I've learnt a new trick when it comes to creating a time lapse video of the moon, which I tried out on one evening at twilight, with a cratered crescent moon as a subject.
The problem with moon time lapse shooting is that, even using a long 400mm zoom lens, the moon appears quite small in the frame, with those delightful surface details rendered so small you can't really see them.
So in order to make the moon appear a decent size in the final video, it's necessary to fit the 6K resolution still images my camera is capturing into a standard HD1080p frame, then the moon at 100% magnification looks a much better size and you can clearly see the craters.
Normally I would shoot RAW files to create a time lapse, using the rich data contained in an unconverted RAW file to allow some pretty radical editing of the individual images before compiling the final video.
But the problem with shooting continuous RAW files however, is that my camera's internal memory buffer can only cope with a maximum frame rate of one frame every two seconds before the system clogs up and the frame rate becomes much slower and erratic, no good for making a smooth time lapse.
Also, at a RAW image frame rate of two seconds, the moon tracks across my 1080p video frame way too quickly, with quite a noticeable stutter as it moves across the screen.
So to overcome the dilemma of the moon either being too small to see clearly in a 4K+ resolution video, or moving too fast and jerkily in a 1080p resolution video, I decided to ditch my obession with RAW files on this occasion and shoot full sized JPEGs instead.
This allowed me to shoot at a much higher rate of around 4 frames per second with no issues around my camera's memory buffer filling up, but still gave me thousands of 6K images to use to create my final 1080p video.
And so long as I was careful not to to overexpose the moon, the JPEG quality was fine for the video I wanted to compile.
So I ended up with this time lapse, showing a large, clearly cratered moon, tracking smoothly and slowly across a darkening twilight sky.
OK, so it's not 4K, which is a bit of a shame, but the moon still looks great at 1080p resolution!
Filename - moon crescent timelapse 01
Camera - Canon EOS 6DMK2
Lens (1st sequence) - 100-400mm zoom @ 375mm, (2nd sequence) - 100-400mm zoom @ 375mm
Exposure (start of shoot) - 1/25 sec @ f/5.6, ISO100, (end of shoot) - 1/25 sec @ f/5.6, ISO100
Filters - None.
Shooting interval - approx 4 frames per second.
Location - Buckley, North Wales
Video processing - Adobe Lightroom and Adobe Premiere Pro
This clip - HD 720p, 30fps (1080p HD format also available)
Clip duration - 50 seconds
All content copyright © Howard Litherland 2009-2021 unless otherwise stated.