5 Replies Latest reply on Sep 18, 2016 5:35 PM by michaeldemello

    Hyperlapse and frame blending question.


      I'm hoping someone can point me to the right resources here.  I've an interest in motion controlled time-lapse over the past 3 years.  Now moving into hyper lapse.  I've started using After Effects at a basic level.  What i now need is a technique to create hyper lapse from a video sequence.  I've seen this done by Rufus Blackwell, who frame blends each 2 seconds of video into single frames which are then incorporated into the time-lapse.  Is there any resource here which could get me started?  Many thanks. Tony.

        • 1. Re: Hyperlapse and frame blending question.
          TriciaLawrence Adobe Employee

          Hi there, I've moved your question to the After Effects forum where the experts can answer this.

          • 2. Re: Hyperlapse and frame blending question.
            Rick Gerard Adobe Community Professional & MVP

            There are lots of ways to do what I think you are referring to as Hyperlapse. Hyperlapse is actually an app from Instagram and some development from Microsoft that helps smooth out time-lapse shots when the camera is moving in the scene. I'm not talking panning, I'm talking a dolly move, like if you put the camera on your car and drove through the mountains.


            Hyperlapse from Instagram uses the accelerometer in your smart device (phone - iPad) to try and keep the horizon steady. I have it. It's does an absolutely amazing job of giving you great Hyperlapse shots. There is no frame blending. If you were to try and blend multiple frames into one without adding in some tracking data to match up fixed geometry like the horizon you would end up with a mess.


            Microsoft Research is working on frame analysis that smooths out shake camera time lapse. Read more here: First-person Hyperlapse Videos


            With the tools that are built into AE you can Warp Stabilize – smooth out hand held shots – providing you are careful with the hand held shots and you include enough fixed geometry for the software to figure out where the horizon is supposed to be. The problem with time lapse is that if you shoot one frame every 10 seconds while the camera is moving there's going to be too much of a change to track. If you shoot at a more normal frame rate, let's say 12 fps and you then speed up the playback by using Time Warp, Time Stretch or by doing something like interpreting the footage as 3 fps footage and putting it in a 24 fps comp then you can use Pixel motion or Frame blending but in most cases, if there is a lot of movement in the camera you'll end up with a mess. There are 3rd party plug-ins that can help solve the problem of smoothing out the shot but you should not expect AE to to a great job on most hand held or driving through the mountains shots because there is no built in motion tracking to frame blending or pixel motion that will accurately figure out where the horizon is supposed to be.


            The frame blending that Rufus Blackwell does is either shot on a very stable mount or shot with a stabilized camera to eliminate most of the problems associated with the where's the horizon problem.


            I guess what I'm saying is that AE would be a suitable tool to try and do some of that kind of time-lapse but you will only be successful if you take the time to really learn how time-lapse works and invest in the gear and the time necessary to grab shots that can be successfully processed.


            I've shot a lot of time lapse over the years. The most complicated piece I ever shot was on the east side of Glacier National Park near Chief mountain. We packed in about 12 miles on horses in the fall and set up a camera position at the location by mixing up some concrete and setting a fixed mounting point in the forrest. In the spring, as soon as we could get through the snow, we packed back in with a modified 35mm Mitchell camera and a motorized gear driven head and started filming a time-lapse sequence where the camera followed the sun from sunrise to sunset. The shutter was open for several seconds. Exposure was controlled by neutral density filters. The lens was set to f11 for all sunny days. We went back every two weeks until November when we couldn't get through the snow. The entire sequence was cut together and optically printed so you could see the sun rise, the snow melt, the wild flowers bloom, the leaves turn gold and the snow cover the sound again. On one of the trips a surveyor accompanied us and mapped the foreground accurately so we could build a green screen stage. We got a trained bear to walk through the shot and composited the bear in so that it looked like the bear was walking through the shot. The entire sequence lasted 90 seconds. The production tool 22 months. The long exposure and motion controlled camera make the shot work. I did this in the 1980's way before camera tracking and digital compositing. It was crazy and unfortunately it only aired one time on National Public Television as an open for a documentary. I do not have a copy of the final product but I do have 10 rolls of 35mm negative in my archives. Maybe someday I'll get the film scanned and recreate the project.

            • 3. Re: Hyperlapse and frame blending question.
              tonys1954 Level 1

              Hi Rick.

              Many thanks for your response - there's a lot of good material in there for me to use, and it's very much appreciated.


              I've been using a Stage One dolly, EOS 5D III, plus eMotimo for much of my semi-static time lapses, and discovered After Effects as a means of removing wind-induced wobble in the final clips.  I'm familiar with introducing tracking points, but i wouldn't say i'm proficient in their use just yet.  I did experiment with the plugin Lock and Load, but found it seemed to bring FCP X to a grinding halt, so i removed it.  As you can probably tell by now, i'm perhaps not the most technically adept when it comes to making this transition from stills to the world of video!  It does fascinate me though, and i'm determined to crack it.


              I then started to experiment a bit with hyper lapses, and quickly realised that a conventional DSLR setup won't work outdoors, with uneven ground.  I naively assumed that After Effects would, somehow help with stability issues.  The only reasonable clips i have are from a fairly level surface, some of which use tracking points.


              Around 3 weeks ago, i came across a Saigon Hyperlapse from Rufus Blackwell, who used a stabilised camera from DJI (the Osmo) to produce some impressive results.  Some of the street shots were bicycle-mounted.  He (somehow) used frame blending to condense 2 second clips of video into single frames which were then re-rendered back to video with a very nice element of motion blur, and i feel this is something i'd like to explore, though i don't (yet) know how to achieve this.  I have the use of a friend's Osmo for a few weeks, and i'm itching to give it a go.


              A few days ago, whilst driving, i had the idea that the stuff i'm playing around with right now wouldn't have been possible in my early, film-based days.  To hear of what you were doing in the 1980's really made me smile.  It also made me realise just how much knowledge there is "Out there".


              Once again, thank you for taking the time to respond.


              Best regards,



              TONY STEPHENSON

              • 4. Re: Hyperlapse and frame blending question.

                Hi Tony! Saw the same video by Rufus and had the same question. Did you ever end up finding out how to easily do the 2-second video frame condensing?

                • 5. Re: Hyperlapse and frame blending question.

                  A little late to the party here. Lol. The "Saigon" hyper lapse from Rufas was pretty awesome. Using footage from a gimbal like the osmo which he used, you can use the time warp effect in AE to control the speed and motion blur (By shutter which you can set to 180 degrees). The key is to have very stable footage to begin with because you won't be able to use warp stabilizer on top of the time warp. You could manually stabilize (tracking), but that would take forever to do frame by frame. If you take photos and not video then the warp stabilizer works like a charm as long as you have descent to good technique while shooting. Good luck!