Time-lapse with the Panasonic GX8

 

Recently I was asked to make a time-lapse video during the creation of Susan Stockwell’s art installation at Hall Place, Bexley.

The installation – Trade Winds – would be made from thousands of coins on which would ‘float’ small ships made with paper money from around the world. I was aware that the installation could take up most of the floor space in the room which was about 8 x 10 metres so the first thing to sort out was where to put the camera. A tripod wasn’t an option as the chances of it being moved by accident were high but luckily there was a small lighting rail on the ceiling which I could use to hang a lightweight camera. I mounted the GX8 with a small clamp – backed up with Gaffa tape and a safety chain just in case the clamp and tape didn’t hold.

I used a 7.5mm Samyang Lens to cover the whole floor with the intention of cropping into the frame for the best coverage of Susan’s work.

The camera has a very good built-in intervalometer which is very easy to set up to shoot a series of images. I shot RAW still frames and didn’t use the in camera conversion to movie (quite frankly the conversion in camera is not very good). I processed the RAW frames in Capture One so I could output as jpegs which were then imported into Premiere Pro. I could then crop the full frame images as necessary to the 16:9 format.

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The Panasonic GX8 hanging upside down from the lighting rail.
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The final installation

It all worked pretty well and was used as both a standalone time-lapse and also as part of a longer video about the installation.

The only real issue I had was with the battery life which lasted  about 180 minutes, maybe a little more. Shooting about 3 frames a minute gave me around 600 frames or so depending on which battery was used. The installation progressed over 5 days so I would be away for much of the time, going in when I could to change batteries.  Sometimes the battery died before I could get in to replace it so there are a couple of points where the time-lapse moves on slightly quicker than it should but overall I think it works.

Susan Stockwell’s work can be seen on Su’s website.

2 thoughts on “Time-lapse with the Panasonic GX8

  • Looks good!

    So you get about 20 seconds of timelapse per battery as a rough rule? Was that with automatic or manual settings? (I assume it would last longer if the camera wasn’t thinking about each shot individually)

    Have you considered an eternal USB battery bank? The GX8 doesn’t support USB recharging, but there is a converter that steps up a battery bank and emulates being plugged into the wall. It could be an idea if you plan on doing more of this type of stuff.

  • Thanks. Yes, I think about 20-25 seconds at 3 frames per minute. I set it on auto ( aperture priority and set the iso limit to 800 to keep exposure times down ( the shutter speed varied between about a 1/15th and a 1/50th). So I guess if the camera could be set on manual then yes you might get more shots out of the battery. I didn’t have enough time to sort out an external battery option before the shoot and as I live close by to the venue dropping by to change batteries wasn’t an issue – but will look into that if I do more time-lapse with this camera.

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