FOSS timelapse workflow

I was testing a workflow for doing timelapses with my GoPro Hero 4 (JPG-only), so I thought I could share here what can be done staying fully FOSS:

License: CC BY-SA 4.0

The process:

  • the images were imported and renamed with Rapid Photo Downloader
  • unfortunately I forgot to turn off my backyard’s light and this confused the auto-exposure. I used timelapse-deflicker to minimize the problems, any flickering left I suspect it comes from passing cars
  • I used darktable to batch-edit the images, dividing them into three sections: sunset, transition, and night
    • sunset: only denoise
    • night: denoise, +1 eV exposure (limited to the dark areas with a luminance mask), color balance with input saturation down to zero and some blue highlights added (borrowing the idea from the low light module). I had to do this because the backyard light gave an awful yellow color to the leaves, and also because the exposure mask artifacts were better hidden in B&W :wink:
    • transition: I used dtlapse to interpolate exposure and color balance between the other two regions
  • the darktable-exported images were imported into Kdenlive, I added some simple in and out transitions, and exported an MP4 video
  • finally, I used Exiftool to add XMP metadata to the video file

All of this under Kubuntu 20.04

Software things that could be better:

  • darktable’s auto mode in the exposure module only works on RAW, not on JPG. This would have avoided the use of timelapse-deflicker and the doubling of disk space needed during edition, and I think that maybe auto-exposure + dtlapse would have done a better job with the deflicker
  • the low light module would be a nice addition to dtlapse :wink:

Although it was just a test (don’t judge the artistic quality of the video :stuck_out_tongue_closed_eyes:), I quite like the end result and ended up learning a lot for next time.

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