need something to keep people watching. Whilst I mainly do it for my own viewing, I love learning and creating new stuff, so creating something to share is appealing. I'm not aiming for a very wide audience, but hope to make something entertaining to people interested in either canals or timelapse, and critique from people outside may find shortcomings those involved don't pick up (that said one guy who thanked me as it allowed him to revisit where he grew up so, did comment the music wasn't to his taste).

    The medium I chose, was to be unobtrusive as possible * - I'm involved in steering the boat and operating the locks, not running around with video camera. That said my current camera has more flexibility that my previous one, so it is probable that there will be a higher capture rate in August when I'm next out allowing a wider range for variable time stretching in post.
    ( * well and cost too)

    I think in August I'll have some on-location sound recording of some sort (the sound bites idea sounds good as we usually chat about it in the pub anyway), but I wouldn't mind trying something new with my existing material from March. It would be possible to get a sound recording from the canal, would this be okay, after all its not at-the-time recording, or would some careful matching be needed? A dry narrative is probably best to be avoided - I was wary with the titles of not over using these (naming every bridge, lock etc) for this reason. I'm wondering how unlinked the sound can be - would getting sound bites of conversations about the areas visited be okay as a general soundtrack for the piece, or would you expect it to be talking about what's on screen at the time (which would be looking at real-time, which I'm not).

    On the map, as Youtube supported widesceen, I changed to use the extra screen space for the map. I'll look into a version as some OSD simulation using opacity levels so its not separate. Having less of the surrounding map, that's interesting, so more stylised I guess.

    Thank you for the posts, all very positive.

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    It sounds like you're getting some good ideas already.
    Just to clarify - I didn't dislike the clock (I actually quite like it), just the choice of font.

    As for location sound (nat sound) I don't think it matters in the slightest that it is recorded at a different time: it'll be obvious that it's not recorderd at the same time anyway as it won't be speeded up (at least I hope not!)

    It should, however, be relevant. So, for example, make a recording of the change of ambient sound as you go into a tunnel and use that as ambient when you show a sequence of a boat going into a tunnel. Ditto coming out. Record water rushing through the sluices for lock shots. Record the cranking of lock gates. It doesn't matter that we don't see the gates being cranked. In fact I think this would add greatly to the narrative and these sorts of sounds may be all you need.

    You can, of course, still use music. Perhaps alternate the music with the soundbites (but keep some nat sound throughout). I really like the idea of you just leaving a digital recorder switched on whiilst you're chatting in the pub and then (rather tediously) sifting through it for odd comments you could use (perhaps in the style of the comments at the end of Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon).

    I think it would be a great idea to experiment with the footage you've got so you have an idea of what might and might not work before you try it "for real" in August.

    I also like TimA's idea of having the map auto-orientate.

    Be sure to keep posting your results.


    EDIT: Just re-read your post. Just so there's no misunderstanding, when I said you were straitjacketed by the format you chose, I'm not suggesting you should change it, I'm suggesting you should rise to the challenge of making a time lapse journey have a general appeal (Though your own suggestion of having "24" type picture in picture does have a certain appeal)
    Last edited by TimStannard; 05-31-2010 at 05:13 PM.
    Tim

  6. #6

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    I may have a go at variable speed video and take a whole days cruise (usually about 16mins of std timelapse) and have a play.

    On a couple of things mentioned.

    Mapping - so is it that the side map isn't useful as it means the viewing experience is split - you can only view one or the other. May need to see what aspects of map overlay could be done. I think the map-orientate may be a project for the future (premiere elements isn't great at allowing orientating a file, unless I can change the centre of rotation to the current position the boat marker is), and 3D for the true satnav experience more so.

    Creating a soundtrack - what software would you think is good (free or fairly cheap preferred) to do this. I have been simply using premiere, but I guess I would need to compile the video and export it out so that I can then match the video frames with the sound. I would most likely be using Goldwave to get individual sound files, but want something I can put them together and sync with the video.

    Thanks TimS for clarifying the video capture element. One idea for the 24-esque thing is to use my old camera for short segments (1 hours capture) view of the back of the boat, and steerer etc, from the boat middle, or from the back of the boat for the full length. If I'm speeding up the straight parts further, then this would work as the old camera is limited to a shot every 5 seconds.

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    Quote Originally Posted by canals View Post
    Mapping - so is it that the side map isn't useful as it means the viewing experience is split - you can only view one or the other.
    Thats what I found. Others may find differently. There are very few hard and fast rules. Consider feedback, then decide what works for you'

    Quote Originally Posted by canals View Post
    Creating a soundtrack - what software would you think is good (free or fairly cheap preferred) to do this.
    If you want to create it yourself there's a free version of Sony Acid available. Over time it's possible to build up quite a collection of free loops (Acid Planet has some free ones every week)
    Whilst this is ultimately satisfying (though not as satisfying as learning to play all the instruments and building your own recording studio) you may want faster results and there are many sites offering free royalty free music for use in videos. I recommend Bill Cushman's material http://www.videoforums.co.uk/pimp-li...ano-music.html and Kevin Macleod at Incompetech.

    Quote Originally Posted by canals View Post
    One idea for the 24-esque thing is to use my old camera for short segments (1 hours capture) view of the back of the boat, and steerer etc, from the boat middle, or from the back of the boat for the full length. If I'm speeding up the straight parts further, then this would work as the old camera is limited to a shot every 5 seconds.
    And this is an example of how this forum works best. You post a video, others make comments and suggestions and this inspires you to come up with fresh ideas of your own. And all this gives others ideas (for example, I haven't used a time lapse journey since an intro to something I made in 2006 and now I want to explore the possibility again).
    Tim

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    Having never been on a canal trip, that was a nice compressed experience. Two things I liked. One were the ducks that appeared to be 'super charged" and outrunning the boat (funny effect). The part I liked best was the locks.

    I agree with the person that said the clock font looked to modern.

    Other than that, thanks for the ride.

  9. #9

    Thumbs up Cool ride!

    I like it. Not my style of music, but that was a simple fix

    As far as the map, I am all for going with what YOU want in your videos. It takes up a little bit of screen space, but it is very simple to focus on either one, or switch between the two. It kind of reminds me of a video game where you get the map preview thing.

    Good job, I give you a thumbs up.

    The water seems very calm. Is there any flow to this canal?

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by TimStannard View Post
    Thats what I found. Others may find differently. There are very few hard and fast rules. Consider feedback, then decide what works for you'

    If you want to create it yourself there's a free version of Sony Acid available. Over time it's possible to build up quite a collection of free loops (Acid Planet has some free ones every week)
    I shall try and get map-specific feedback elsewhere too then. On the soundtrack element. Actually I was thinking of what NLE for compiling the audio track so include sounds of lock gears, clips from chats with locals, ambient sounds of the canal and some music. I am thinking that whilst I could add a whole bunch of audio tracks in Premiere, it may be best to render the video out and then compile the audio either in an editor that allows frames to be matched to existing video or at worse using an app like virtualdub to get the frame numbers.


    Quote Originally Posted by Stoned Planet View Post
    I like it. Not my style of music, but that was a simple fix

    As far as the map, I am all for going with what YOU want in your videos. It takes up a little bit of screen space, but it is very simple to focus on either one, or switch between the two. It kind of reminds me of a video game where you get the map preview thing.

    Good job, I give you a thumbs up.

    The water seems very calm. Is there any flow to this canal?
    Thanks, in some other videos I have started with a view of the full map before zooming in. I part changed to the side map to stop it obscuring the video when direction changed. There isn't much flow, oviously some as water moves down the locks and more as it rains. Most canals are purely artificial, and so water supply had to be considered when they were built (where they joined there was sometimes a stoplock because one company was afraid another would steal its water) and in some areas they have/had ater conservation measures like pumping water back uphill.

    Quote Originally Posted by worddigger View Post
    Having never been on a canal trip, that was a nice compressed experience. Two things I liked. One were the ducks that appeared to be 'super charged" and outrunning the boat (funny effect). The part I liked best was the locks.

    I agree with the person that said the clock font looked to modern.

    Other than that, thanks for the ride.
    I have one with swans that shared going through locks with us (saves the effort of flying I guess). How did you like the idea of a clock, though? I only chose that font as it was the most digital looking one (because of 24 et al), and only put a clock on this day as felt we were "up against the clock" at the time. Time of Day hasn't featured before but could well something to feature again (maybe as a clock face) if it is a nice addition.

    This whole feedback has given me lots to think about, rather than just a timelapse video with a music track attached (because it looked strange silent), considering other aspects to help create an atmosphere and make it a more complete and immersive feature, has excited me becaused I wasn't sure where to go next and had felt I was stagnating.

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