Friday, November 14, 2014

Wild Turkey Parade - BTS with GBTimelapse Automatic Unattended Operation

There are times when you need to capture an event, but you can’t spare the time to be there every day. If you can place your camera in a secure location, you can use GBTimelapse to capture the images automatically. It can start and stop at set times each day and automatically adjust the exposure for flicker-free capture.

Here’s a behind the scenes look at how I used GBTimelapse to capture the daily “Wild Turkey Parade“ across our property.

I placed a camera in an upstairs window with a view of the turkey’s daily route. I used a Bower 24mm manual lens with the aperture constant at f/5.6 to prevent any aperture flicker and I draped the back of the camera with a black cloth to block any window reflections.

I needed a wide angle lens to cover the unpredictable turkey wandering, but the full wide angle image included a bright sky and foreground.

To get the correct exposure in the middle ground, I used GBTimelapse’ new luminance region option. Instead of calculating the histogram over the full frame, you can specify an arbitrary sub-rectangle for the histogram. Here you can see the region I set to eliminate the sky and foreground. This guaranteed a proper exposure of the middle ground regardless of how bright the sky was. 

Because I was capturing large/fine jpegs with at 5760x3840, I was able to crop down to 1280x720 in After Effects and pan as the turkeys wandered across the full frame.

The turkeys start their parade just before dawn, but the sunrise time changes rapidly in the fall at this latitude. So, I set the GBTimelapse program to start every day at 25 minutes before dawn and to run for 30 minutes.

My initial exposure at that time before sunrise was about 2 seconds, f/5.6 and ISO 100. Each day was different because of the different cloud cover and lighting, but GBTimelapse AutoRamp would settle on a good exposure in just a few frames.

By using bulb mode, I was guaranteed to get smooth exposure changes with no Tv stepping as the scene brightened by more than 4 f-stops over the 30-minute period.

I set the GBTimelapse AutoRamp parameters to keep the bulb time between 1 and 2 seconds. Each time GBTimelapse adjusted the bulb time down to 1 second, it would halve the ISO and double the bulb time back to 2 seconds.

A 4 second interval with a 2 second exposure gave a nice “180 degree shutter” look to the video instead of the choppy look from a shorter exposure.

This may not be the most interesting video, but the techniques I used are very powerful!

For our professional clients...the ability to run automatically can greatly increase your productivity. You should consider it the next time you can place a camera in a secure location.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

GBTimelapse 3.10 - Now with 3-axis eMotimo TB3 Control

Looking to achieve the time-lapse "holy grail" with your motion control gear?  You are in luck!  GBTimelapse 3.10 has added several features focused on achieving the elusive sunset, sunrise and overnight "holy grail."  Read on!

New Master/Slave Modes

GBT version 3.10 adds several new Master/Slave modes. These new modes enable you to get GBT’s Holy Grail AutoRamp power with virtually any motion control device!

As an added bonus, GBT 3.10 also...
  • Adds even greater compatibility with the eMotimo TB3 Black.
  • Adds the ability to synchronize multiple cameras connected on multiple computers (more about this in future posts).

New eMotimo Slave/TB3 mode features

  • Uses third axis for slider control (Rhino, Dynamic Perception or any other stepper).
  • Uses TB3 joystick setup parameters for 2 and 3-point moves,
  • or optionally use GBTimelapse control panel to setup all parameters for 2 and 3-point moves.
  • Enter TB3 mid and end-point Pan/Tilt positions precise degrees and slider position in inches or metric units.
  • No need to move the slider to the end-point, just type in its end value.
  • Save and Load all TB3 parameters from the computer for repeatability later.
  • Use GBTimelapse to schedule time-lapse start at a later time for unattended operation.
  • Uses GBTimelapse Holy Grail AutoRamp for bulb ramping and ISO control in changing light or day/night transitions.
  • Use GBTimelapse live-view screen for precise alignment of start and end points.
  • Use GBTimelapse history screen to see progress during a time-lapse session.
A three-axis demo...

A setup tutorial...

And TB3 driver/firmware installation...

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

GBTimelapse User Malin Perfects the Time-lapse Holy Grail!

Christoph Malin, world-renowned night sky film expert, has perfected the time-lapse "holy grail!"  In the world of time-lapse photography, this is a really BIG deal!

Malin uses GBTimelapse for all of his shots in The ESO Observatories:  Atacama Transitions and Landscapes under the Southern Sky, his latest video from the ESO Ultra HD Expedition.  Malin's use of GBTimelapse allows him to achieve the elusive sunset, sunrise and overnight "holy grail."  This video is comprised of a collection of great and unique day to night to day transitions under the Southern sky in Chile's Atacama desert.

Well done, Christoph!

The ESO Observatories: Atacama Transitions and Landscapes under the Southern Sky from Christoph Malin on Vimeo.

About the Video
Malin was on the ESO Ultra HD Expedition, sponsored by Granite Bay Software, when he shot this latest video.  You can learn more about the expedition HERE.

About the Rig
The rigs he calls "bots" have GBTimelapse controlling an eMotimo TB3 pan/tilt and a Dynamic Perception dolly. GBT uses it's AutoRamp algorithm to control the exposure along with an "aperture pull" during sunset and sunrise. He is able to start the rig in the afternoon, leave it over night and return in the morning. The result is two "holy grail" overnight shots, unattended!

The rig was described in a previous GBS blog post HERE.

ESO Ultra HD Expedition Resources
Hashtag:  #ESOultraHD
Expedition URL:

Friday, May 23, 2014

GBTimelapse and Meteor Showers

This past week Thomas O'Brien posted a time-lapse video 7 years in the making to Vimeo. That's right, 7 years! O'Brien's focus is shooting photos and video of meteor showers and for the past 7 years has been collecting footage that he has compelled into a beautiful 2-minute reel. He sent us a special message to tell us he used GBS software extensively throughout the process.

Various meteor atmospheric entries captures in a single frame reposted from O'Brien's blog.
O'Brien's recent post on his blog, highlights the video and focuses on 10 tips on photograhing meteor showers.

This coming Memorial Day weekend should be a great opportunity to try out these tips and your time-lapse gear. As O'Brien wrote to us,
"The Earth is about to pass through a brand new debris field from a comet that came through this area of space back in the 1800's. We will be moving through the area on the 24th of May and it could be a great meteor shower."
Head over to O'Brien's post at to find out more.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

GBTimelapse, TB3, and a Mast for a Holy Grail

We waited through the weather for an opportunity to get a good day-to-night Holy Grail with sky and reflection, and it paid off. We used GBTimelapse to control an inaccessible eMotimo TB3 for pan/tilt and aperture-pull mounted atop a Willburt mast. Although the TB3 was out of reach, GBT can setup the start and end points and control the motion. 

The video breaks down a lot of the details of the shot and the process. It was shot in JPEG with no post processing other than a crop to 16x9. GBTimelapse adjusted the exposure automatically and pulled aperture from f/22 to f/2.8 as the sun set. The time-lapse interval was ramped from 10 to 36 seconds and the color temperature was ramped from 5000°K to 4000°K. We had to change the tilt end point while the time-lapse was running to get a better shot of the night sky.

Make sure to watch the video in HD so you can see the star detail and look for the wild turkeys across the pond about 18 seconds in.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

GBTImelapse Aperture Pull

A few nights ago we took brought out the equipment and took advantage of a great night sky. Using GBTimelapse and an eMotimo TB3 we shot an automatic aperture pull/ramp for a seamless day-to-night shot. In the video posted below you can see the eMotimo TB3 tied to the camera and the video produced, flicker-free from daylight hours into deep night.

The aperture is listed on screen to see the process in action. If you would like to read more about the technical details look back at these posts: Eliminate Flicker and GBTimelapse/eMotimo Aperture Ramping.

Stick around after the video to see an explanation of the aperture pull/ramp.

The figure above shows how the aperture was smoothly ramped from f/22 when the sun was 4° above the horizon to f/2.8 when the sun was 5° below the horizon during twilight. You can specify the start and stop points as well as the curve to follow, (linear, logarithmic, or cosine as shown here). I like to use the cosine curve because the gradual change at low f-numbers makes lens vignetting changes less noticeable.

Saturday, April 05, 2014

ESO Ultra HD Expedition

The ESO Ultra HD Expedition (read: GBS Sponsors ESO Ultra) continues with great surprises around every corner. Leader Christoph Malin posted to Facebook Wednesday morning additional photos of the project underway. 

Above is one of the recent stills taken, pre edit, where Malin explains, "I am extremely happy with this frame out of a time-lapse... Lucky imaging ;) Big grin. These are the nice moments where the Universe says, "OK, you worked hard, so here's a fireball". As well as Mars and Spica are rising up the Horizon. Can't wait to process this TL, there are some in the backlog ;)"

Below is a photo of Malin setting up his rig before one sunset. (Credit ESO/UHD Team)

From Malin's blog: "Christoph set up his equipment in the meantime. His equipment ran independently throughout the night allowing his “TimeLapse Bots” do the work – an autonomous GBTimelapse Rig, using Intecro XTPower powerbanks for powering a Emotimo TB3 motion control and a Canon 6D. Using this easy-to-use and intuitive set-up of equipment really extends our creative possibilities. It has been the perfect addition to our equipment collection since it allows us to get slow slides, tilts and pans into our time-lapses as the stars move over ALMA. They are so versatile and take all the dust from the desert."

It looks like his rigs, that he refers to as his "bots" (read: Malin on Time Lapse Front) are working as designed.

Good luck to Malin as the expedition continues. We will keep bringing you fresh information as it comes in.

Read more about the ESO Ultra HD Expedition at their site­high­definition/

Wednesday, April 02, 2014

Sacramento Timelapse using GBDeflicker

Granite Bay Software is located on the outskirts of Sacramento and loves to see our city in the spotlight. Posted two days ago and already a Vimeo Staff Pick, Sacramento Timelapse by Justin Majeczky is a stunning example.

Justin only recently moved to the area and saw the beauty of what the region has to offer. His talents allowed him to show off the city and the surrounding farmlands.

Timing his shots to Colourmusic's "You For Leaving Me" was a nice touch and added a lot to the overall feel. He used eMotimo motion control (, Dynamic Perception (, and GBDeflicker for parts of the short and it's 20,000 shots.

We have been in contact with Justin about his project and told him, "I've lived here all my life, this is the best the city has ever looked."

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Granite Bay Software Sponsors the ESO Ultra HD Expedition

Granite Bay Software is a sponsor of the ESO Ultra HD Expedition going on right now in Chile. "Four world-renowned astrophotographers and ESO Photo Ambassadors equipped with the powerful Ultra HD tools of the technological front runners, embark on the pioneering ESO Ultra HD Expedition that will capture ESO's three unique observing sites in Chile in all their grandeur." Granite Bay Software is providing GBTimelapse and GBDeflicker, two of the "powerful Utltra HD tools" they are using.

Christoph Malin's setup with GBTimelapse and eMotimo TB3 at Paranal, Chile

Babak Tafreshi and Christoph Mail at the end of a long but productive night’s imaging. The VLT can be seen in the background as the sun rises to the left of the mountain. Credit: ESO/B. Tafreshi.

A panoramic shot of the VLT platform with the red shades of airglow visible overhead. Credit: ESO/Y. Beletsky

GBTimelapse At Work in the Netherlands

Timewriters of Amersfoort, Netherlands has been using GBTimelapse for over two years. Check out this neat construction time-lapse by Bas Stoffelsen showing a complete building project.

Made with the Timebox Resolution XL equipped with Canon EOS 550d and Sigma 10 - 20

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

GBTimelapse Minor Bug Fix

Found a minor bug in GBTimelapse 3.9.38. In the AutoRamp settings, it would incorrectly warn you that your computer Time Zone doesn't match the location Time Zone. This little bug just appeared with Daylight Savings Time. If you know your Time Zones match, you can ignore the warning. Or you can just download and install version 3.9.39.

Wednesday, March 05, 2014

GBTimelapse now with MX3 Support

GBTimelapse now supports the Dynamic Perception MX3 Motion Controller. With GBT support, the MX3 can do bulb control as short as 0.033 seconds. It's easy to install the special firmware, and it's totally compatible with the standard MX3 1.08 firmware.

Before you can use the Dynamic Perception MX3 controller with GBTimelapse you must first install two Windows drivers and then upload the GBTimelapse firmware. Don't worry, it's will only take a few minutes to setup.

If you don't understand why bulb shooting is so important, please watch this video too. It explains the workings of a SLR shutter and how that leads to shutter flicker. And it discusses how using bulb mode is superior for time-lapse and how to eliminate any bulb mode problems related to the shutter mechanism. Also explains how GBTimelapse' AutoRamp works with bulb mode to realize the holy grail of a flicker free day to night time-lapse.  (Slow Motion shutter by Adam Shomsky)

Friday, February 21, 2014

Christoph Malin - On the Time-lapse Front Lines

Christoph Malin is a world renown expert on filming the night sky. Chris has been very helpful pushing the limits of GBTimelapse and contributing great ideas to make it better.

In this his latest post he describes using GBTimelapse' aperture ramping on an unattended overnight test prior to his participation in the ESO Ultra HD Expedition to Chile...

Wetterumschwung - Weather Change from Christoph Malin on Vimeo.
Wetterumschwung - GBT Rig "Rain Test" @ 2014

Prior to our ESO Ultra HD Expedition to Chile  I am testing all my gear with some new XTPower batteries, also with my GBTimelapse Rig.

Goal: So now let's see how much rain this Rig can stand? Not really, but it can take some ;) Good to know the 6D is weather sealed as well as the AFS 14-24 Nikon.

Technique: Holy Grail Day to Night to Day Transition controlled by GBTimelapse... Lots of clouds passing by the moon, which would normally cause a bad flicker.

Start: 5:57 pm, End 07:08 am (scheduled for 10:00 am, but stopped earlier due to rain and snow). Weather predictions were that in the Morning weather would change from stormy South Winds we had all week, to West Winds bringing Rain below and Snow above 800 m altitude... When I arrived back a the location (somewhere near Innsbruck) it had already started to snow, but due to the aperture still being on f2.8 at 07:00 am (it would later ramp up), one can't see much drops at the end of the Timelapse.

Note: GBTimelapse is able to at the same time auto ramp
- Aperture
- Interval
- Color Temp
- Exposure
as well as computing automatic sunset/sunrise exposure compensation due to given GPS coordinates.

Furthermore at the same time GBT sticks to a (ramped) target luminance, while doing automated luminance adjustments. And while active on the set Timelapse program, the software even provides the option of displaying a Timelapse movie preview of all previously taken images of the set, should it be necessary, and even allows parameter adjustments while the TL is active. Try to do all this with an Android device ;) Using a powerful Ultrabook with such an application (don't go less than i5 with GBT!) makes sense, as well as the proven Macbook Air powerhouse, that has served me well from the 5000 m of the Atacama to the peaks of the Alps.

- My Good ol' beaten Stage Zero
- Pelicases
- Emotimo / Canon 6D / Aperture Stepper on AFS 14-24/2.8 controlled with GBTimelapse, running on 11" MacBook Air powered with an add. HyperJuice 150, early stage of that Rig here:
- Emotimo powered by 12V XTPower Battery, SZ on DP LiIon
- 1740 images RAW Sequence written directly to Angeldisk's amazing ultra robust SSD2Go
- SZ crawling to the right, Emotimo slowly panning to the left

Not much necessary...
1) 1740 RAW image sequence imported into LR5, Color graded/Highlights/Shadow, changes save to XMPs, then quit LR5
2) whole Sequence imported to AE CC and rendered out to 4K ProRes 4444 (took a current Retina 15" MacBook Pro 02 hrs 14 mins to get the job done (see also

Note: AE is able to read out and process ALL XMPs of such a sequence, no only the first image.

It is outstanding how accurate GBTimelapse did the automatic luminance adjustment, considering the massive cloud shadow induced flicker. Just check the constant brightness of the moonlit sky against the strong intermittent shadows on the mountain landscape, as well how excellent it coped with the massive ambient light exposure brightness changes during that full moonlight night to clouds and fog in the morning.

This is excellent automated luminance adjustment leading to an overnight holy grail. One would think that a GBDeflicker run in post could be necessary upon such cloud flicker, but no, it wasn't. Due to GBTimelapse's on-the-fly luminance adjustment no Ramping/Leveling or other additional processing was necessary. Just grab the Angeldisk SSD, and start your processing workflow.

Angeldisk's SSD2go is probably the worlds best (expedition) storage product for such demanding applications I have seen in my long IT career. To ensure maximum safety of your work and data they engineered a dedicated power circuit, which includes overload and static protection and an Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS), a four second power backup which will shut down the drive safely in the event of a power loss:

What the Emotimo is missing a bit is better fitting Rain- or Neopren-Cover, than my DIY backpack cover solution. Need to do that soon.

Have fun!
Christoph Malin

P.S.: Check some of my other short films:

"The ISS Image Frontier",
"Astronomer's Paradise",
"Island in the Sky",
"Urban - Mountain - Sky",!/christophmalin

Wednesday, February 05, 2014

GBTimelapse - Manual Lens Holy Grail Time-lapse

A holy grail time-lapse is a flicker free sunset or sunrise transition. It’s called the holy grail because it has been so hard to achieve.

You can buy this Rokinon 14mm F2.8 lens for Canon with Canon mount online for about $350. It's a manual lens with an aperture ring.

A manual lens like this is ideal for time-lapse because it has no aperture flicker.

Aperture flicker happens with automatic lenses when the iris is stopped down just prior to the shutter opening. The iris opening isn't exactly the same each time so the light through the lens is different each time resulting in flicker.

A manual lens doesn't have aperture flicker because the iris mechanism doesn't move when the shutter opens. It only moves when you move the aperture ring.

Watch this video to see how to do a manual lens holy grail with GBTimelapse.

Key to using a manual lens, is knowing the actual t-stop difference between the lens' min and max f-stops. For example, this Rokinon lens has a 6 stop range from f/2.8 to f/22; but the actual t-stop difference is 5.11 stops. Watch this video to see how to calibrate a lens' t-stop values.

GBTimelapse - Why Bulb Ramping is critical to eliminate flicker

Most DSLR cameras have pre-set shutter speeds in 1/3-stop steps, 1/10, 1/13, 1/15, 1/20 etc...
For time-lapse when the light is constant, using a fixed shutter speed is fine. But if the light is changing, the exposure must change.

In a time-lapse with changing light those big 1/3-stop steps show up as distracting changes in brightness.
It’s much better to use the shutter in bulb mode because you can change the shutter speed in very tiny one millisecond steps - this is called bulb ramping.

Thank you to Adam Shomsky for the slow motion shutter video.

Friday, January 31, 2014

New Version: The GBDeflicker3 plugin is now faster and simpler

Announcing GBDeflicker3 plugin with new features!
  • Up to 10X faster rendering on multi-core computers
  • Easier license activation from the plugin
  • Re-organized, simplified effect controls
  • One serial number can be used on both Mac and Windows
Upgrade from GBDeflicker2 for only $59.... Or buy new for $99

If you purchased GBDeflicker2 between December 1, 2013 and January 24, 2014, please contact us here for a free upgrade.

If you would like one license for multiple computers, ask here about special site-license pricing.

If you already have GBDeflicker3, please download and install the latest version (Mac 3.0.10 or Windows 3.0.10) which has a fix for a persistent trial watermark.