A Milky Way Timelapse tutorial without the jargon. This can be used for other types of timelapses as well.
Please watch this video to check what we are trying to achieve :
Points to remember before you start shooting a Milky Way Timelapse:
1. The preparation starts indoors and not on the field
2. The Milky Way rises and sets like the Sun and the Moon. Hence you have to be in the right place at the right time.
1. A DSLR
2. A Wide-Angle Lens – Desirable but you could use any lens set at its widest aperture.
3. Tripod – Alternatively, you can prop your camera on the ground. Just ensure that it does not move throughout the shoot.
4. Intervalometer – Alternatively, you can set the camera in continuous shoot position and use a corded remote in lock position.
5. Memory Card(s) : Cards with a minimum of 8GB capacity with a high-speed write option, preferably class 10.
6. Fully charged batteries
Camera Settings :
1. Mode : Manual
2. Shutter : 25-30secs
3. Aperture : Widest possible on the lens in zoomed-out position.
4. ISO : 3200 – Reduce/Increase ISO by one stop and test, till you get the perfect exposure. Watch-out for noise at higher ISO.
5. Shoot mode : Continuous
6. White balance : Auto
7. Focus : Manual – Locate an object/light source which is very far like a distant mountain or a bright star and turn the focussing ring to get the perfect focus. You can also use auto-focus to achieve focus of a distant object and then switch to manual. Do not touch the focussing ring once this is set.
8. Timer Delay : 5-10 seconds. This reduces any shake induced when the shutter is released.
9. Delay between shots : 0-5 seconds
Action time :
1. Identify a location which has little or no light pollution, obscuring your view of the night sky. You want to be as far away from cities and highways as possible.
2. IOS offers many apps to locate the Milky Way like Sky Guide and Sky View. Sadly, there are no free options on Android. Stellarium Mobile is good but is a paid Android app. So it pays to do your research at home to find out where the Milky Way will rise and set.
3. Reach the location before it gets too dark to see your way around. Setup the tripod and camera in the general direction of the Milky Way. Let your eyes get adapted to the darkness. If you need to use a flashlight, use one which emits red light. This can be achieved by covering a regular flashlight with red translucent paper.
4. Take test shots with above camera settings to ensure a perfect image. Adjust focus and ISO to correct issues.
5. Make sure that the position of the lens covers the range of the Milky Way’s path without having to move it. The Milky Way should be at one end of your first image and at the other end of the last image.
6. Lock the shutter release with the corded remote or intervalometer and let the magic begin. For a 8 second video, you will need around 200 shots.
7. Use free tools like ffmpeg ( www.ffmpeg.org ) or Lightworks ( www.lwks.com ) to convert the jpgs to video.