There are a few ways of shooting day to night transition. A few weeks ago I made a quick tutorial on Holy Grail Day to night technique. This time it’s something different: using a motion control head to create a smooth transition, that you can adjust in post. Check out the shot and than read about the technique below 😉

This is a shot from my 52 Timelapse Project. You can check out the details of the project or full list of the shots.

Basically, it’s a shot from my upcoming tutorial, so it can be called a teaser 😉 Thanks to the new firmware option I’ve shot it just with my gimbal on a tripod. It’s not the first one I made such transition. I like the effect I get, however it requires some more patient than regular timelapse 😉

Day to night technique

These are two exactly the same shots (duration & camera movement), combined in post production. The first one was shot about 10 minutes before sunset and the second one about one hour later, when it’s was nicely dark.

Of course it wouldn’t be so interesting if the camera was static. I used my gimbal as a motion control head – I’ve programmed the movement, wait an hour and repeat it 🙂 I’m creating new tutorial about this gimbal technique so stay tuned – it should be out next week 😉

Post Production

Post production is quite simple. After developing your RAW files you import it to your editing software. Then place these two shots one above another. After aligning the shots you have to just set two keyframes for opacity, from 0% to 100% and you’re done 🙂 Easy, right?

Set the opacity of the top clip to 50%, this let you align the shots easily

Camera settings

This is one of the shots, where you’ve got to know your gear. For both shots I wanted to keep the same shutter speed. There were two reasons:

  • Match the motion blur
  • Keep the same interval

So, I’ve got to write a few words about the second reason. Cameras count interval differently. Some internal intervalometer, like in GH4 or Canon’s Magic Lantern, count the interval like in the picture below. That means that changing the shutter speed would change the overall interval time. That’s something that could ruin a motion control shot like this. For example, if the first shot has shutter speed of 0.5″, and the second 1″ – this would result different clips durations and different camera movement speed in the final videos. I don’t think that’s a disadvantage, but it’s something you’ve got to keep in mind 😉 You can always use external intervalometer to avoid this problem.


I used ND64 (6 stops light loss) for the day shot, and I removed the filter for the night shot. Fortunately, the gimbal doesn’t need recalibration (well, normally I would balance the camera again, but even without it, the gimbal is still precise) 😉

As always I used GH4 with Speedbooster and Sigma 10-20mm with an Easystab gimbal. The camera settings were as follows:

  • The first shot:
    • ND64
    • f/2.5
    • ISO 320
    • 0.5″ shutter speed
  • The second shot:
    • f/5.6  – I wanted to make stars of the lights, the effect would be better with higher value, but I didn’t want to raise the ISO
    • ISO 640
    • 0.5″ shutter speed

That’s all! Simple and usefull technique for different transitions. You just need some patience 😉

Let me know in the comments what do you think and show me your shots on my Facebook group:

See you next week!



1 Comment