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 who here is using the RamperPro? I am, need to discuss 
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Joined: Wed Oct 22, 2014 3:44 am
Posts: 20
Post who here is using the RamperPro? I am, need to discuss
Hi All,

First off, I am in love with the potential of the RamperPro, I've come close several times to great holy grail timelapses, but always seem to fall down at the finish line in one way or another. Andre has personally worked hard with me to help me master this kit, but he can't dedicate all his time to being my personal technical support, so I'm hoping to find other users of the RamperPro who might be able to share their insights.

I want to emphasise that I am not criticising the RamperPro (or Andre). It's a complicated and evolving piece of kit, so I think that a discussion would help all RamperPro users better maximise their investments (both in time and money).

Of course, if this isn't the right venue (or if there is already a RamperPro community gathered somewhere), I'd appreciate a pointer as to where to go.

I've learned a lot about this kit, so I'm happy to pass knowledge back. I typically use it to control two cameras (one on a DP StageR moco unit) through both sunsets and sunrises. Here it is in action during the recent "eclipse" in London (thick cloud the entire time, so I have a timelapse going from pre-dawn very dark, then getting vaguely brighter, then slightly darker for a short time, then sort of brighter after).

Image

Cheers!

Chas


Fri Mar 27, 2015 7:05 am
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Joined: Thu Feb 14, 2013 12:24 pm
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Post Re: who here is using the RamperPro? I am, need to discuss
Is it too bright or too dark at the end? Or both?
I was thinking of this but was thrown off by the price, plus it's from EU and I'm in NA.

HG is really hard, I wish there was a super duper automated solution but since the start I have always done manual.
I have experimented with DSLRdashboard which I love the idea of, but also towards the end I can't leave it unattended.

I don't know if you can leave any of these unattended, the variation of night scenes is really hard to expose for, especially with how much highlights you're willing to deal with or how much shadow noise in the scene.

Looks like most solutions work well until the sun goes behind the horizon and the city lights start getting brighter (in comparison to the ambient).
Then things go kooky.


Fri Mar 27, 2015 7:40 am
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Joined: Mon Mar 05, 2012 7:44 am
Posts: 45
Location: Orlando, FL
Post Re: who here is using the RamperPro? I am, need to discuss
I'm using the RamperPro with Nikon cameras and have found it to be fairly good for total automation. Basically, I set it up, hit go, walk away and shoot other stuff and then come back and pick it up, sometimes the next morning. I haven't done oa ton of sequences yet but the last few have worked really well. Happy to help in any way.

There is also a good private group on Facebook of RamperPro users. Search for it and request membership and the admin's will let you in.

I find the best thing with the Ramper Pro is to keep up to date with the firmwares as Andre is continually tweaking the algorithms and they are only getting better and better.

Happy to help with any questions you may have.

Drew

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Drew Fulton
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Drew Fulton Photography


Fri Mar 27, 2015 7:44 am
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Joined: Wed Oct 22, 2014 3:44 am
Posts: 20
Post Re: who here is using the RamperPro? I am, need to discuss
Hi,

Interestingly, it's both. I shot two movies with two cameras of a sunrise the other day. One ended up too dark, one too bright. The RamperPro's settings for both cameras were the same (though both cameras starting shutter speeds and ISOs were different).

too dark (but the dawn part at the beginning is great)
https://vimeo.com/123423192

too bright
https://vimeo.com/123423193

I've used DSLRDashboard too, in fact that's what I was using before I bought the RamperPro. Every timelapse I created with DSLRDashboard was usable, but yes, it did require constant attention. I bought the RamperPro so that:

1) I didn't have to pay so much attention
2) it would create smoother results (especially when the sun was in shot).

The final results are what's important, so if I can't figure out the RamperPro (which I have used for about 15 timelapses so far), I'll have to go back to the earlier system, reluctantly. The RamperPro is also controlling my StageR, so I'd have to get an NMX controller.

What I want is the RamperPro's excellent ramping at dawn/sunset, and then to have it not ramp at all when the light is steady (post-dawn or pre-sunset). This is is proving difficult.

Cheers!

Chas

scotchtape wrote:
Is it too bright or too dark at the end? Or both?
I was thinking of this but was thrown off by the price, plus it's from EU and I'm in NA.

HG is really hard, I wish there was a super duper automated solution but since the start I have always done manual.
I have experimented with DSLRdashboard which I love the idea of, but also towards the end I can't leave it unattended.

I don't know if you can leave any of these unattended, the variation of night scenes is really hard to expose for, especially with how much highlights you're willing to deal with or how much shadow noise in the scene.

Looks like most solutions work well until the sun goes behind the horizon and the city lights start getting brighter (in comparison to the ambient).
Then things go kooky.


Fri Mar 27, 2015 9:13 am
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Joined: Wed Oct 22, 2014 3:44 am
Posts: 20
Post Re: who here is using the RamperPro? I am, need to discuss
Hi Drew, thanks for your reply.

Ok, I'm at a loss as to how you're getting it to work so well. As I mention in my earlier reply, I shot two movies the other morning (two cameras, both controlled by the RamperPro, one on a StageR). One ended up too dark, one too bright. The RamperPro's settings for both cameras were the same (though both camera's starting shutter speeds and ISOs were different).

too dark, starting at 12 seconds (but the dawn part at the beginning is great).
https://vimeo.com/123423192
Shot with a D3s and a 28-70mm f/2.8 lens at f/5.6, one 3-stop ND removal

too bright, starting at 30 seconds (up to that point it's perfectly acceptable, and then at 40 seconds it comes down again because I used the Exposure Wizard screen to drop it a couple of stops, but then it ramps up to too bright again arrgh!)
https://vimeo.com/123423193
Shot with a D7000 and 14-24mm f/2.8 lens at f/2.8

Have you managed to shoot timelapses that have ramping portions, and then portions where the overall light doesn't change? (e.g sunrise into full day or sunset into full night). I would have thought that a ramped sunset and on into night timelapse (for e.g. shooting the stars) would be possible with the RamperPro, but I never can seem to get that sort of thing working (I should point out that I'm shooting mostly urban scenes, not stars, though that'd be nice).

I can't seem to find that Facebook group, unfortunately (I barely use Facebook, I'm afraid, so I'll admit that finding it might be easy for someone else). I don't have a personal Facebook page, just one for my photography business that I hardly use, I just wanted to reserve the name (a "fan" page?).

And I'm very up to date with the firmware, as I've been in frequent communication with Andre. I even helped him find a (very minor) legit bug for which he released new firmware in record time.

Which Nikon cameras are you using, by the way?

Cheers!

Chas


DrewFulton wrote:
I'm using the RamperPro with Nikon cameras and have found it to be fairly good for total automation. Basically, I set it up, hit go, walk away and shoot other stuff and then come back and pick it up, sometimes the next morning. I haven't done oa ton of sequences yet but the last few have worked really well. Happy to help in any way.

There is also a good private group on Facebook of RamperPro users. Search for it and request membership and the admin's will let you in.

I find the best thing with the Ramper Pro is to keep up to date with the firmwares as Andre is continually tweaking the algorithms and they are only getting better and better.

Happy to help with any questions you may have.

Drew


Fri Mar 27, 2015 9:35 am
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Joined: Mon Mar 05, 2012 7:44 am
Posts: 45
Location: Orlando, FL
Post Re: who here is using the RamperPro? I am, need to discuss
Chas,

Here's a link to the Ramper Pro Group on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/RamperPro/

Here is the last sequence I shot back in late February using a D610. This was a couple firmwares ago and I haven't been out shooting since he introduced the simplified setup screens. Shot with a D610 and 14-24mm if I remember correctly. I am using the histogram review mode and external light sensor. It's a long sequence and yes the stars speed up (interval changed at the end of the ramping) but that is super easy to fix in post. I tend to shoot with short intervals and speed up things later. Oh, also, some sensor dust shows up late in the sequence, to be fixed next time I render. There is some grading done in LRTimelapse but the basic ramping is done with the RP.
Clip: https://www.dropbox.com/s/94eoa1m70740rvi/150220K-RP-Dunes%20Overnight.mp4?dl=0

Now, looking at your sequences you posted, I haven't done any sunrises yet successfully (only tried once and had problems unrelated to RamperPro, bad USB cable screwed things up). I also haven't been including the sun in my frames. However, my guess is that something with the clouds and having the sun in the frame might be your problem. For example, the Ramper Pro ramps itself until reaches a steady exposure and then it slows down or even stops the ramping. It looks like to me on the too bright image that the Ramper Pro finished ramping when it was cloudy and then the sun broke through the clouds afterwards and it overexposed. On the dark image, I would guess that exposure was overcompensating and underexposing the image to compensate for the bright sun on the frame. Again, I haven't shot into the sun and haven't done many sunrises so that is just a guess. You might take a look at the Log file or your EXIF data to see if what I am guessing is right. Regardless, it would be my guess that the clouds are your problem because they prevent a steady ramping and create erratic exposure changes. Just a guess.

Drew

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Drew Fulton
Filming Florida
Drew Fulton Photography


Fri Mar 27, 2015 10:12 am
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Joined: Mon Mar 05, 2012 7:44 am
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Location: Orlando, FL
Post Re: who here is using the RamperPro? I am, need to discuss
Oh, you asked about cameras. I'm shooting with a D800, D610 and a handful of D3200s. I have used the RamperPro with both the D800 and D610 but not the D3200s (mostly I didn't have the correct USB cable but I do now so will try them in the future). I also have a Sony A7s that I'll be beta testing for Andre when he gets everything sorted out.

Drew

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Drew Fulton
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Drew Fulton Photography


Fri Mar 27, 2015 10:15 am
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