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                   Tuesday, October 30, 2007 - 5:26PM

Season change time-lapse video update

By DAN ROBINSON
Editor/Photographer
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Here is another quick update on the season change transition time-lapse video project. Today I shot the tenth stage of all eleven scenes. From the progress so far, it appears another three or four stages will be necessary through the beginning of winter to complete the full year sequences. This fall is being affected by the drought in that the color changes are happening a little different this year. Here is a video clip showing all ten stages of the Scene #6 sequence so far:

VIDEO: Season change sequence as of October 30 - WMV, 14MB

The above still image was from the last stage of Scene #6 shot on October 20. The following one was the stage shot today (October 30). Notice that the few trees that were in vivid color last week have lost most of their leaves, while everything else has not changed much at all (including the 'main subject' tree in the middle).

Here is the October 30 stage of Scene #10. Still a lot of green out there for the end of October. At this rate, it looks like it may be November 10-15 before we have most of the leaves gone.

The editing process of this project has turned out to be a challenge, particularly the scenes that show a lot of foreground. The foreground is less forgiving when the frames in each stage don't line up perfectly. For instance, I can easily correct a frame that needs a slight rotation, a nudge left-right-up-down, or a slight zoom in or out. What cannot be compensated for is if the tripod was set up just a couple of inches too far left or right. In that case, the whole perspective of the scene changes. This type of perspective change is almost impossible to avoid comepletely, but at least in the zoomed shots with no immediate foreground (like in Scene #6 shown above) this isn't much of a problem. However, the perspective change is pretty apparent with objects close to the camera.

Out of all eleven scenes, I may only end up with five or six that are usable after this project is done. Some of the stages were just too far out of alignment to be able to assemble smoothly. But, that is part of the reason that I chose eleven scenes, hoping that at least a few of them would come out.

If I do something like this again, I will not use the visual landmarks to align the shots. There is too much room for error in tripod height, angle, location and zoom. I'm thinking of using permanent camera mounts next time, where instead of using the tripod, I'll mount the camera to a pipe with a threaded end. Then, I'll drive threaded pipe sections into the ground at the various locations I want to shoot at. Then the camera mount pipe can simply be screwed into the ones driven into the ground, ensuring that the exact location, height and angle of the camera will be the same every time. The fixed pipe mounts can be driven flush with the ground so that they are well hidden from anyone that might disturb them.

Another run at this project is dependent on where I am living next year. North Carolina's landscape doesn't have dynamic season transitions like West Virginia's does, not to mention the fact that snowfall there is extremely rare.

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