Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Fast Moving Clouds

The clouds have been great lately... big, white, puffy clouds with blue skies. I went up to the kids old playhouse that I built years ago on our backyard hillside (they are adults now... and the playhouse is getting rickety!) because I get a less obstructed view of the sky. Here's what the sky looked like as viewed out of the playhouse window.
As I was skywatching I noticed how quickly the clouds were moving. It gave me the idea to shoot a series of photos and try to make a short time lapse video of the cloud movement. Keep in mind I'm a total amateur... based on my 15 minutes of internet research, it takes a lot of practice and know-how to make a good quality video (notice how I am setting your expectations low at this point?!). Anyway, I set the camera and wide angle lens on a sturdy tripod and pointed it out of the playhouse window. I programmed it to take one photo every minute for an hour (60 pics total). Then I used Windows Movie Maker (free software that came on my PC) to show the pics in sequence. The program allows you to adjust the total length of time to show the sequence of photos. For example, if I selected 10 seconds, it was nice and smooth but the clouds were moving very fast and it's an ultra-short video! I tried a few different speeds, and landed on 24 seconds. This makes the video choppy, but I like the speed of the cloud movement (click on Full Screen mode on lower right to view).
Music credit:  Wilco, "Company in my Back"
What did I learn from this experience?
  • Shoot in jpeg (not raw, which is what I always shoot for traditional photos). You have to convert everything over to jpeg, which is a pain.
  • The one-minute interval was too long, and 60 photos is not enough, to make a decent quality video. May be a 10 or 15 second interval, and 600 photos? I don't know, but hope to experiment more in the future!
If anyone reading this has any advice, I'm all ears, and would love to hear from you!

33 comments:

  1. What a neat idea! The video is fantastic. These were awesome clouds to try this experiment. I think you did great!

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  2. Cool video! Nice view from the tree house.

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  3. Those clouds look so perfect in the picture, almost not even real!

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  4. I have no advice - but I do have admiration - that is fantastic- I might try something like that sometime.

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  5. I thought the first photo was a painting to start with then I read what you did. An excilent first attemt I must say. All I have ever dine was a slide show
    http://forgottenfairmile.blogspot.co.uk/2013/07/video-tribute.html

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    1. Thanks, Bill. Took a look at your slide show. Moving and very well done!!

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  6. Very nice experiment. I like it how on the photo the whole landscape looks like walked out of a fairytale or a part of a model train landscape. Well done.

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  7. That top photo is a TOP PHOTO!


    ALOHA from Honolulu
    ComfortSpiral

    =^..^= <3

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  8. Stunning! I remember being awed at moving clouds when I was a kid.

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  9. Very cool! Liked your experiment very much and look forward to more.

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  10. Lovely idea and the first photograph is like a painting..My entry for skywatch is here http://www.lakshmisharath.com/2014/04/04/birding-diaries-yellow-footed-green-pigeon-coorg/

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  11. Great ideea! The video is awesome.

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  12. Che bella foto... sembra una cartolina....
    Buona domenica :)
    Myriam

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  13. Pretty capture of the clouds. I loved the video, the clouds were moving fast..Have a happy weekend!

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  14. It looks like a classic painting. Sometimes the clouds stop me in place but by the time I go in the house to get my camera, the view is lost.

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  15. I do love those clouds!! So beautiful! Great video!! Thanks for sharing!! Hope you have a fun weekend! Enjoy!

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  16. Great video. Awesome clouds.
    Thanks for dropping by:)
    www.womenandperspectives.com/2014/04/sky-watch-gray-sky-above-hotel.html

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  17. how fun. I have never tried it. Maybe I should. :)

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  18. Hello; OMG; I enjoyed the video! Amazing to see the clouds moving fast through video.
    Lots of Love and hugs from Japan, xoxo Miyako*

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  19. Beautiful sky and the video really helps to show how fast the clouds were moving.

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  20. I love your big ole fat fluffy clouds and your video. I also think you are sandbagger. You may be an amateur but you are talented and very skilled and not afraid to experiment.

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  21. Neat, I love time lapse, very cool view!! I recently bought a gopro and it have a built in timer from 5 to 60 seconds, which makes time lapse very easy. I've taken 12 hour time lapses at 60 seconds (700+ photos!). Here are a couple examples

    http://2zars.com/photoblog/snow-time-lapse/ (12+ hours, every 60 seconds)
    http://2zars.com/photoblog/old-school/ (15 minutes every 5 seconds)

    The speed of motion determines the frequency of time between photos. Those clouds are moving quickly, so 5-15 sec would be good. You also might want to lower the resolution of the jpeg images to keep the file size down.

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  22. Thanks for sharing your gorgeous photos and the tutorial as well, there is so much to learn about photography

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  23. This is a cool movie you have made.
    I usually take pics in jpeg mode for saving space, but raw images have better quality comparatively.

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  24. I always appreciate your creativity and looking to challenge yourself photography wise AND for share your findings. The sky was awesome last week wasn't it. FYI I'm heading back out to JT for a day trip Wed with a friend to shoot the wild flowers before there gone.

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  25. I don't know much about video. I've only done a little with it and I've used iMovie but not much. Every time I open it I get confused and have to relearn it!

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  26. wow - that is some playhouse for the kids!! Great video; you did it well

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  27. Nice. I first thought it to be a painting

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