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Stacking for Macro Time Lapse

Posted: 16.05.2019 21:01
by dfwjr1973
I am currently experimenting with macro time lapse videos... Like seeds growing. I wanted to use Helicon Remote and Helicon Focus to perform the picture taking, storing in a folder, and then have Focus monitor that folder to automatically combine the stacks and store the result in a separate folder to then process in LRTimeLapse and Lightroom.

Camera: Canon 7D, Canon EF 180 mm /3,5 L USM, extender tube

So, one easy suggestion for the Helicon Focus SW. For the "Folder Monitor" utility, you have the option of setting a time to separate the stacks. Can you also make it function, like you have in batch mode, of selecting that the stacks are in sub directories? Then you don't have to fiddle with finding the right time to accurately define the stacks which are already nicely sorted in sub folders...

And now for the maybe not so easy one...

For stacking images used in a Time Lapse, any differences in the processing the blend mask from one stack to the next will give this stutter "earthquake" effect... I set up the system to shoot wide open (3.5), with a stack of 6 shots in 4 stop increments. This gave me a nice clear focus in the middle of the shot with several mm (later I even tried 12 shots in 2 stop increments as I still noticed some parts of the "in focus" part not in focus, but without any better result regarding the "shake").

You can see this "Shake" in the video here:

The combination of images into a video was done in the LRTimelapse and LR workflow... This typically produces a really nice time lapse macro video when I don't stack.

Example here:

This was done with a home built Arduino timer controller that manually triggered the camera every 3 minutes using a remote trigger cable.

I am not sure if this can be overcome, but one idea I had was giving a selection in the batch process action, and also in the folder monitor action, where you can check "Time Lapse Stacks". This would then tell Helicon Focus to keep the blend masks the same either throughout all the stacks, or it would compare the blend masks from one shot to the next and only change in areas where there is a difference of a set amount, or something... Like compare the masks and if an area changes more than 25%, use the new blend mask in that area...

Some way to make it so that stacks (or areas in the stack) which do not change much don't "shake"...

I had to go back to setting the aperture to 22, do the DOF preview trick and "untwisting" the lens to disconnect the electrical connection to make it a manual lens with a fixed aperture of 22...

Just some suggestions. I am really enjoying the software and am looking forward to getting my FB Tube in the mail and trying it in the field on my next holiday to Spain. Thanks for the great tools!