Auto Exposure Ramped Timelapse: The Holy Grail
Day-to-night or night-to-day transition timelapses are often referred to as “Holy Grail” timelapses. For timelapses like these, the exposure needs to be adjusted continuously as the lighting conditions slowly change. Since you can’t (or rather shouldn’t) touch the camera while shooting a timelapse to minimize unwanted movements and flickering, external hardware (often a computer with a certain software) is usually necessary. The Unleashed revolutionizes this process. It does the exposure ramping completely automatically for you, while being so small you don’t even notice it on your camera. Here’s how to set up automatic exposure ramping with the Unleashed:
1. Go to the app menu and tap AUTO RAMP.
2. The top area of the screen shows a summary of the camera’s current settings. You can change them by tapping on that area to see the detailed camera settings.
3. In the center area you can set the interval i.e. in what frequency a photo should be taken, and the duration i.e. how long you want to shoot for.
4. With “Algorithm” you set how the settings adjustments should be calculated:
EV meter Smoothing 24:
Reads the exposure meter value before each photo, but smoothes it over several photos and then sets the values of the camera (which must be in M mode!) each in third f-stops after. In our experience, the camera’s light meter is very good, but not very consistent, especially in darker scenes. Smoothing the values compensates for flickering in the timelapse, and setting in 1/3 fades produces a transition that’s as smooth as possible.
LRTimlapse.com Sunrise / Sunset (beta):
An algorithm developed by Gunther Wegner of LRTimelapse.com. Calculates a weighted average luminance value from the histogram of a photo. The algorithm tries to keep this value constant and adjusts the camera in third f-stops when exceeding or falling below the limits.
LRT modified Sunrise / Sunset (beta):
A Foolography modified version of the algorithm developed by Gunther Wegner (LRTimelapse.com). With this algorithm, the histogram is normalized so that the values do not distort when there are strong changes in brightness (e.g., a lamp is turned on).
With the LRT algorithms you’ll need to choose in advance if it will be a sunset or sunrise timelapse. With the EV-meter Smoothing 24h this is not necessary so you can create day-to-night-to-day or 24h timelapses.
The values are changed in the following order:
Sunsets or darker scenes: shutter speed, then aperture, then ISO. For sunrises the order is reversed.
5. “Day” and “Night” lets you set the minimum and maximum limits for shutter speed, aperture and ISO. The app’s recommended default values are shown in bold letters.
6. Tap “Adjust” to manually adjust exposure. This setting allows you to make adjustments mid-timelapse, if you find that the photos are coming out too under- or overexposed for your liking. Dial in the adjustment and the Unleashed will then smoothly incorporate the change in exposure over the next photos taken.
One of the best things about the Unleashed is that your phone doesn’t even need to stay connected while your timelapse is running. Once you setup an interval shot/timelapse, you can leave the app, go out of range, switch your phone off etc. and the Unleashed will continue taking photos as set in the app. The smarts are all built into the Unleashed. Once you’re back into range or reconnect, you will see the updated process of the timelapse in the Unleashed app.