Star Trail gets a Timelapse twist! (with How-To)


Cover photo by Peter Dann.

What's better than Star Trail photography? Star Trail Timelapse of course! There's nothing better than seeing our users get experimental with Triggertrap products, and Markus Lubjuhn has combined two of our favourite kinds of photography to create some truly striking effects.

Instead of stacking the images produced in our Star Trail mode to create one almighty star-struck photograph, Markus decided to turn the photographs into a video, producing a different exciting impression of the heavens, giving that awe-inspiring sense of the world turning on its axis.

We asked Markus how he went about capturing his videos of the Perseid meteor shower and he gave us the low down on the kit required and how to assemble the video in post.

What you need

  • Camera, preferably with wide angle lens
  • Tripod
  • Either smart device (i.e. phone or tablet) with Triggertrap app installed, or Triggertrap V1.
  • Triggertrap Mobile Kit

Settings

Lucky for us, Markus remembers his settings from this night! Remember that this is what was appropriate for him on the night and can only be used as a guide to your own glorious Star Trail Timelapse. "The real goal in my work that night was to capture the Perseid meteor shower. Therefore, I  chose settings that allowed me to photograph 99%  of the time in order to see every little moving detail in the starry sky."

Triggertrap settings

Exposures: 380

Exposure duration: 25 seconds

Gap between each exposure: 500 milliseconds

Camera settings

ISO: 1600

Aperture: f2.8

* After learning one lesson the hardest way possible, Markus shares a word of advice: "At the beginning of a shoot you should double check with a few test shots (at least based on the camera screen) if all settings are correct (focus, exposure, angle, etc.). There is nothing more annoying than a wasted night due to a wrongly adjusted camera."

Post processing the stills and creating the timelapse video

Having found your perfect settings and taken your photographs, this is where things have the potential to get tricky. But fear not! our trusty Triggertrap fan chucked together an elegant workflow

  1. Import the photos into Lightroom and give them any brushing up or editing they need as you normally would with a group of stills. You may want to use Gunther Wegner's very useful LRTimelapse tool at this point.
  2. Next you'll want to take your edited photos and import them to the brilliant - and free - image stacking software StarStaX. You want to use the necessary blending mode in order to make sure you will have a smooth transition, but make sure that you select the option in settings to save every step (or blended step of images) as a separate file so you can still export a series of photos to be put together as a timelapse. Markus decided to use the Comet blend mode for the effect in these videos.
  3. You can then use a video editing program of your choice such as After Effects or Final Cut to put your photos together in sequence and create your end video!

Mix these steps with a little creativity and experimentation, and you should be onto a winner! At least, that's how Markus says he managed to achieve his Star Trail Timelapse videos.

"I don't think there is really a finished recipe you can use and at the end always receive a top result." says Markus, "But you should be familiar with the broad guidelines of astronomical and time-lapse photography.  You will then need to find a nice place with a great scene and possibly a few interesting objects in the foreground to make the whole picture more exciting and then you just do it. That's the best thing you can do - try, practice, test, get started. So you learn best, quickly find your own style and let your creativity run free."

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