As a nature doc timelapse cameraman I’ve done quite some timelapse transitions in the past, and it has been fun. Mostly 😉 At high production times, after a week in the field or more, one can get very exhausted and tired.
Typical scenario: While controlling the camera, you fall asleep in the morning just for some minute, only to wake up startled, realizing the transition is lost, underexposed at key frames! And then: processing. Man, have I spent weeks and months of my life processing just transition sequences over and over.
So I looked for alternatives – first some scenes can just not be repeated on location, and second, processing needs to be easier.
The best classic ramping tools (especially for Nikon) these days – I still enjoy doing and teaching them – are tools like DSLRdashboard with the LRTimelapse feature, and LRTimelapse itself, with it’s awesome Lightroom XMP keyframe ramping/grading features. And there are many more tools and gadgets on this emerging cinematic field.
However, I looked for a less Human-error sensitive, even less processing intensive solution. And found it: since many moons there is one system on the market, that outperforms all other solutions: Mike Posehn’s GBTimelapse (with EMOTIMO pan/tilt heads or DP MX controllers).
At start GBTimelapse may seem difficult and complex, and it’s Windows based. So you need either a Windows 8 Tablet, net- or notebook (i5 the least – Atom Processors are too slow) or preferably a MacBook Air 11″ or 13″ running Parallels – tough choice in the age of iPhones and Androids, but after a while using GBT with a MacBook Air, I love it.
GBT is so beautifully thought out in every detail parameter, it is stunning. It can be tweaked a lot, but on standard settings it already delivers stellar results. One thing is clear: Like LRTimelapse – but in a totally different way, Mike Posehn’s GBTimelapse is crafted by a timelapse master mind, and extremely powerful where it count’s most: excellent, flawless results and ease of post processing. Set the Parameters right and get the Machine going. It will do the magic. Especially used with Brian Burlings EMOTIMO head (tuned with GBT firmware), GBTimelapse performs outstanding.
This combo is perfect for demanding documentary filmmakers and timelapse creators. It creates flawless RAW footage, that is easy to process. What do you want more*.
Since I have spent enough days and nights at the workstations, processing transitions, I am happy, that these can now be processed much faster due to the flawless RAW sequences, which GBTimelapse creates. Sure, I still do some keyframe grading in LRTimelapse/Lightroom just for fun with GBTimelapse created sequences, but that’s it. No Auto Holy Grail processing needed, and that alone speeds up the process by a huge factor.
But now to a Key asset itself: As a long time fan of the AFS Nikkor 14-24/2.8 (best Contrast, Coma, Aberration and Sharpness performance – at Day or Night imaging, especially at open aperture) and many more Nikon G-Lenses, I wanted to use GBT’s legendary AutoRamp cine feature, introduced this summer.
Mike’s new Cine Auto Ramping enabled by either the EMOTIMO’s 3rd Axis control (or a DP MX2), enables perfect, GPS backed, sunset-sunrise ramping: Not only ISO and Shutter (extremely smooth with excellent bulb accuracy) are ramped throughout the transition, but also the APERTURE is ramped too. Deflickered and controlled in realtime via a very clever algorithm based on many years of refinement with GBDeflicker.
Furthermore, the timelapse in progress can be visually controlled at all times in GBT’s preview window – while the software is busy capturing images.
But Cine Ramping Nikon’s G-Lenses was not possible, yet. They lack an aperture ring, so I had to look for a solution. Samyang/Walimex/Rokinon Cine lenses weren’t, wide open they suffer strong light fall-off and are prone to be off-center from the shelf. I drafted several prototype sketches, called Novoflex and their engineering meticulously crafted a prototype for me.
Voila, and now here it is! The first Nikon G-Lens cine prototype adapter made by Novoflex, completing the rig, working out on the mountains whenever possible.
What was first a draft of an adapter cine interface on a piece of paper turned after a month into a great prototype. See the prototype in action in the Video below.
GBTimelapse / Emotimo Aperture Ramping with Nikon G-Lenses
– Windows 7
All the best
PS: *Less cables and an Android version?