Timelapses and video

Last week we where hiking in the Swedish mountains and as usual I brought the camera and a GorillaPod. Earlier this summer I saw Sean Stiegemeiers amazing timelapse from Iceland and got interested in creating these kinds of videos. One of the evenings we had some really nice clouds coming in over us and passing some peaks closeby. I put up the camera and shot a number of sequences. Found out that I could generate timelapses directly from Lightroom(following Sean McCormack on Twitter) so started experimenting with it. I wanted to merge several of them into one video and the only video editing tool I have is iMovie or Windows Movie Maker. I decided to use iMovie since I have used it mostly lately. Here is the result.

Doing this and converting another video also shot earlier this summer I learned a number of things that I wanted to share.

  1. When making timelapses take many photos!
    In a video a second or two is a very short clip and aim for 24 frames per second so if you want a 10 second clip, you have to take 240 photos!
  2. Black first frame?
    The generated videos from Lightroom all have a first black frame. I do not know how to turn that off but neither have I found anyone having this issue. When I imported the videos to iMovie it didnt become a problem but it might be due to the cross fading transitions I use.
  3. Compression settings. What are good values and how do you avoid getting a 500 Mb file?
    The details is of course very depending on which software you use but in general it should apply to any. In iMovie you have a couple of options. The one that I have noticed influences the file size the most is the maximum bitrate. Of course Quality is a major factor but if you want high quality but not huge size then its the bitrate. After googling a bit I found out that for a 720p movie 6Mbit/s is good. You could go a bit lower but I tired 4.5 Mbit/s and saw some compression artifacts that I didn’t wanted. The rest of the settings I left on default, see image below.

Creating your own engine for Lightroom galleries

I have been pondering creating my own plugin for generating web galleries of my photos for some time but this weekend I took the time! I have been looking around at different solutions and both Highslide Gallery from The Turning Gate and Elegance from Photographer’s Toolbox are both clean and uses CSS and JavaScript. But they both had a number of issues I didn’t like. The main problem with elegance is that someone with a large display cannot really enjoy the photos since they do not scale, and someone on a small screen can’t see the whole photo. TTG Highslide lacked a few other features,no way to change the controls to small white icons instead of text, no way to place the controls above the enlarged image, no numbers in the heading, unable to remove the thumbstrip when viewing the enlarged images and not possible to constrain the size of the popup so it does not resize depending on image.

But HighSlide which TTG HighSlide is based on is extremly re-configurable and you can fix all of those issues. Specifically easy to do since it also has a very nice visual editor!

Though to use my own modified version required me to write my own web engine. It was very easy to get started with the aid of the Lightroom SDK. With the tutorials in the manual one can create a new web engine in minutes. On the other hand it was not that easy to integrate with Highslide. But after a couple of hours I now have a working version which I’m satisfied with at the moment. I used the Highslide editor to create a how I wanted the enlarged photos and navigation to look like. I downloaded the zip file from the editor, copied it into my new lrwebengine folder. Created a new index.html file and copied all from the highslide-custom-example.html into it. All new styles etc I put into a new gallery.css file. Once I had got a look I liked the next step was to take it appart and but into header.html, footer.html and grid.html. 

Then it was bout time to start tweaking the manifest and the galleryInfo files to do what I wanted. One of the things I have not liked with the default galleries is the odd folders they put photos in. But in Lightroom Blog I found out how to control where the web engine store photos.

I ran into some more small problems, related to Lua since I had never written any programs in Lua before. Programming in LUA was useful! Also looking into the LightroomForums.Net was helpful for more Lightroom and plugin related problems.

I have not added support for LiveUpdate yet since that required some more JavaScripting.

Things to improve:

  • change the size of the enlarged photo
  • change the colour of the background for the enlarged photo
  • change font and size for Title, Description, Image number and Caption
  • change number of coloumns
  • change page background colour and thumbnails layout
  • add support for live update
  • add support for facebook comments?

If you want to create your own Highslide gallery or based on some other library you can download my files here. I have not included the Highslide files since they are not totally free and you need to agree to the license before using them.

How to use the Holux M-241 with Lightroom

I brought my Holux M-241 on our last hike in the Swedish mountains and wanted to use the tracks to geotag all photos. So when I got home I used the Holux Utility software to download all tracks. Worked fine and I uploaded all to WikiLoc but when then to geocode all the images in Ligthroom I tried to use Jeffrey Friedls GeoEncoding plugin but realised it couldn’t handle the kml files. After some fiddling around I found out that the timestamps where missing in the kml files.

After some googling I found out what options to use on GPSBabel to get it working. It was mentioned here.

gpsbabel -p “” -w -i gnav_trl -f “OLDFILE.trl” -o gpx -F “NEWFILE.gpx”

So using those options with all the different trl-files I got from the unit I managed to create one gpx file that Jeffrey’s excellent plugin could manage. Then I used Jeffrey’s other plugin to upload all the photos to Flickr where they can be viewed on a map!

Next time I’ll try to use the built in functionality of GPSBabel to download data directly from the Holux M-241. In the same thread it was mentioned one should do:
Windows (if on COM10): gpsbabel -t -r -w -i m241 -f COM10 -o gpx -F data.gpx
though have not tried it yet.

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How to print from Lightroom?

Today I should print a number of photos for a friend. So I thought I should give Lightroom a try and I was close to give up when I finally solved it…

This great guide from Steves digicams solved it for me. Basically what I had missed earlier was when disabling the ICM I still had “Photo” chosen as type, it shall be “None”. I also had some effect settings as well but once everything was deselected it worked like a sharm!

In the Canon ICC Profile Guide you can find out what kind of papers the different profiles are for:
MP = Matte paper
PR = Photo Paper Pro
SP = Photo Paper Plus Glossy

Thats about it!

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Create HDR, Panoramas and add annotation texts in Lightroom

Heard Martin Bailey talk about LR2Mogrify today and downloaded it to try it out and at the same time discovered LR/Enfuse:

  • LR2/Mogrify for adding borders and notations to your exported photos from LightRoom.
  • LR/Enfuse with which one can make panoramas and HDR photos from within LightRoom.

I installed both and seems to work though need to test more. Nice that it existed a 64-bit version of ImageMagick that worked nicely with LR2/Mogrify and for LR/Enfuse I noticed Timothy Armes tip where to download Enfuse and align_image_stack was not correct. Though just go to the Hugin project website and download and install the latest release and it works!

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