Help Im stuck - Live composite for Long Exposure??

Discussion in 'Olympus Cameras' started by woollyback, Oct 18, 2016.

  1. woollyback

    woollyback Mu-43 Veteran

    Oct 20, 2015
    Hello all,

    I am looking to do some long exposure water type stuff using a ND filter.

    How would I use the live composite feature for this - I cant seem to grasp it.

    The first shutter press takes a normal exposure and subsequent shutter press kicks off multiple exposures which are composited in camera

    Would the initial nor mal exposure be without the ND filter and if so what purpose does it serve?

    I must be missing something obvious

    Thanks for any advice

  2. alan1972

    alan1972 Mu-43 Top Veteran Subscribing Member

    Jun 23, 2012
    Malaga, Spain
    Alan Grant
    Firstly, Live Composite may or may not be the best solution for this type of exposure. Sometimes a single long exposure with the ND filter is just as good or better. If you wish you can use Live Time (a completely separate thing to Live Composite) to decide the length of this exposure by viewing how it changes in real time (although there is a limit on how many frames can be displayed). Live Time doesn't change the actual photo compared to simply manually setting a slow shutter speed - the only difference is that you decide the exposure length during rather than before the exposure. If you have not tried long exposures with ND filters before, it is probably worth getting used to this method (single long exposure, no compositing) before moving on to Live Composite.

    Assuming you do want to try Live Composite, it is important to understand that you will never actually see the result of the first shutter press - it does not get saved in a way that is visible to the photographer. I think it is used to help with noise reduction. You want this to have the same exposure as the "real" photo, so you should have the ND filter already on.

    The second shutter press then triggers a series of identical exposures, and composites them by taking the brightest value of each pixel across all exposures. If nothing at all is moving or changing in brightness in the scene, the final composite photo will be identical to the first one in the sequence. If some areas become darker but no areas become brighter, again the composite will simply be equal to the first in the sequence. But if some areas are brighter at some times than others, the composite will show these areas as bright. So if you have generally dark water but with white foamy waves moving across it, you will typically see an increasingly large white area as successive exposures capture the white waves in different parts of the frame.

    A nice thing about Live Composite is that the viewfinder will keep on updating to show the current exposure for as long as the exposure is running (which is limited only by battery power). So unlike Live Time you can always base your decision about when to stop the exposure on up-to-date information.

    Also it allows very long exposures without "burning out" highlights as the exposures are not added together. But it can also introduce odd effects compared to an ordinary long exposure (e.g. depending on the speed things are moving you might see evidence of the gaps between exposures, or if people wearing bright clothing move across the scene you might see something like a ghostly pair of white trousers appearing repeatedly across the frame.

    All in all the only way to really figure it out is to practice - ideally starting in a situation where the results are not important! For example you can easily get an idea of how Live Composite works by moving a flashlight or phone LED around in a dimly lit room.

    I hope that helps, if anything was not clear ask again.
    • Informative Informative x 2
  3. woollyback

    woollyback Mu-43 Veteran

    Oct 20, 2015

    Thank you so much for the very detailed reply

    It is the live time option I need as I want to see the exposure develop and end it once correct exposure is achieved. My experience with ND is that once you commit to a long exposure it's a bummer if you could have done with an extra few seconds Once you view it on the screen once completed

    I will do a bit of digging re live time - any tips you can share would be great

    Thanks again

  4. runner girl

    runner girl Mu-43 Veteran Subscribing Member

    Nov 26, 2011
    image. I use ND filters for Live Composite a lot. I find I can get good results with a weaker filter and don't get the blown out highlights. I do a bunch of wave action shots and clouds at sunrise shots. I can always see how they are "developing" and stop them when I'm satisfied.
    • Like Like x 2
  5. Bill R

    Bill R Mu-43 Rookie

    Feb 25, 2016
    Nice image Runner Girl!
  6. runner girl

    runner girl Mu-43 Veteran Subscribing Member

    Nov 26, 2011
    Thank you,
  7. LundyD

    LundyD Mu-43 Regular

    Feb 19, 2013
    Dayton, OH, U.S.A.
    Dave Lundy
    Thanks for the explanation of those two modes. I'm eagerly awaiting the O-MD EM-1 Mk II, which will be my first Olympus camera. I've been using MFT since getting a Panasonic DMC-GH1 in 2009, but Panny has no similar exposure mode. I'm thinking the composite mode would work well for a fireworks display with a city skyline in the background such as this shot of Cincinnati Reds post-game display.
  8. barry13

    barry13 Super Moderator; Photon Wrangler Subscribing Member

    Mar 7, 2014
    Southern California
    Quite possibly.
    It's easy to get too many fireworks in one shot, so maybe start around 5-10 seconds.
  9. Sniksekk

    Sniksekk Mu-43 Veteran Subscribing Member

    Apr 7, 2015
    IMG_8241.JPG This is taken with 12-40 f18 or 22 (highest possible cant remember what number that is) nd4, live composite and 30 sec + shot.
    • Like Like x 2
  10. Sniksekk

    Sniksekk Mu-43 Veteran Subscribing Member

    Apr 7, 2015
    I had to put on nd filter on my picture cause it was overexposed.
    Can't remember if the ISO was high, it was raining and cold so just needed to take that picture (look at my earlier reply for picture).
  11. Bill R

    Bill R Mu-43 Rookie

    Feb 25, 2016
    Columbia River Bridge 7136. Canyon Creek 7065 sml.
    After viewing this post...I have become a huge fan of variable ND and Live Time (day and night shooting). The daytime shot was made after crawling down a very steep and unstable canyon.
    • Like Like x 1
  12. Giiba

    Giiba Something to someone somewhere Subscribing Member

    Aug 19, 2016
    Burnaby, BC
    I think it is worth clarifying this statement, please excuse my ocd :biggrin:

    The first exposure for Live Composite is the noise reduction. If you observe the camera's behaviour, the first shutter release closes the shutter, takes an exposure the same length as your planned exposure, then opens the shutter again. This is the same as the dark frame subtraction function for long exposures, but is done before the exposure and presumably applied to each exposure before the compositing of frames (lighten layering) happens in camera.

    So, there is no "first" image to view and it does not matter if you have the nd filter or composition in order first.
Similar Threads Forum Date
C-AF Lock -help please. Olympus Cameras Mar 12, 2017
Help needed with multiple AF points EM1ii Olympus Cameras Mar 2, 2017
Hi-Res Help... Olympus Cameras Mar 1, 2017
M1 Mark ii - Help with weird pixels !!! Olympus Cameras Feb 11, 2017
thats all into m43... Olympus Cameras Aug 12, 2012