Tuesday, June 26, 2012

GBTimelapse - Minimum Hardware for Expert Videography

People often ask me "What hardware do I need to run GBTimelapse?" Well, that depends on your situation. GBTimelapse is a powerful tool that's being used by all kinds of folks. Pros are using the software for feature films and network TV, sometimes with incredible lenses that cost the same amount as a house, and sometimes with a very basic setup. The great news is that you can get amazing time-lapse results with a simple, portable and inexpensive setup.

If you want to capture quality time-lapse on a budget, please read on. I'll show you the specs of my minimum system. It's low cost, low weight, and low complexity - but can still deliver near "holy grail" time-lapse results.

"Minimum Hardware for Expert Results" System Specs:

ComputerASUS EeePC 1025 netbook (~$300)

Weight: 2.5 lbs

OS: Windows 7 Starter, 32-bit


Hard drive: 100GB

Processor: Atom 1.6GHz, four cores

USB: 3 USB 2.0 ports
CameraCanon 7D
LensCanon 10-22mm zoom
FilterHoya 9-stop
OtherTripod and ball head

About the computer:

ASUS claims a 12 hour battery life for the model 1025 netbook. So far, I have only run it for four hours in the field but still had plenty of battery life left.

It's not a very fast machine, so it takes longer to download and process RAW images. It can capture full-sized RAW images in about a 12 second interval. I can get the interval down to 6 seconds by setting GBTimelapse to only display RAW thumbnails during a time-lapse.

About the camera & filter:

I recommend a wide angle zoom like the Canon 10-22mm lens and a very dark neutral density filter like the Hoya 9-stop. With this combination, I can use a bulb time of one second in daylight at f/4.5 and ISO 100.
After sunset when the bulb time has increased to 16-seconds and the ISO to 3200, I can remove the filter and continue on in bulb-mode to capture the night sky.

Check out the demo:

The video below walks you through the system. You can get good results with this minimal hardware, of course, if you use a more powerful laptop, camera or lenses, the results will be even better. Check out the demo..