timelapse

KYRGYZSTAN | 8K - The Final Film

Finally my latest 8K Timelapse film from Kyrgyzstan is online! It took me around two months to edit it, but I did it! I am so happy of the result, even tho I would have loved some Milky Way on it, nonetheless, I think this is my best work yet!  So here a recap, if you haven’t read or watched the previous Travel Journals:

In June I spent 17 days in Kyrgyzstan, a country you might never hear of before, (I didn’t till last August), as a Timelapse photographer, I am always looking for new or less touristy places to shoot and Kyrgyzstan it’s definitely one of them... As mountains cover 90% of the country, the landscape it’s truly breathtaking and depending on the region, you can find a wide variety of places, from alpines lakes, rocky deserts, vast valley to huge mountains, its tallest Peak is 7,439m. 

I felt in love with the unique landscapes and the kind, welcoming people of Kyrgyzstan. 

Tourism here has started growing in the last couple of years and this country has a real potential to became the next top destination for photographers, hikers, back packers and alpinists! At this moment the tourist facilities are not ready for mass tourism like Iceland or Patagonia, but that’s also the beauty of it, you will be immerse in the culture and the truly lifestyle of the locals. 

During the first part of the trip I explored with Visit Karakol and landscape photographers, Albert Dros, the south region around Lenin Peak, Arslanbob and Sary-Chelek, in the second part I hiked few days in the  Karakol Valley, visiting Ala-Kul an alpine lake at 3.500m and Sary-Jaz Valley close to China’s borders

For this trip I traveled with two slider, the 1,5m Dynamic perception Stage One and R, which I use when I was able to walk short distances, as its quite heavy and the 90cm Rhino ROV Pro Traveler for second slider, it was perfect for the long 4 days hike at 3,500m, the lightweight factor (1.1Kg) helped a lot and thanks to this I was able to add motion to some of the TImelapse that otherwise I would’t  be able to.

My bags of choice was my trusty F-stop Gear Loka 40L, that I’ve owned for almost 5 years, carrying all my Timelapse kit and the Osprey Transporter 90L, that carried my cloths and Sliders. 

I put this bags through so much, driving off-road with 4x4, horse riding and hiked for days to the best mountains range of Central Asia, during thunderstorms, snow and sunny weather! I really love them! 

To shoot the Timelapse in 8K, I used the Sony A7RIII with various Canon lenses, 16-35 f/4L, 24-70 f/4L and 70-200 f/4L.

To film the Travel Journals, I used the Sony A7III with the Samyang 24mm f/2.8 and the Zhuyin crane M. 

I came back home with 5TB of data, 42.000 Raw files which converted in 107 Timelapse; I also made 6 Tavel Journals showing the behind the scene and the travel involved, you can watch them below.

Thanks so much to Visit Karakol team for have organised such an incredible tour, I couldn’t have done it without your help!

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I will definitely go back to Kyrgyzstan to explore different locations in the future!

I hope you will enjoy the film!

Till next time!

To see more of the BTS of the trip check out the Kyrgyzstan Highlights Stories and follow me on Instagram @mattiabicchi

Check out my Timelapse gear: https://kit.com/MattiaBicchi

How to Deflicker a Timelapse

So, You know when you come back from a shoot, and you render your Timelapse, and the video looks like a strobe from a club? That flashing is called flickering, which it's caused by a small adjustment of the Aperture of your camera and in this tutorial, I want to show you a couple of ways to avoid and fix it! 

Ok, so... during a day Timelapse, so no light changes during the time you are shooting, If you own a manual lens you should not have any problems, otherwise the best way to reduce flicker, it's to shoot with a long exposure, in my experience from 0'5 sec is good. Also, there is the technique where can you detached the lens, so the camera can't send the signal to the lens, and the Diagram won't move, but I've rarely used it.

When shooting Sunset or Sunrise, it gets a bit more complicated, there are few ways to shoot a 'Holy Grail' which is a transition between day to night or Vice Versa, 

  • The "standard" way is in Manual, so every time the light on the scene changes, you adjust the Shutter speed and the ISO, I wouldn't touch the Aperture, cos you will then introduce vignette which is very difficult to fix.

  • Another way is shooting in Aperture Priority, or AV, this is pretty easy as the camera is doing all the changes. Depending on the camera you have, this method can be more smooth or less smooth than the manual. I shoot on Sonys, and the smoothness with this method is pretty incredible.. (between you and me, I haven't shot a manual Sunset/Sunrise for at least a year) I think the new Nikons as well are great!

So, once you have your Timelapse done, you need Three software, Lightroom, After Effects and LRTimelapse and here's how I process my Timelapse. 

For the Timelapse during the day, once you have your sequence imported to Lightroom, you open LRT and create two keyframes, one at the beginning and one at the end is enough, save it, go back to Lightroom and edit the first and last photos, save the Metadata and come back to LRT, reload the sequence, click Auto smooth transition, next, click deflicker, save it and that's it! 

Now, open After Effect, create a composition with the TImelapse sequence and render it with your setting. (If you want to know what codec and settings I use to render my clip let me know in the comments and I will make a video about that) 

Now that you have your video rendered, check if there's any flickering, if there isn't well done, LRT worked perfectly, if you still see it, you can change the setting on the De-flickering bar on LRT or you can use a plug-in called FlickerFree, It's a bit expensive but so worth it trust me.. you can download the Demo version and try it out on sequence you think were ruined by the flicker. 

So, apply it on the sequence, select Time-lapse on the effects section and render it! DONE! Easy Peasy! 

For the Sunset/Sunrise Timelapse more or less the way of De-Flicker is the same, You only need to follow a different path on LRT, for the manual sequence, click on Keyframe Wizard and then Holy Grail Wizard, save and edit the Keyframe Photos on Lightroom, save the Metadata, reload on LRT and click Auto Transition and save it. 

For the AV sequence, you do the same as the daylight Timelapse, but instead of creating 2 Keyframes, it is best to create at least 5 as the light and colours are changing during your sequence. 

Then on After Effect, you render the video and again, if LRT wasn't perfect add the Flicker-free Plug-in and that's it! 

So, this is how I normally De-flicker a Timelapse, if you want to see the in-dept tutorials for LRT, here the videos made by Gunther which are very well done! 

https://lrtimelapse.com/tutorial/

I hope this tutorial will help you to take your TImelapse to the next level! Of course If you have any questions, please leave me a comment below,

Thank you so much for reading!


Follow me on Instagram @mattiabicchi

Check out my Timelapse gear: https://kit.com/MattiaBicchi

KYRGYZSTAN | Karakol Peak, Travel Blog n.4

Before the last week of my trip by myself will start, we drove from our previous location, Toktogul Lake, to the capital of Kyrgyzstan, Bishkek, where I stayed for one night to recharge the battery and relax.

The drive to Bishkek was long, about 6 hours, the highlights of the journey was definitely the 4,000m high pass that looked like Iceland and an astonishing valley where we stopped for lunch, full of yellow flowers, horses and cows. In Kyrgyzstan after winter, you can find Yurt tents beside the road and often the family will sell homemade food and a place to eat. If you visit, make sure to stop by as the food is delicious.

Finally, we arrived in Bishkek, we said goodbye to Albert, which was delightful to work with! From now the rest of the trip will be by myself.

After a good night sleep and an excellent breakfast, I was ready to go to Karakol, on the east of the country, lately getting more popular, particularly during winter for the ski resorts and slops. Perfect if you want to escape the traditional, expensive and crowded Alps resorts.

On our way, we stopped to Konorchek Canyon, a beautiful red earth canyon close by the road, easy to access during summer, as we have to walk for about 40 minutes up the river, which was dry. I made a couple of Timelapse and ran away as a thunderstorm was approaching.

We also passed by the second largest saline lake, Issyk Kul, which it reminds me of Lake Titikaka, like in Bolivia, you can see the high and snowy mountain range all around the lake. STUNNING!

Issyk Kul

Issyk Kul

The next day my adventure begins, 4 days hiking tour without any mobile connection, I had to prep my Loka F-stop Gear Backpack as light as possible, my guide suggested no more than 15kg, I think at the end mine was around 17/18kg. When you shoot, timelapse gear is always a bit of an issue, eheh!

This was my gear list and of course clothes:

Sony A7RIII

Sony A7III

Canon 16-35 f/4L

Canon 70-200 f/4L

Samyang 24 f/2.8

Manfrotto BeFree Carbon Fibre

Rhino ROV Pro Traveler Slider

Hoya ND PRO - 64/100/200/1000 and Polarise

4 - 128GB , 4 - 64GB SandDisk Extreme Pro

3 - Anker Power Bank, - 20,000mAh, 21,000mAh, 15,000mAh

Rode VideoMicro

Cables.

The first day was a 5 hours horse-ride through Karakol Valley, and the goal was to reach Karakol Peak base, where I will sleep in a tent for one night. With me I had a tour guide and a porter, they would provide food, shelter and sleeping bag, the only thing I brought was an inflatable camping mattress and a pillow, to make sure I was able to sleep a bit comfier.

The ride was incredible, we passed through a river, a pine forest and a rocky valley, my horse, luckily was very calm and relaxed, as I am no expert on horse riding I was a bit concerned of the safety of such long ride. But it turned out to be a real pleasure.

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Once we got to the destination, I started exploring for a bit, while the guides were preparing the base camp. The light was perfect, you could see the huge Karakol peak and its glacier at the bottom of the valley with some stormy clouds on the mountains. I got the Rhino ROV Pro out and found some flowers and rocks as a foreground to add to the composition.

After I finished the Timelapse, clouds started to came in, and suddenly it started raining, JUST IN TIME!

I went back to the tent and wait until the rain will stop; meanwhile, we got a thunderstorm, some hail and strong wind. I was a bit concerned that I wouldn’t be able to shoot the sunset that day.

After 2 hours, as the rain came, it went away… The beauty of being in the middle of the mountains is that the weather can change drastically in a very short time.

And at the end some light started coming through the clouds, lighting up the peaks and as the rain was still pouring in that direction, you could see very clearly the sunray! IT WAS MAGNIFICENT!

Happy with the result I went back to the tent hoping to get maybe clear sky during the night to catch some moonlight, but unfortunately it rained all night long. Luckily when I woke up at 4am in the morning, everything was calm, got some clouds in the distance, but that would still be good for some colour reflections.

Just beside the campsite, there was a small pond where you could see the reflection of Karakol Peak, the perfect spot for sunrise! I set up my tripod and the Sony A7RIII inside and close to the water. The interval for this shot was faster than usual 4-sec interval, as the clouds were moving fast, I wanted to get smooth motion, I put the camera in AV mode, f/4, Auto ISO 100-500 and let it do its magic!

Alone, with only animals surround me, at 5am with -2 C, I enjoyed the sun rising, happy to be alive.

To see more of the BTS of the trip check out the Kyrgyzstan Highlights Stories and follow me on Instagram @mattiabicchi

Check out my Timelapse gear: https://kit.com/MattiaBicchi

KYRGYZSTAN | Sary-Chelek & Toktogul lake, Travel Blog n.3

Our trip moves further north, this time to a rather spectacular Alpine Lake.

We drove from the morning till around 5 pm, going through some epic mountains, high peaks, valleys, and at one point we were passing through green hills that looked a bit Tuscany, instead of cypress, there were small pine trees.

We arrived at the guest house 'CBT Artik (B&B)' in the afternoon, a super cute place, new building with showers and bathroom, where we stayed for the night. As the lake is part of a national park formed during the Soviet Union, since then there is a time frame when they open and close the gate which unfortunately was closing before the sunset and after the sunrise, also a fee to pay every time you enter.

We had to make a decision, going in to scout for a short time and see if it was worth coming back the day after or going back to the main road and shoot a beautiful red rock formation beside the way which was perfectly lit at that moment. We went for both! :P

The entrance fee at the gate wasn't that cheap, compared with the other prices you find in Kyrgyzstan, I think was around 400 som or 5 euros, per person. But the road to get to the lake was well maintained, and it took us 40minutes to get to it.

Apparently, this lake is very famous in the country, friends and local families come here to enjoy a day out and drinking vodka. Something that I often saw in Kyrgyzstan and enjoyed was that when locals see tourists, they most likely want to take a picture with you, as tourism is not yet significant, seeing a tourist is still rare for them. :)

The lake was stunning, very similar to an Alpine lake you could find in the Italian Alps or Swiss Alps, turquoise crystal clear water and mountains on the sides. We stayed for an hour looking around, and at the end I shot only one Timelapse, not looking at the lake, but at the green mountains on the right side, as the sun was lighting it up and the clouds' shadows moving fast, it was a perfect scene.

Sary-Chelek Lake

Sary-Chelek Lake

It was almost time for sunset, so we headed back to the main road and found the beautiful red rock that Albert spotted on our way up, I put the camera down on a small pond to get the reflection and got the timelapse running.

The day after we went back to the lake, this time on the left side, as I saw that there was a high vantage point to see the lake. The view was SPECTACULAR!

I set up my 1m slider high enough to get the tall wild grass and flowers moving through the frame and started shooting the beautiful scene. The light was good, the clouds were white and puffy, the only annoying thing was the hundreds of insects surrounding me!

After Sary Chelek was time for the next location, Toktogul Reservoir, home of the largest Hydroelectric Station in Kyrgyzstan, again the drive was incredible, so many viewpoints and a variety of landscape, I really enjoyed travelling through Kyrgyzstan by car!

Toktogul is enormous, our hotel “Менманкана Hotel” was in the south of the lake, very close to the beach, and people were having a swim, as the day was nice and warm. I went down to the shore, set up the Sony A7RIII and the Canon 70-200 f/4L and started to shoot, the light hitting the canyons and the mountains on the other side of the lake were TRULY SPECTACULAR.

The morning after, I woke up at 4am to catch the sunrise, this time I got my slider out shooting a right to left movement with the rocks of the beach as foreground and hoping for a beautiful reflection on the water.

I was totally alone and as the sun was rising, I relaxed and enjoying the time passing by.

Dynamic Perception Stage One Shooting a Time lapse of the Sunrise at Toktogul

Dynamic Perception Stage One Shooting a Time lapse of the Sunrise at Toktogul

To see more of the BTS of the trip check out the Kyrgyzstan Highlights Stories and follow me on Instagram @mattiabicchi

Check out my Timelapse gear: https://kit.com/MattiaBicchi

KYRGYZSTAN | Arslanbob, Travel Blog n.2 - Part.2

After few hours driving North from the previous location, we arrived at the beautiful village of Arslanbob, famous for the biggest wild Walnut forest in the world that surrounds the village and also for the majestic snowy peaks of 4,000m high behind it.

The village is quite small, full of life with friendly people, in some way it resembles the town of Aguas Calientes in Peru near Machu Picchu, less the tons of tourists! In the main square, many locals are getting together to buy groceries at the market or have something to eat at the restaurants, creating a chaotic, yet beautiful atmosphere.

We stayed two nights here at the Friendship Guest House’ (they had a standard toilet and a shower) where we met some other travellers, two of them, a young couple that was travelling through the country with only public transports, very impressive!

As soon as we got our stuff ready, we went out scouting, as we only found few photos of the area on the internet, one picture, in particular, got our attention, a forest with the peaks reflecting on a beautiful lake. We did a little research on Google maps and BAM!!! we found two lakes just outside of the village.

The day we arrived the weather was pretty bad, grey sky and rainy, luckily it was quite easy to find the lake we were looking for, we walked just for a few minutes through a beautiful and green walnut forest and found the perfect spot. Unfortunately, due to the weather, we couldn’t see anything, no peaks, no mountains, just the lake and the woods behind, but still happy with the scouting. We headed back to the hotel for an excellent and tasty dinner!

The day after we woke up at 4 am to see if the weather had changed, but it was raining cats and dogs, so we went back to sleep.

The day got better after breakfast, the sun was out, and the temperature raised! We went back to the lakes, but this time we tried a different road which seems fastest at first, but it was in the worst condition, luckily we had a 4x4, so we made it quite far, but at the end, we got stuck. However, our skilled driver and guide were able to free the jeep and decided to go back on the first road.

Finally, we arrived at the spot we found the day before, the only issue was that day the high clouds were covering all the peaks, definitely better than the day before, but not interesting enough to shoot it. So we decided to come back later in the afternoon, to maybe catch the sunset.

We headed to the local attraction, a waterfall, which was very interesting but too busy with locals tourist, which I didn’t expect!

On the other side of the waterfall, the super green fairy-tale Walnut forest, full of colourful flowers was SO BEAUTIFUL!!

We explored a bit around the area, and almost instantly I found the perfect subject to shoot, an old and big walnut tree, I set up the slider on vertical and used the Pan and Tilt to frame the top of the tree and all the green leaves! While the Timelapse was going up a thunderstorm was approaching, I got a bit scared for a moment as I was standing in the middle of a forest, beside a 1.5m Carbon Fibre slider! Luckily the Timelapse finished just in time!

We then went back to the lake to check if the peaks were out, and man! The stormy clouds were still there, but the mountains were visible and surrounded by majestic clouds! I immediately started shooting, but after 1 hour, a thunderstorm hit us, I waterproofed everything and wait under the rain to see if some sun-rays on the left side of the mountains were coming out, but they didn’t, I got soaked!

Got some beautiful footage tho, from before the rain, so we happily went back to the guest house and set the alarm at 4 am to catch the sunrise, hopefully with the clear sky this time!

At 4.45am we got to the lake, no clouds, still water and a bit of fog on the lake surface. IT WAS PERFECT!

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Albert and I got in position, and I started the first Timelapse with the A7rIII and the Canon 16-35 f/4L, then I set up the other camera the A7III with the Canon 70-200 f/4L to have a close up of the mountains. We stayed there till 9 am surrounded by the sounds of the morning and the birds waking up. I shot as well a couple of Timelapse of the Sun-rays going through the Walnut forest behind us.

I think this area would also be fantastic to shoot and visit during autumn when all the leaves will change colour from green to orange/yellow. Hopefully, one day, I will come back!

To see more of the BTS of the trip check out the Kyrgyzstan Highlight Stories and follow me on Instagram @mattiabicchi

Check out my Timelapse gear: https://kit.com/MattiaBicchi

KYRGYZSTAN | Kojo-Kelen, Travel Blog n.2 - Part.1

After coming back from the incredible Lenin Peak we stopped for one night in Osh to restore our energy and for a good shower. (Ah something I forgot in the previous post, toilets in Kyrgyzstan are a bit different from the ones we use back home, the majority of the towns, some part of the cities and remote locations, don’t have a sewer system, so what they do is digging an hole in ground, cover it with a wooden floor, leave a small hole in the middle and build 3 walls, a roof and a door around it).

After a refreshing night at the Hotel in Osh, we got in our Toyota and our guide drove us for few hours to the next destination, Kojo-Kelen village, which it’s at the end of a 2 hours drive alongside a river and inside an incredible canyon of high mountains.

Motion Control Time lapse with the Dynamic Perception Stage One and R

Motion Control Time lapse with the Dynamic Perception Stage One and R

While we were driving through the jaw-dropping canyon I was looking for a spot to Timelapse, in a scenery like that is quite difficult as you have high peaks on both side and a river in the middle, but after an hour driving, the canyon opened up and on the left side of the river there was a house with nice rocky field looking down the canyon, we asked the landowner if we could stop for a bit and I started to set up my slider, low down on the ground and behind some rocks to hide few houses in the valley.

Happy with the result we said thanks to the owner and resumed our drive to the village and on the road we bumped into the local traffic, sheep, horses and cows! :)

When we finally arrived I was mesmerised by the beautiful red rocks and cliffs that surround the village, the day was also perfect to enjoy the full colours as the sky was blue, giving a nice contrast with the red of the rocks.

That night we were staying at a beautiful Yurt Tent at a Guest House in the village, owned by a very friendly and welcoming local family, also the only guest house in the village at the moment. I really advise staying in guest houses, because in this way you are experiencing the true local food (which is delicious) and lifestyle.

After lunch we decided to explore the mountains and try to reach the high pass at 4000m a bit further down the village, the drive to the path was epic, the landscape was so different from what we’ve seen so far, the ground was so green and in the background the snowy high peaks, STUNNING!

Our brave and skilled driver brought us as close as possible to the path, I loved how happy he was by driving these roads, that was his playground! :)

We started walking and looking for some nice location, after about 30min Albert and I noticed a nice valley full of yellow flowers a river and a gorgeous peak in the background, THAT WAS IT!

We took out our gear and start shooting!

On our way back we stopped by the road, as a part of the river caught Albert‘s eyes! We found a nice spot where the river was surrounded by colourful flowers and very green vegetation, I couldn’t resist so I took out my 1,5m slider and shot a motion Timelapse, which made us late for dinner, ops! But totally worth it!

The first week I wanted so badly to shoot the Milky Way and the night sky, as Kyrgyzstan has almost no light pollution, but unfortunately, every single night was cloudy or with rain and that night wasn’t different as a thunderstorm hit the village. After all, we are in the mountains, the weather can get crazy very quickly!

To see more of the BTS of the trip check out the Kyrgyzstan Highlight Stories and follow me on Instagram @mattiabicchi

Check out my Timelapse gear: https://kit.com/MattiaBicchi