Timescapes - Digital Timelapse Discussion

Bonfire Timelapse
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Author:  amcbroom [ Sun Jul 06, 2014 4:09 am ]
Post subject:  Bonfire Timelapse

Does anyone have any experience with shooting a time lapse of a huge bonfire? It's a one shot deal for the shoot I'm doing. My best guess so far is to shoot it on shutter priority and correct the exposures in post. What do you think?

Author:  photosentinel [ Thu Jul 10, 2014 5:34 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Bonfire Timelapse

I haven't shot a bonfire, but I have shot a fire in an indoor fireplace. I would say that you definitely don't want it on shutter priority. If you have it on shutter priority, you're going to get different exposures every shot which is an issue in this instance for a number of reasons:
1) part of what makes a fire a fire is changes in the intensity of the light compared to it's surrounds, so you want to keep those differences, not get rid of them
2) if you're light-metering off the flames, everything non-flame in your shot is going to flicker like crazy making post-production a nightmare. What you want is everything else in the frame not flickering and only the fire changing. Imagine you're shooting your bonfire against a dark night sky. You want the sky to stay at a constant exposure and the fire to flicker, not the other way around.
So, you definitely want it on full manual.

The other thing to consider is whether you want to go for a short or long exposure - they have different effects shooting a fire. Both look cool, but are quite distinct. If you go for a really fast shutter, you get cool shots of the sparks frozen in time, and you also get just the fire as the exposure is too low to capture the unlit surrounds. If you go for a slow shutter, then you get more of a flowing movement of the flames (similar to a slow-shutter time-lapse of water), and you can capture your unlit surrounds which might include people moving about or the night sky, which can look pretty cool.

Hope that helps!


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