Set Up a Motion Day-to-Night Traffic Timelapse with This Easy to Follow Technique

The award winning cameraman and photographer Mark Thorpe recently teamed with the creators of the Syrp Genie Mini to produce another insightful tutorial this time on creating a staggering motion day to night urban time-lapse videos. For those of you who are not aware of Genie Mini, it’s a tiny motion control device that can enhance your time-lapse photography or real-time video by adding either panning or linear camera movements to your shots. As for the extensive video below, you will find everything from scouting for the best place to capture a dynamic urban time-lapse to setting up your equipment, including motion control as well as how to take your freshly shot time-lapse through the editing process in Adobe Lightroom and LR Timelapse Pro.

One of the most serious challenges that you will come across when shooting a day to night time-lapse is getting the optimal white balance of your camera. As Mark Thorpe explains, shooting predominantly at 3300K is probably the sweet spot as by utilising this setting you will instantly eliminate some of the unpleasant yellow and orange tints produced by the common urban street lights.


The next step of the process is nailing your focus, formatting your card and enabling the Raw mode of your camera. Once your camera is set up and ready to shoot its time to pair your iPhone Genie app with the Syrp Genie Mini and the camera itself. The best part is that the Genie app has a simple user-friendly interface that is quite intuitive to navigate and set up. Just dial the desired Rec Time, Play Time and the Interval settings first.

Then, by utilising the motion control of Syrp Genie Mini you can set the live preview of your time-lapse motion so that it will be easier for you to evaluate your framing accordingly. To achieve the desired blurred lines effect mostly typical for urban time-lapse videos you should set your camera shutter speed between 2.5 and 5 seconds.

Finally, hit the record button on the app and wait for the time-lapse to run its course. The secret of the process is maintaining your correct exposure throughout the actual time-lapse shooting. All in all, you need to manually ramp up the shutter speed and ISO between each shot to keep up the optimal exposure just as shown in the tutorial above.


In the second part of the video, Mark showcases his in-depth post-production workflow in Adobe Lightroom and LR Timelapse Pro as he walks us through the process of creating keyframes and  synchronising all the required settings in LRTimelapse Pro along with de-flickering and exporting of time-lapse images in the final stage of the workflow.

If the video tutorial is not enough, here are Mark’s top 5 tips to help you get started:

  •   Vision comes before gear. The best camera won’t make you better but your vision of how to present a scene, irrespective of the tools you use, will allow people to fully appreciate your talent.
  • Be mindful of others. You are out to get your shot, but don’t do so at the expense of others who may already be set up in the location.
  • If working in a Green area or particularly with wildlife to please respect that area, don’t leave trash or damage it just to facilitate your prese nce and sequence.
  •  Always be honest with yourself and your abilities. A lot of people push personal endurance and safety limits these days to get those extreme shots. Know your limits and shoot just to the precipice of them. Don’ t put yourself, or others, at any greater risk than you have to.
  • Be Humble, you may have shot the spots off of the world’s best time-lapse sequence, but there will always be someone snapping at your heels.

Happy shooting!

[source: Syrp]

B&H Links:

Syrp Genie Mini Panning Motion Control System – $ 249.00

Syrp 2-Axis Genie Mini Motion Control Kit – $ 587.00

Amazon Links:

Syrp Genie Mini Panning Motion Control System – $ 249.00

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