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 Hello! Help with Settings 
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Joined: Sat Sep 04, 2010 4:12 am
Posts: 2
Location: Nottingham England
Post Hello! Help with Settings
Hi
Great forum! lots of helpful info!

I'm new to timelapse and i've done a lot of reading about it recently.
I'm basically planning on going camping tonight in the middle of nowhere, with no ambient light to ruin my shot, and a new moon too, im just hoping it will stay clear so i can get a nice long timelapse of the night sky.

I'm using a Nikon D300 but don't have a timer yet, so im using the interval timer setting in the menu.
I would like to know a few things that might help me get better results.

- Do i use manual or Aperture mode?
- How do i get the stars + foreground in focus when you can't see anything through the viewfinder?
- Why is it important to turn auto WB off, and what WB setting should i use?
- Is it best to use 30 sec exposure with 1 min interval? or 15 sec exp with 30 sec interval? or any other values?
- I've heard mixed info about ISO settings, some people use shorter exposures with high ISO (like 3200) I've also heard its best to use low ISO.
- What resolution is best to use? L, M or S (does it matter?)
- How can you shoot in RAW and process hundreds of images before you open them in image sequence? should i just shoot in Jpeg fine?
- Any particular place in the sky to focus on? ie the north star? or any other area of celestial interest?

Any other information which will yield better results would be greatly appreciated.
Just hope the skys stay clear!!

Regards
Matt


Sat Sep 04, 2010 4:31 am
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Joined: Sun Jul 25, 2010 9:25 pm
Posts: 83
Post Re: Hello! Help with Settings
Slebs11 wrote:
I'm new to timelapse and i've done a lot of reading about it recently.
I'm basically planning on going camping tonight in the middle of nowhere, with no ambient light to ruin my shot, and a new moon too, im just hoping it will stay clear so i can get a nice long timelapse of the night sky.


Awesome.... :)

I'm still learning about this as well, but perhaps I could offer a few suggestions...

Slebs11 wrote:
- Do i use manual or Aperture mode?


Manual. You want the exposure to be identical throughout the series, exposing for the stars and milky way. Given that the sky will be mostly black, this will throw off the meter in the camera.

Slebs11 wrote:
- How do i get the stars + foreground in focus when you can't see anything through the viewfinder?


Prefocus on something far away beforehand so that your lens is set to infinity. It sounds like you won't have a bright object like the moon to autofocus on.

Does the D300 have a live view mode? If so, you can focus directly on the LCD that way. This is a very popular technique for manual focusing among astrophotographers.

Slebs11 wrote:
- Why is it important to turn auto WB off, and what WB setting should i use?


You don't want WB shifting through the series. Consistency is key. Shoot on sunny mode (you're shooting stars, just like the sun.)

Slebs11 wrote:
- Is it best to use 30 sec exposure with 1 min interval? or 15 sec exp with 30 sec interval? or any other values?


You'll want to minimize the gaps between shots to keep things as smooth as possible. The FAQ suggests shooting stars at 20-60s between shots, so perhaps the former option would be more on target.

Slebs11 wrote:
- I've heard mixed info about ISO settings, some people use shorter exposures with high ISO (like 3200) I've also heard its best to use low ISO.


Well how tolerant are you with noisy images/video? How fast is the lens you're going to be using? Will you be stopping it down?

Slebs11 wrote:
- What resolution is best to use? L, M or S (does it matter?)


Smaller images yield more shots per card. If you have the card space and hard drive space, shooting larger is nice. Plus with the added resolution, you can crop in and add things like pans and zooms afterwards if you like.

Slebs11 wrote:
- How can you shoot in RAW and process hundreds of images before you open them in image sequence? should i just shoot in Jpeg fine?


Convert the RAWs to JPEG before importing them into your video editor.

Slebs11 wrote:
- Any particular place in the sky to focus on? ie the north star? or any other area of celestial interest?


I suppose it really depends upon the look you want to achieve. You could look through some of Tom's timescapes videos on the main page and pay attention to startrail direction, see what you like, and do something similar.

Hope that helps! :)

Ariel

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www.ArielBravy.com/travel


Sat Sep 04, 2010 9:27 am
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Joined: Mon Nov 30, 2009 6:04 am
Posts: 186
Location: Essex, UK
Post Re: Hello! Help with Settings
I hope your timelapse went well. I know it is a bit late, but to familiarise yourself with the night sky you can download a free program called Stellarium. It is basically a night sky simulator. You didn't mention where you were located as that makes a big difference to what is visible. If you want lots of stars and Nebulae then pointing towards the galactic center is a good place to start. Look for the Sagittarius constellation, that will help you on your way.


Sun Sep 05, 2010 11:15 pm
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Joined: Sat Sep 04, 2010 4:12 am
Posts: 2
Location: Nottingham England
Post Re: Hello! Help with Settings
Thanks for your reply's Ariel & Scorchio.

Unfortunately it was cloudy all night on saturday! so I had to settle for some light graffiti rather than some time lapse. sods law!
I'm in the middle east of the UK, where clear skys are like blue moons!

Finding the best area of the night sky, and choosing the right settings is important to me, so I hope this forum will help me to get better results.
Another thing im interested in doing but have no idea where to start, is actually connecting my camera to my telescope so i can photograh planets and Nebulas, (like the one in orion) this would be a dream come true if I only knew where to start. apparently a T2 mount is what i need.

Just a couple of things in reply to Ariel
- Yes my camera has live view mode, on the lens is infinity the far left value that looks like a 8 on its side?
- the reply about ISO lost me! im not that clued up yet!
- "Convert the RAWs to JPEG before importing them" - why would you shoot in raw if your only going to convert them back to pjeg?
I thought shooting in raw would give better results, but as i tried one sunday morning packing the tents away, it actually filled my 8gb CF card!
so I added the Raws in image sequencer (QT7) and the result was a very poor video, very blocky, not sure why, maybe its something to do with the interval (5secs) or the fps.. (sigh) Ive still got a lot of learning to do!
- I'd be well happy if you can help me with these last 2 qustions! - when ive got a folder full of RAW files (NEF) you cant see the thumbnail like you can a jpeg, so i dont know whats what! i tried downloading a NEF codec from nikon but it hasn't done anything.
- also when i want to open a jpeg for example in Photoshop CS5 I usually right click on the photo and go to open with.. then select P's, but now im using the new version, p's isnt in the list, if i try to locate it, it doesnt add into the list, so i have to do it the long way round and open p's then go to file open etc

Do you recommend using Quick time for image sequence? maybe its my pc, but this program seems to work very slow, and i can only view the video after ive exported it.

Thanks
:-)


Mon Sep 06, 2010 2:11 am
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Post Re: Hello! Help with Settings
I'll work on updating the FAQ to reflect all of Slebs11's lens quandaries: viewtopic.php?f=40&t=1871

ISO is always a noise variable just like film! You can get better light the higher the ISO but it's a trade off... So you'll quickly find the larger sensor, better technology, expensive lenses and software make a huge difference.

Which leads into your RAW->jpg question: RAW is directly off the image sensor with no debayering. In other words you have control over the way the data is interpreted. Shooting JPG is compressed and converted in camera. It's again a trade off... Space to quality.

Look for a RAW viewer like Bridge or Picassa. There are some windows plugins to display raw in explorer I think?

RAW Takes some processing time. The fastest route is After Effects or other high end software that can ingest that data directly. I have no idea what happened with QT7 or how you imported RAW in?

You're having trouble opening a jpg in photoshop CS5?? :?


Mon Sep 06, 2010 5:04 am
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