If there is one thing that can ruin your time lapse, this is probably the flickering. In this article, we will try to explain why it happens and how to never get it again!

What is time lapse flickering ?

If your time lapse is filled with little flashes then you are facing a time lapse flickering. This flickering is pretty annoying since it ruins the uniformity of the time lapse and makes it look quite messy. This phenomenon appears when the exposure between several shots differs. This can be subtle yet and it is noticeable when the pictures are finally merged. 

You can clearly notice the flickering in the example below: 

To find the cause of a flickering can be tough since there is an array of reasons! First of all, we can divide it in two kind:

  • the aperture flickering: When you take two shots at the same aperture, there is always slight margin of error. Since the value can’t be constant, you won’t have the exact same aperture value between two pictures. Which notably occurs when the aperture is managed by the camera. However, this doesn’t happen when you set the aperture directly on your camera lens. You can prevent this sort of flickering by setting the widest aperture: diaphragm will stay open and so the aperture will remain the same on each shot taken.

Learn more about aperture.

  • the shutter flickering: Likewise, some inconsistencies can be seen between several shots according to the shutter speed set. There is always a slight offset (few ms) which is logically easier to spot when you are on a high shutter speed. The solution here is to choose a low shutter speed.

Learn more about shutter speed

If you apply what we just suggest, you will end up with overexposed pictures. The best way to prevent that is to use an ND filter which will artificially change the exposure.

Filtre ND

ND filter effect. Source: Wikipedia

Finally, lots of causes can generate flickering. Some are hard to avoid such as a sky getting covered by clouds. You can waste a lots of time and energy on a long-term time lapse which will ends up being ruined by a flickering. Don’t give up ! Some editing solution lets you remove the flickering and can be very useful !

How to remove flickering?

When you have found the reason you get flickering on your time lapses, you can try the following solutions:

  • Set a low shutter speed
  • Shift to manual mode
  • Make sure the light is stable (if artificial lightening)
  • Set a wide aperture

If you have just made a long-term time lapse with flickering, don’t worry ! There is another solution which consists in editing the time lapse with a dedicated software/website. Plenty of solutions exist ! You can get a paid software, a freeware (which can be pretty limited), with different results. You can find online application and services that can help to remove flickering.

We know how flickering can be frustrating and that is the reason why we are in the process of integrating a flickering remover on our web app (my.preprodm2.enlaps.io). By the way, here is an example of what you will be able to get from our web app:

 

Now your turn ! Have you ever got flickering ? What do you use to remove them ? We are waiting to read your testimonies !