How to avoid flickering on time lapse videos

July 20, 2023    5 min read

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Time lapse photography is a series of photos taken over time, which are then put together to create a stimulating effect and illusion of motion via a sequence of photographs.

When the frame rates change, they may not be in sync with the light source, resulting in the time lapse flicker. Time lapse flickers aren’t easy to detect in photographs, but when you compile them together in a video, the flicker is very obvious.

Apart from the mismatch between the changing light source and frame rates, some other factors that cause flickers in time lapse are:

Shutter speed

When shooting a time lapse, a faster shutter speed narrows the aperture opening. The light coming in via the aperture will get even lower, even if you don’t change the value. And this will result in bright flickers in your time lapse videos.

Artificial lights

Certain time lapse subjects, such as growing plants, require LED and grow lights. Time lapse flickers also happen when these light sources are not in sync with the exposure value.

Auto white balance

Using auto-white balance when shooting in a different light environment can also lead to flickers.

Other factors

Sudden changes in the natural environment, such as lighting, a cloud overcasting the bright sun, or even car lights, can cause flickers in time lapses.

Now that we have an idea of what causes flickering in time lapses, let’s understand the causes of flickers in specific time lapse subjects and how you can deal with them:

  • Shooting Plants Indoor
  • Shooting in Low Light Situations
  • Shooting Sunrise/Sunset Videos

Shooting plants indoor

Shooting Plants Indoor

When light sources (LEDs, grow lights or room lights) are not in sync with the rest of the camera settings, time lapse flickers are inevitable. So when it comes to shooting time lapses of growing indoor plants, you need to take care of certain aspects, such as:

  • For starters, avoid using natural light flooding in from the windows in your room; instead, choose an artificial light source in which you can control the brightness as required.
  • Pick a frame rate equal to the light source rate divided by an integer. For example, if the light source rate is 60 Hz, you need to choose a shutter speed that is a multiple of 60. Choose a shutter speed divisible by 60 (1/60, 1/120 and so on).
  • To stop your LED lights from flickering, use an LED driver to match LED lights. Also, set the LED light flickering speed higher than the camera’s frame rate, as it would help reduce the appearance of flicker in your time lapse videos.

Shooting in low light situations

Shooting in Low Light Situations

In low-light situations, shutter speed and exposure changes can cause flickers. Auto ISO also impacts the exposure, thus increasing the probability of the appearance of suggestions in the time lapse.

To avoid time lapse flickers, especially when shooting in low-light situations, you need to ensure the following:

  • Set the ISO to manual and the lowest value. When shooting with the ATLI EON camera, choose ISO 100.
  • Next, you have to adjust the shutter speed. A low shutter speed is well suited for capturing time lapses in low-light shooting scenarios.
  • Lock the white balance and set the manual mode for different shooting situations, as it would help prevent color flickering.

Shooting sunrise or sunset videos

Shooting Sunrise or Sunset Videos

When it comes to sunrise or sunset time lapse videos, the natural light changes as the sun rises or sets. To ensure your time lapse is picture-perfect and free of flickers, here’s what you need to do:

  • Set ATLI EON camera to auto mode.
  • While the average shooting interval for capturing sunrise time lapse is 3-4 seconds, reduce the time lapse interval to 1-2 seconds to reduce flickers.
  • Choose shooting at a lower shutter speed. Using ND8 filters on the ATLI EON camera lens allows you to comfortably shoot at a lower shutter speed while retaining the video’s brightness.

Summing up

You can reduce the flickers in your time lapses with a couple of simple adjustments and hacks. Despite these adjustments, flickers may still appear in your time lapse videos - but there’s nothing to worry about!

You can always use editing apps such as AE, PR, or DaVinci and plugins such as Flicker Free or DeFlicker to eliminate those unwanted time lapse flickers. Good luck with capturing amazing time lapses.