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Making long exposure video from normal video

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I want to make videos where each frame looks like a long exposure photograph. I want to see if I can get the "light trails in the dark "effect that's easy in stills using a long shutter time.


I figure if I shoot video at 1/30s shutter time at 30 frames per second the shutter is always open, and I should be able to get a different 1 second long exposure every 30th of a second by combing frames like this:


new frame 1 = original frames 1 to 30

new frame 2 = original frames 2 to 31

new frame 3 = original frames 3 to 32


new frame x = original frames x to (x+29)




I planned to combine frames in after effects by overlaying multiple copies offset 1/30s and reducing the opacity of the upper frames. I think the opacity of the bottom layer should be 100%, the next one up 50%, then next 25%, the next 12.5% and so on so that each layer contributes equally to the final image.


Problem is the higher frames require very low opacities, the 30th should be 1.86265 x 10^(-7)%, and that doesn't work even with the project set to 32 bits per pixel.


Does anyone know how to do what I'm asking?

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yep, had a play with this but in photoshop (using scripts, I think they call them 'actions'). I did run into similar issues.


I think I ended up doing something like taking two images then adding them 50/50- flattening them then taking the result and adding it 50/50 to the next in the series - then repeating that and so on. In your case 30 or is it 29 times wink.gif


That way you only use %50 - but there was some fiddling I think with the layer mode (the math behind the scenes - e.g. overlay vs. multiply vs. normal vs. darken and so on).


I thought AE had a filter that pretty much works the same way anyway - motion blur or something ? (I don't think its controls are so direct however)



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Thanks Chris.


Learning enough matlab and other various bits of coding to connect it to something that can work on video files would take a biiiiiit more time than I have right now. I'm only trying to get this effect for fun, nothing serious.


AE has motion blur but the filter closest to what I want seems to be one called "wide time". The results aren't great though, I think maybe because of the limited precision being used.



I thought of doing similar to your suggestion of mixing down, but in after effects using precomposition.I/'m going to shoot something at 4fps and see can I get that to work before I got up to 30.

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Crazy question, but, any reason to need to do it with video? Could you just do a time-lapse with an SLR?


Thing is that he's overlapping the exposures so each frame shares 29/30ths of the preceding (or following) frame.

You'd need a set up that could tap in and out of the data stream at will while keeping 30 taps concurrent.

It's pretty much having a 10800deg shutter angle.

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  • 1 year later...

Just got an email about this thread, prompting me to reply. Not sure why I didn't before.


My maths for the layer opacities in the first post is wrong, don't know what I was thinking, they should go down as:

1/1, 1/2, 1/3, 1/4, 1/5...1/25 for the 25 layers, and that's easily doable.


Here's a test with some more notes in the comments:

That has an effective shutter angle of 9000degrees.


If anyone's interested I can zip up and upload the entire source for that video, it's a Premiere pro edit.

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