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Ron Risman with DSLR

At the Wednesday, February 20, 2013 meeting...
Time-Lapse Digital Cinematography Using DSLR's
With Ron Risman, Boston Timelapse and Cinematic Stories

By Marty Feldman

Ron Risman, owner of Boston Timelapse and Cinematic Stories, gave a two-hour presentation workshop on advanced cinematic time-lapse techniques at the February 20 SMPTE-NE meeting at Boston Video Center in Brookline, MA. Special thanks goes to National Boston's Tom Sprague for so generously making his facility available right in the middle of a hectic set up for a next morning shoot. Approximately 35 members and visitors were in attendance.

During the workshop Ron covered everything from why and how to use a DSLR to shoot time-lapses, to using advanced motion control rigs like the Kessler Shuttle Pod Mini with Oracle motion controller along with various software packages and apps designed to make life easier for busy commercial time-lapse shooters. These apps assist the time-lapse shooter with such tasks as predicting the sun's position, time and height of tides, and scouting potential locations using Google Earth, a tool that Ron finds indispensible. Besides using Power Point and video, Ron brought and demonstrated an interesting assortment of cameras, lenses and time-lapse rigs.

Ron's teaching style is very visual, which helps the attendees to get a clearer understanding of topics that may at first sound very technical. For example, instead of just explaining how to reduce time-lapse flicker, Ron showed a comparison of a time-lapse captured at different aperture settings in order to show the affect that stopping down the aperture of the lens has on a time-lapse – as well as when and why. Ron covered quite a bit of ground in this fast-paced two-hour presentation workshop, slowing down when necessary to better explain certain topics that were of particular interest to the attendees.

Topics covered included:·

  • What is an intervalometer, and how to use it with your DSLR·
  • Tips & tricks to eliminate time-lapse flicker·
  • When and why to drag the exposure·
  • How to choose the interval and exposure time·
  • How intervals and exposure time affect the overall feel of your time-lapse·
  • When to shoot in Manual Mode and when to use Av Priority Mode·
  • Shooting Modes: When and Why·
  • The importance of planning ahead – and apps that can help you·
  • Preventing condensation from forming on the lens·
  • The importance of capturing pre-roll and post-roll footage when capturing a time-lapse ·
  • Ron's RAW Workflow using Adobe After Effects CS6, Adobe Camera RAW, and LRTimelapse

In addition to time-lapse assignments for corporate and event clients, Ron's work has appeared on television stations around the country and in an upcoming documentary airing on HBO.

View a whimsical and impromptu time lapse video of our SMPTE New England meeting attendees created by Ron Risman during this seminar:

Ron Risman may be reached at:

Submitted by:

Martin P. Feldman, Chair, SMPTE New England.

Click here for writeups of other past meetings

Posted: 28 Febuary 2013
Bob Lamm, SMPTE/New England Newsletter/Web Page Editor