If you’ve ever taken a long time lapse only to discover your shutter settings were bad, you know how frustrating it can be. Instead of having a nice blurred sequence you end up with jumpy footage. Somewhat of a staccato. While it id obviously best to get that motion blur in camera, if you totally missed it here are three ways from Preston Kanak to fix jumpy footage.
But, really, best to get it in camera
But before that, lets get back to getting it right in camera. Generally you’d want a lower shutter speed. If the lighting is there, you can simply lower ISO and add longen the shutter time. But if it’s too bright, you may need to go a different route.
The frugal way: close the aperture down, which may capture more dust and particles. If it’s just you and your camera, this is the option though. As aperture closes down, you can balance it out with more shutter time, and retain the same exposure.
If you still want to keep on open aperture, they you would need to use a filter. Preston uses a square ND from LEE, but other solutions may work as well.
If you failed to get it in the field, there are some things you can do in post. Some methods work better for some shots, and some work better for others. Experiment and find out.
Use the echo effect
You know the echo effect. You’ve seen it overused millions of times in video clips from the 80’s. But the repetition effect of it, helps to smooth out motion. If you do go that way, make sure to decay the echo to remove some of the pattern. As an added bonus, this method will also remove some of the flickr from the shot.
The idea behind this method is similar to the previous one, use a repetition of a frame to smooth out hard edges. Only this time you are doing it manually in after effects. The process involves duplicating the layers, pushing each layer one frame forward and setting them to different opacities. There is a recipe for how much opacity each of the layers need and you can find it here.
Pixel motion blur +cc wide time
This last method gives out the best results, but it is also the most resource intensive. That means that unless you got a monster of a workstation, you will probably take scrubbing away.
The first effect to apply is pixel motion blur which helps to blur the hard edges a little. The second effect is CC wide time which kinda mimics the second method we mentioned.
What about you, what do you use to fix jittery time lapses?
[How to Smooth Out Your Timelapse Footage | Preston Kanak]