My Timelapse Flickers and Blinks

Different frames seem to have different exposures like this:

Such problems can sometimes be fixed sometimes in post by programs like LR Timelapse and Flicker Free  – but it’s easier to just avoid them in the first place.  Here are some common ways flicker happens:

You have something not set to manual. Auto iris, autofocus, and auto ISO are all the bane of timelapse.  Get all these settings turned off if possible and set your camera to manual. Note that some things, like the auto iris found in most electronic lenses, may not be something you actually can turn off. You may need to get a manual prime like those recommended in my gear guide.

Shutter exposure inconsistency occurs from short exposures in bright light. Any slight variation in shutter length can cause flicker and some cameras just aren’t ‘perfect enough’ at very fast settings.  Occasionally, light can even leak down the viewfinder.  Try lengthening your exposures, cover your viewfinder with something like a black tape, or get a camera with more mechanical consistency like a 6D.

There isn’t a problem. It’s just the weather. Sometimes wispy high clouds or subtle variations in cloud patterns can cause a flickering look during shots that is actually natural. This problem is especially visible with moonlit night shots since these changes can change dramatically between frames. Here’s an example of scattered clouds causing severe flicker over a lava flow.  This was unavoidable in the situation:

Your import frame rate does not match your project or export frame rate (studio cause).  Timelapses from still cameras come in image sequences not stitched files – you need to make sure that your ‘import’ frame rate matches your ‘project’ and ‘export’ frame rates.  After Effects will either invent or skip frames to make up for errors here and your timelapse won’t look as smooth as you expect.  I usually do everything at flat 24.0 fps.

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