How to Create Amazing Nighttime Panoramas With 360-Degree Timelapse Photography

You’ve heard of timelapse photography–a technique often used to accentuate the movement of the sun, clouds, and stars. You may have also experimented with 360 degree panoramas.  But how about combining the two? That’s just what Vincent Brady did:

To get this effect, Vincent had to custom-create his own camera set-up: 4 cameras with fisheye lenses connected in a way that would allow him to both capture the entire sky and create a 360 degree panorama of the scene on Earth.

4 Camera Fisheye Set-up

Brady’s camera setup.

Each camera was then set to take continuous photos over a period of several hours (as long as their batteries would last).  Each shot was set for a one to two minute exposure, and after two to three hours he’d have between 100-200 photos. What you do next depends on which software you use, but basically you need to batch edit the photos, stack the images from each camera, “stitch” the photos into a panorama, and voilà—you have a 360 degree timelapse panorama.

Fisheye Timelapse

Tips For Shooting Nighttime 360-Degree Timelapse Videos

1. Explore the area in the daytime. Spend the daylight hours scouting out where you’ll shoot from—it’s no fun wandering about in the dark with all your gear. Return later when the sky is clear and the stars are where you want them to be.

2. Do your star research. Find out when the Milky Way will be where you want it to be and plan accordingly.

3. Have your battery scene together. You’ll need as much juice as possible to get the continuous photos with long exposures. In Vincent’s case, he had his cameras running as long as the batteries would last—generally two to three hours.

4. Get familiar with batch editing (if you’re not already). You’ll have somewhere between 100-200 photos from each camera if you’re using Vincent’s method—more if you have long-lasting batteries.

5. Know what software you’ll need. The editing for 360-degree panorama shooting is a bit more complex than standard timelapse photography. Vincent used a minimum of six different programs to make this video: Magic Lantern, LRTimelapse, StarStax, Photoshop CC, PTGui Pro, and Adobe Premiere Pro.

6. Have a lot of patience. The technical side of 360-degree timelapse star photography can be quite time-consuming, particularly when it comes time to stitch the four parts into a cohesive panorama.

360 Degree Timelapse

7. Have fun!  Being on the hunt for great star scenery can put you in place to see some of the most awe-inspiring night skies imaginable.

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