This video was shot in Illinois and Utah on the iPhone 4S and the iPhone 5 using Thalia Lapse HD/R. Postprocessing was done in Adobe After Effects and Adobe Premiere Pro using filters from the Boris Continuum Suite.
Shoot Your Own
Thalia Lapse HD/R works best on iPhone 4S, iPhone 5, or iPad 2 and later. Some older hardware and iPod Touch 4 and higher are supported with limited resolution and frame rate.
Get a tripod. It’s important that there be as little camera shake as possible, so the tripod shouldn’t be too flimsy. An affordable possibility are small table tripods. They are much more stable than full-size tripods of similar cost and weight. The Slik Tabletop Travel Tripod works well for us.
Get an adapter to mount your iPhone on the tripod. Again, it shouldn’t be flimsy. The iPhone’s shape can create quite a bit of wind load compared to its weight, so a solid metal construction is desirable. The ANYCASE Universal iPhone Tripod Adapter works well for us; the downside of that adapter is that you need to be a little bit careful with the mounting screw—not too tight and not too loose. A less scary, but also less sturdy, alternative is The Glif, available for the iPhone 5 and for the iPhone 4 and 4S, or the Kungl adapter, unfortunately only available for iPhone 4 and 4S.
Battery run time on the iPhone’s battery is pretty good, but if you want to record long movies consider an external battery. The Anker Astro3 works well for us. Of course, if mains power is available where you want to record, you may also simply use your iPhone’s normal power supply. Either way, a USB extension cord may be helpful.
Mount your iPhone on your tripod, start Thalia Lapse HD/R, select the desired resolution, frames per second, and processing mode in the settings, press the record button, and wait until you have recorded enough footage.
If so desired, you can postprocess the video you shot in pretty much any video editing software, from Apple’s iMovie on the iPhone to professional video editing software.
Amaze your friends!
How Does It Work?
The patent-pending HD/R technology in Thalia Lapse HD/R takes several different exposures of the same scene for each video frame and works magic (technical term: tonemapping) to turn them into a video stream reflecting the scene’s dynamic range.
Up to 5 EV values of dynamic range expansion, depending on the scene shot
Multi-stage deflickering avoids the flickering artifacts that often occur when stitching together time-lapse video from photos
Deghosting avoids ghosting artifacts from moving objects
Processing on the iPhone’s GPU calculates tonemapped video in real time, preserving local contrast on scenes with strong dynamic range
Stores high-quality movies in Quicktime format with up to 1080p resolution (can be set by user)
Amazing built-in processing modes for a subdued effect, adding punch to the video, and artistic effect
If desired, adds a soundtrack from your iTunes library to the video
The medium-term goal is to bring HDR recording of live video (i.e., not timelapse) to consumer devices. Right now, the computational power and in some cases also the camera APIs of popular cell phones and similar devices aren’t quite there yet, but we expect that they will be within a few years. Remember that the image merging and tonemapping that Thalia Lapse HD/R performs in real time as it records a video used to take tens of seconds or even minutes for a single image on a powerful desktop computer just a few years ago. In the meantime, we see some exciting upgrades coming this year on the way to this medium-term goal:
The user interface will see a substantial upgrade when Apple releases iOS 7 this fall.
We will have an even more powerful and at the same time even faster image merging and tonemapping algorithm this summer or fall.
We are working on an improved anti-shake mechanism for even better reduction of ghosting effects.
We will increase the maximum possible image resolution on the most cutting-edge devices. Possibly, we will offer 4K video resolution (3840×2160) this fall on the iPhone 5 and up. The 1080p resolution currently offered on the iPhone 5 is already as much as makes sense for a video file to be viewed on a normal computer screen or TV set, so this extra resolution would be mostly to enable magnification in postprocessing.
We are planning an expert mode that will let the user set image processing parameters and as an alternative also will offer the option to save unprocessed image streams for later tonemapping on a desktop computer.
We might offer our HD/R tonemapping technology on different platforms, such as a desktop application (probably for Mac) or a port to Android to take advantage of new Android-powered cameras.