6DMkII sunset timelapse tutorial

6dmkii sunset timelapse tutorial
6dmkii sunset timelapse tutorial

This blog is all about my latest 6DMkII sunset timelapse tutorial. If you want to find the easiest way to shoot a holy grail timelapse then you've come to the right spot!

What you need to shoot this sunset timelapse:

What you need to edit the timelapse:

  • Nothing! That's the beauty of this technique. The camera will render a video file for you and there's no need to edit anything at all.

6DMKII sunset timelapse tutorial:

  • Turn your camera's mode dial to Aperture Priority or Av mode.
  • Switch to video mode.
  • Go to Menu > Timelapse video and enable ‘Timelapse Movie Mode'.
  • Select 4K or HD timelapse. 4K timelapse is 4 times bigger than HD.
  • Select your desired interval, I went with 6 seconds.
  • Select a large number of shots. You can always stop the camera before the sequence ends by hitting the shutter button.
  • Select ‘Each frame' at Auto Exposure. This will measure the brightness for every photo and ramp the exposure gradually.
  • Enable ‘LCD auto off' to save battery. You can always press the info button to check on the sequence. Just make sure you don't bump the camera or tripod when doing this.
  • Disable the beep or leave it enabled. Your preference.
  • Half press the shutter button to leave the menu. Frame up your shot and make sure everything is in focus.
  • Switch your lens to Manual Focus.
  • Set your desired Aperture and make sure your ISO is set to auto.
  • Press the shutter button to take a test shot. Press the Start/Stop button to get ready to shoot the timelapse movie.
  • Once you're ready to go press the shutter button and the sequence will start. Let it run until it's over or you can quit the sequence by pressing the shutter button.

How the 6DMkII time-lapse movie mode works:

When enabling ‘auto exposure each frame' for your time-lapse movie the 6DMkII will measure the brightness of the scene for every single photo it takes. With fixed exposure it won't change any settings. Over the course of the sequence, as the light changes, the camera will gradually change the exposure settings by changing the shutter speed and iso value. It takes hundreds of photos and at the end of the sequence compiles these photos in a video file without any exposure flickering. It's the gradual change of exposure settings that prevents the flickering. The codec for the canon timelapse movie mode is Motion JPEG.  As this codec has an enormous bitrate the video will play back in a choppy way, it actually says ‘frame skip' next to the play button.

On playback you can edit the movie file. You can cut off the beginning or end, add music and overwrite the original file or export it as a new video file. This is great if you want to extract a small part out of a larger timelapse on the camera before sharing it to your phone using the wireless communications settings.

A couple of thoughts on the 6DMkII timelapse movie mode:

  • You can't ramp (gradually change) the white balance of the sequence.
  • A night shot should always be a bit underexposed. You can fix this by colour grading the ending of your sequence in your desired editing software and slowly cross fading into the graded shot at the end of the sequence.
  • If you want full control over all the settings and if you want to be able to exposure ramp and gradually change the white balance I recommend checking out LRTimelapse by Gunther Wegner. LRTimelapse is the world's leading timelapse software and a must have for any professional.
  • What about Sony cameras, haven't they been doing this for ages? Yup, that's right, and that's good for them. However I prefer Canon cameras and lenses for a lot of reasons. Ergonomics, battery life, weather sealing, colour science etc to name a few. To be fair any camera can shoot great timelapses, it's more about the operator than the gear.
  • As for Nikon, apparently the D810 and D850 have this setting too and it's called ‘exposure smoothing'. Thanks for the tip, Chris R on youtube!

Get all the best tools and techniques to become a great timelapse photographer.