The Sony RAW Issue

The Sony Alpha RAW Issue from Joerg Niggli on Vimeo.

In some of my recent time lapse sequences from La Palma I have discovered a strange issue with RAW files from a Sony A7S and a Sony A7RII camera.


«HyperZürich» - hyper lapsing the fast way

Usually a proper hyperlapse is done on a tripod, moving step by step forward. Shooting 150, 300 or more frames like this a time-consuming and strenuous process.

But me, I'm a bit lazy. So I prefer to have things done as fast and simple as possible.

But there is yet another reason: the appropriate frame rate.

When you have to move and adjust a tripod for every picture, you're only able to shoot intervals of 7-20 seconds max. The resulting footage is moving fast. People and cars are jumping through the scene.

Some situations need faster intervals, even faster than one frame per second.
That's the second reason for my «HyperZürich» experiment.

For all the shots I have used a hand held gimbal (Beholder MS1) and a compact camera (a Sony RX100MIV camera for the first part and a Micro4/3-Panasonic GX1 with a 20mm lens for the second part).
Both cameras were set to manual mode, with slow shutter speeds of around 1/15 to 1/4 sec. Firstly to create natural motion blur for the moving subjects and the movement of the camera.
For the Sony RX100MIV I had to choose very slow exposures anyway, because otherwise the camera shoots too fast in continuous mode. Thus fills the buffer and the camera begins to stutter after 50 to 100 pictures recorded (in JPEG mode). The much older Panasonic however has a 3 frames/sec continuous mode and is able to buffer the stream of images as long as needed.

Because my body has two walking feet only some unwanted movements are visible in the footage as blurred shots, even when trying to walk as steady and smoothly as possible.

One lesson learned: you can only do quick and dirty hyperlapses this way. Nothing brillant for 4K demos in TV shops. But I it's ok when you need to capture fast moving subjects or if there's no time, space or whatever to do it properly with a tripod or a rolling device.

If you have any questions or thoughts, let me know in the comments.

HYPERZürich from Joerg Niggli on Vimeo.

Day To Night on the Pico de la Cruz

It was a windy evening. Rough, but with a breathtaking view from the edge of the Caldera. Once all this was a giant volcano, probably more than 4000 meters high. Then, a large part of it slided into the sea. In the remaining steep basin-shaped valley there is now the Caldera Taburiente National Park, hundreds of meters below us. One of my cameras was placed right on top of the Pico de la Cruz. Another one 10 minutes walk below, not far from the street. This short video shows a part of the day-to-night-sequences recorded by both of them.

Astromaster 2016 | Pico de la Cruz from Joerg Niggli on Vimeo.

Holy Grail Transitions

Rendering smooth transitions in time-lapse is a time consuming job. But especially Day-to-Night transitions (or vice versa) look really nice. But there are so many changing conditions to take care of, mainly exposure, white balance and noise. This screenshot shows six steps of a night to day transition of the El Teide (Teneriffa), shot from the high plane of La Palma.

20161021 Screen El Teide Trans LR

This is how it looks like what LRT Timelapse has to deal with after adjustments in Lightroom.

20161021 Screen El Teide Trans LRT

Apart from exposure and white balance, there are many more parameters adjusted for achieving a nice image and transition: animated gradients, various clarity settings and adapting sharpness and noise reductions parameters. Including render times this clip takes 3-4 hours time. The result is a glorious shot in 4K - hopefully…


With more than 1.5 Terabyte of footage from La Palma there will be very long render sessions the next weeks or even months. Shooting really is the most fun part in Time-lapse photography. Managing files, folders and backups isn't — at least not for me. Post processing (rendering) the clips from images (mostly RAW files) is interesting though. Here we can bring the images back to live, recreating our perception of those magic nights and moments.
If there would only be faster computers. A few seconds of a time-lapse can take hours to tweak and fine-tune, and then slowly render, image by image, sometimes only to discover that you have to do it all over again, because there was something wrong somewhere…
The video below is a day-to-night transition of the MAGIC telescope at the Roque de los Muchachos in La Palma. The specific workflow for this time-lapse so far: setting and fixing the transition in
LRTimelapse, rendering JPG files from RAW in Adobe Lightroom. Importing the sequence to Apple Motion and progressively applying the Neat Video noise reduction. What still needs to be fixed are some of the distracting lights from cars passing by. That's another session of 1-2 hours…

Astromaster 2016: Magic Telescope Clip Preview from Joerg Niggli on Vimeo.

Shooting Hyperlapse in Friuli

20161011 Palmanova
That's Palmanova, a fortress city in the Region of Fruili in Italy. The square (piazza) in there very center of this unique historic site was the theatre for some experiments of fast hyperlapse shooting techniques. I need to access a reasonable fast machine to render some of this sequences before I can share them here in this blog.

Looking back

Back from La Palma since 10 days, with 1.6 TB of raw footage. Render proper time-lapse movies will take some time. But at the moment I'm quite busy with stage two of project «Timelapse Plus»: Hyperlapse.
I've spent two fabulous days in Austria with the master of Hyperlapse
Geoff Tompkinson, learning more about moving the camera precisely in space. More info and examples should be posted here soon.

For the moment I'd like to share some footage of moving clouds in La Palma, which I found looking through my preview footage of the Astromaster workshop.

Astromaster Clouds from Joerg Niggli on Vimeo.

Visiting the Astronomers

La Palma is one of the best spots on the planet for looking deep into the night sky. No wonder it is well known by astronomers and astrophysicists. During the Astromaster 2016 workshop our group had the opportunity (and special permission) to shoot during the night at the Observatory at the Roque de los Muchachos, 2400m above sea level.

Here's a short glimpse of last night, featuring the Hershel telescope

Astromaster 2016 - Hershel at Night from Joerg Niggli on Vimeo.

First Night Session in a Short Video

Some impressions of the first night shooting session of the «Astromaster 2016» workshop in La Palma.

The Moon on the Night Sky

Less than half a moon can make such a difference. This is the dark sky in the south of La Palma – a very dark area:dsc03563_2750

When the moon has risen about two hours later, it's a complete different situation. The shot below was captured with a 85mm lens on a full frame camera.

First Night of Shooting

The first shooting of the «Astromaster 2016» workshop took place in the south of La Palma, near Fuenacaliente: A wonderfull location, a clear night, some clouds in the distance and the moon rising at midnight. Our shooting ended after 3.00 in the morning, and classes continue after 4 hours of sleep…

The Island of La Gomera after Moonrise

About the project «Timelapse Plus»

This is a special blog about the project «Timelapse Plus».
I took five weeks off to reshape and augment my knowledge in time-lapse shooting. 
The project consists of three parts:
  • The «Astromaster 2016» workshop in La Palma starting the 21th September 2016. Here I want to learn more about the night sky and the skills to shoot photos and time lapses at night in high altitude. 
  • Visiting the hyper lapse master Geoff Tompkinson. During a private workshop I would like to refine my hyper lapse skills.
  • Rendering and editing two to three short time-lapse movies and publish them on my Vimeo account (and here as well too). 

During the coming weeks I will share some of the little adventures and learnings here in this special blog. So, if you’re interested, come back and have a look.

© Copyright 2018 by Jörg Niggli