The Challenges of Sunrise Harbor Hyperlapse / Timelapse Photography Shot With An iPhone
The above video is the “after processing” shot of processing the harbor hyperlapse sequence shot with the Osmo Mobile Gimbal and using the DJI Go App.
Because the light constantly changes during a sunrise and sunset, in a hyperlapse sequence it is often necessary to do post frame by frame processing to get the amazing results that are all too common now. Usually, the best time lapses are shot with DSLR cameras, and then processed in Lightroom and LRTimelapse to reduce flicker and optimize the image sequence. This time lapse, even though shot on an iPhone, also underwent this process, after breaking the original DJI Go App footage into individual frames.
Hyperlapse photography in general is a huge topic, and I won’t go into all the details in this post, but I do want to outline 3 things:
- A process that Osmo Mobile owners can follow to get similar results to the SDLR Hyperlapse Pros
- The tools used to do this
- The process outline to do this
Here is an example of what this video looked like coming straight from the iPhone using the DJI Go app. Pretty disappointing, uh?
Yeah, getting back from this shoot and previewing the footage, I again realized that hyperlapse sunrise videos need a lot of help, especially shot with an iPhone. The Osmo Mobile is an amazing device that produces great results in even lighting conditions, but there is a reason that the pros all use DSLRs to produce Hyperlapse and Timelapse videos. I think we can agree that post processing is a benefit and necessary?
Houston, We Have A Problem
What’s the issue with recording a hyperlapse on an iPhone using the DJO Go app?
Well, when shooting with a DSLR the output is usually 100s of digital negatives, which are then merged into a video file. With iPhone or Android using DJI Go, the output is already in video format. On the surface this seems like a good idea, however it is not: Your camera makes less than ideal exposure decisions while creating a hyperlapse. This is especially true during changing light conditions, such as clouds passing overhead, or filming transitions from day to night. A large portion of the video will be exposed incorrectly, or will have major distracting flickering effects.
So you really want to be able to process and correct each individual frame in a timelapse sequence, using the tools I outline below. This is why the iPhone video that is generated by the DJI Go app is not an ideal place to start, and needs to broken into its individual frame images for post-processing.
What Tools Are Needed For Post-Processing Of DJI Go App Videos
If you’d like to find out the process of creating iPhone based hyperlapse videos, read about the tools needed:
1.) Recording: DJI Osmo Mobile Gimbal
The DJI Osmo Mobile Gimbal does more than just stabilization. If you are using the DJI Go app with the gimbal, it can also “active-track” subjects automatically, leaving the operator to concentrate on smooth movements and perspective changes while keeping a moving target dead center in the frame. Therefore it can act as an automated camera man. An additional “cool” feature that other gimbals do not have is the ability to pre-program camera moves for a timelapse scene, resulting in hyperlapse videos that in the DSLR world take thousands of dollars worth of equipment to accomplish. Here are some resources on the DJI Osmo Gimbal:
2.) Recording: DJI Go App With Hyperlapse Automatic Pan Feature
The DJI Go mobile app controls the videos and gimbals in DJI drones, as well as the original Osmo gimbal which has it’s own built in camera.
As nice the the app is for using its unique active-track feature and hyperlapse features, there are often good reasons to shoot with other apps, while still enjoying the stabilization of the gimbal. For example, there are advanced movie making apps like “Filmic Pro” that offer much more advanced controls than either the built in or DJI video apps. Another common application for me is to use a teleprompter app that let me read out a script while recording myself for recording longer tutorial videos, my fave being “PromptSmart“. My favorite iPhone time-lapse generation app is called “Lapse It“, and again the capabilities outstrip the DJO go apps features.
However once it comes to auto-tracking and programmed panning, the DJI Go app is your best choice.
This tool takes a video file as input, and breaks it apart into individual frame images that can then be used to process the hyperlapse in a manner similar to a DSLR workflow. You can download this tool here.
4.) Processing: Lightroom
Adobe Lightroom is a photography cataloging and digital negative development tool, but in this instance it is used in conjunction with LRTimelapse to process professional looking timelapse videos. If you are a photographer and have not heard of or are not using Lightroom, then there is only one thing I can say: You should be:) Click to see a set of basic video tutorials on Lightroom and all of its functions.
5.) LRTimeLapse Lightroom Plugin Software
For a beginner tutorial on how the LRTimelapse process works, and how it integrates with Lightroom, click here. Warning, not for the faint of heart, but if you are passionate about improving the quality of your timelapse shots, it’s worth it.