Hyperlapse Series - Advanced Tips for Shooting and Editing of Holygrail Hyperlapses

In our previous blog posts, we have covered how to take hyperlapses with drones; and how to edit hyperlapses

Thing is though, we love taking photos during the golden or blue hours; and the light transitions so quickly (especially during Winter when sunsets are shorter).  During a hyperlapse that spans around 10 to 15 minutes long; the exposure could go from 0EV to around -3.0EV.  That's going to be either an overexposed start or an underexposed end to your hyperlapse.  Oh and, you can't attach a holygrail device that does the exposure changes for you on a drone. So - what should you do? Spoilers below:

Shooting Tips:

Unlike a DSLR where you can fit an holygrail device to adjust your exposure setting while your DSLR is shooting for 3 hours - you can't do that for drones (or not yet, at least).  On a Mavic 2 Pro, your hyperlapses are limited to around 15 minutes anyway, but the light changes so quickly that 15 minutes could mean upto 3EVs of difference.

For us, we prefer the following approach:

  1. Lazy: Use Aperture priority and let the drone takeover the EV controls. However, you may expect some flickering when the lighting conditions varies quickly causing EVs to jump.  Especially since there's no exposure smoothing option on the Mavic series.
  2. Manual: Use Manual mode and adjust manually the exposure as the drone is going through its hyperlapse path.  Our preference is to assign the "5D button" to adjust EV settings so you can access them easier.  Keep track of the metering on your screen and adjust your EVs manually.

Editing Tips:

As suggested in the previous blog post - we will cover how to use LRTimelapse.  LRTimelapse is an amazing tool for post-processing of RAW files for timelapses. The steps are listed below:

  1. Import the photos using Lightroom (or LRTimelapse if you prefer)
  2. Open LRTimelapse - open the folder containing the RAW files of your hyperlapse
  3. Define the number of Keyframes and save meta using LRTimelapse
  4. Load the metadata files in Lightroom, and sort using "01 LRT5 Keyframes" to show the keyframes only.
  5. Edit the keyframes one by one, like you do normally with photos using Lightroom - (but refer to the list below on what can or cannot be processed by LRTimelapse)
  6. Save metadata in Lightroom for the edited Keyframes
  7. Reload the meta on LRTimelapse

    After reloading, you will spot a few things:
    - The yellow line (indicating exposure) overlaid on the preview will have spikes as opposed to a flat line above.

    - The edit data will be generated in a table format
  8. Use LRTimelapse's "Auto Transition" to analyze the transitions between keyframes. You will then see the following changes:
    - The exposure line overlaid on the preview will "smoothen" out along the "spikes". The jagged lines you see in the example below is because I have been adjusting the exposure along the flight, so the point where it is jagged is when I had adjusted the shutterspeed.

    - The frames which were not your key frames will have editing parameters adjusted in table format.
  9. Use LRTimelapse's "Visual Previews" to generate a visual preview after the transitions are analyzed.
  10. Use LRTimelapse's "Deflicker" to post-process and deflicker the transitions.  Depending on the flickering issue you have with the footage, you may do more "passes" to help de-flicker your footage. 

    After deflickering, you will notice the blue line overlaid on the preview is smoothened out.
  11. Reload the metadata of all frames in Lightroom, and export the images in the resolution you desire.
  12. Import to Premiere Pro and follow the steps in the previous blog post and you are done! (Unless you have the professional license of LRTimelapse, in which case you can output your video directly in HD from LRTimelapse!)

Editing Parameters on Lightroom which LRT can process:

  • White Balance (Temperature + Tint)
  • Tone (Exposure, Contrast, Highlights, Shadows, Whites, Blacks)
  • Presence (Texture, Clarity, Dehaze, Vibrance, Saturation)
  • Tone Curve - Linear only (!)

LRTimelapse also generates default gradient and radial filters.  Dont move them.  You can use the default generated filters to make adjustments that can be carried into LRTimelapse's auto-analysis.  Brushing does NOT get carried into the post processing (!).

Final Word:

With the above steps, anyone should be able to create their own crazy hyperlapses from the RAW images taken from the drone.  Let us know your questions, slide into our DMs on instagram, or leave comments below, or on our YouTube channel, or anything - just feel free!  Looking forward to see your hyperlapse creations.


The Beyond Visuals Team

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