parts of this posting are also posted in the TimeScapes Forum
On Saturday Juli 25 2009 in the evening I started a timelapse shoot of the sky from a 7.5 meter high pole standing besides my house.
The day after, just a couple of hours before the end of a full 24 hour timelapse, I had to stop the shoot because it started to rain :-(
Despite the missing hours I am pleased about the result.
In the link below you can see the timelapse (image 1), the photos of the setup (images 2 to 5) and an interactive 360x92 degree panorama created from of one the 2520 source frames (image 6).
largest size, 700x700 px movie (29 MB):
smallest size, 480x480 px movie (12 MB):
Some notes about the timelapse:
If you know something about astronomy I guess you can recognize some star constellations in the night images.
The orange light from the clouds in the night images is reflecting light from the petrochemical industries at a distance of 25 km to the NorthEast (industries at the "Botlek" and "Maasvlakte").
The part early in the morning is a little boring but at 2/3 of the movie the scene becomes interesting, it is clear to see how different layers of air are moving in totally different directions, it is a really weird view.
Some notes about the hardware and software:
The camera with Sigma8 lens is mounted on a NN5 panohead, the swingarm is set in a vertical position and the camera is shifted as close as possible to the upper rotator to get the lens in front of the rotator.
BTW, when using a normal tripod instead of a high pole I turn the swingarm in an upwards vertical position and then I position the camera as close as possible to the end of the swingarm to gain some height.
The carton board around the lens is to protect the camera body for overheating by sunlight and to give some protection against rain.
My Canon cameras are supplied with software to do remote and time controlled shooting with a USB cable, this cable is also supplied with the camera.
With the EOS Utility software it was easy to shoot the images with an interval of 31 seconds(*), hour after hour.
With thousands of full size images you get storage problems with a normal memory card so therefore I transfered and stored them on the HD of the computer, this is also done via the USB cable.
The supplied USB cable is to short for a high pole so I made some extensions cables from old cables (extension cables are also for sale on eBay) and with an old USB hub I could get it working over a distance of approx. 7 meter
The only problem when doing long timelapses with so many shoots is the camera battery power, when the camera is placed at groundlevel manual replacing of the battery isn't a problem but at more then 7 meter it is so therefore I equiped the camera with a DC power supply insert.
Some notes about the workflow:
When the shoot was done I batch processed all images are in Photoshop to remove color fringing, to sharpen the image a little, to make a circular crop and to downsize the images to 700x700px.
In QuickTime Player I imported and output all images as compressed movies. The height of the default web movie output option is 480px, but the player can export in any size with the other options.
For the 700x700px movie I chose a custom setup with H264 encoding and a bitrate of 2500.
I embedded the movies, the images of the setup and the single shot pano in HTML files with Pano2VR and some customized HTML templates.
Some notes about a future timelapse:
I am planning to do another timelapse shoot next month around August 13 when a swarm of meteors from our solar system, coming from a position in the neighbourhood of the "Perseids" (**) is crossing the path of the earth and many of those rocks from space will burn up in the atmosphere of the earth.
See for more info: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Perseids
When there are no clouds it is a beautiful sight to see those "falling stars" coming down at an average rate of one per minute and with an exposure time of 20 seconds per shot it will be easy to capture the hot burning tracks in the sky.
I hope you enjoy the timelapse and I hope it inspires you to do more with your Nodal Ninja panohead and your fisheye lens.
Keep in mind that you don't need a full frame sensor camera and that you don't need a high pole to make a great timelapse so I hope you will grab your gear, hook it to your computer and start shooting your own fine timelapse movie.
And don't forget to place it online ;-)
(*) Due to a small error of the software there is an offset of 1 second between the set and the actual interval, so the set time of 30 seconds produced an interval of 31 seconds.
Next time I will set the timer to 29 seconds to workaround the small error.
I was not aware of the offset error until I added the date/time in the images with IrfanView
(**) Updated the info about the meteor shower