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Live Composite and Fireworks

Discussion in 'Olympus Cameras' started by nublar, Jun 18, 2015.

  1. nublar

    nublar Mu-43 Regular

    159
    Jan 22, 2013
    SOCAL
    What shutter speed, aperture, and ISO do you guys typically use for shooting fireworks with live composite? Is the remote shutter on the android app good enough? Never shot fireworks with LC before and want to get some tips before July 4th comes around =)
     
  2. DeeJayK

    DeeJayK Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Feb 8, 2011
    Pacific Northwest, USA
    Keith
  3. nublar

    nublar Mu-43 Regular

    159
    Jan 22, 2013
    SOCAL
    Thanks!
     
  4. Phocal

    Phocal Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 3, 2014
    Actually that thread is completely useless for Live Composite, it is discussing Live View which is a bit different.

    I am also wondering if anyone has any tips for using Live Composite for fireworks. Particularly what exposure time seems to work the best? From what I have been able to find (not much out there really, what seem to be great videos about using Live Composite are in languages other then English) it seems like 4 or 6 seconds. As the 4th happens once a year and there are really only two big firework events during the year (here in the U.S. that is) I really want to get this right. Especially since I will be getting into my location about 5 hours early to ensure a good spot and it's hot this time of the year in Houston.
     
  5. barry13

    barry13 Super Moderator; Photon Wrangler

    Mar 7, 2014
    Southern California
    Barry
  6. hazwing

    hazwing Mu-43 All-Pro

    Nov 25, 2012
    Australia
  7. barry13

    barry13 Super Moderator; Photon Wrangler

    Mar 7, 2014
    Southern California
    Barry
    I know it's late for today's fireworks, but for reference, this is how I shot tonight on my E-M1 (firmware 3.1) and 12-40mm (at 12mm):

    A tripod and a remote shutter release would be a good idea, but I just rested the camera on my knees and tilted the display upwards.

    First, focus at the proper distance, and disable A/F. (you can focus on a firework burst if you have to. Then disable A/F.)
    Make sure you don't bump the focus ring afterwards. Check focus occasionally and/or put tape on it.

    A. Live Composite
    MANUAL Mode. Turn Shutter Speed dial until "Live Composite" is selected (past 60 seconds and past "Live View" (whatever that is)).
    ISO locked at 200.
    Aperture f4

    The pictures seemed to come out OK, but I got tired of having to hit the shutter button 3 times for each shot. Also, the fireworks I was watching all had nearly the same detonation point, so there was too much overlap for a good long exposure image. This probably would be better at a larger display where the fireworks are more spread out.


    B. BULB Mode
    MANUAL Mode. Turn Shutter Speed dial until "BULB" is selected
    ISO locked at 200.
    Aperture f5.6
    Hold Shutter for desired length of time.

    The pictures were getting somewhat overexposed, probably due to the overlap mentioned above, and I didn't like having to hold the shutter down as it caused more camera shake.


    C. Full Manual
    MANUAL Mode. Turn Shutter Speed to 2.5 - 3.2 seconds (longer should be possible, but note overlap problems)
    ISO locked at 200.
    Aperture f5.6
    Press Shutter when you see the mortar 'trails' approach detonation altitude.

    The pictures were getting a little overexposed in some spots, probably due to the overlap mentioned above.
    I then tried f8 but they looked too dark upon chimping so I went back to f5.6... now that I'm on the computer it looks like the f8 ones were fine.

    I was still in full manual for the grand finale, and from what I saw on the screen, everything looked fine.


    Note if you set the shutter speed to much longer than 3.5" and have Dark Frame Subtraction (aka Noise Reduction?) set to 'Auto', then the DFS will fire after every shot. You may or may not consider that desirable.

    I wanted to try some light painting with sparklers, as in https://www.mu-43.com/threads/77951/ but I didn't get a chance tonight.
    Also, sparklers are extremely dangerous... see http://petapixel.com/2015/04/28/how...-cost-me-my-career-as-a-wedding-photographer/ for some bloody details.


    See below for examples.

    Barry
     
    Last edited: Jul 5, 2015
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  8. barry13

    barry13 Super Moderator; Photon Wrangler

    Mar 7, 2014
    Southern California
    Barry
    It's a little difficult to separate the pictures as I can't find anything in the EXIF that indicates Live Composite was used, except that the exposure seems to show 1" on all of them (even though the actual time was random).

    Anyways, I'm pretty sure these are grouped correctly. Please ignore that many of them exhibit camera shake; I was not using a tripod and many of them were handheld. I eventually wizened up and put the camera on my knees, but there may still be some shake from shutter presses and people constantly bumping into me.

    In order to save time and for consistency's sake, all of the images are SOOC (from the RAW embedded previews), except for the resize with ImageMagick Mogrify. No other PP was done, at all.

    Live Composite (f4, ISO 200, various total exposures times somewhere between 1-15"):
    E7040152.JPG E7040154.JPG E7040156.JPG E7040158.JPG
    (All E-M1 and 12-40mm @12mm)

    Barry
     
    Last edited: Jul 5, 2015
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  9. barry13

    barry13 Super Moderator; Photon Wrangler

    Mar 7, 2014
    Southern California
    Barry
    I'm having trouble finding the BULB shots from the EXIF data.

    Full Manual
    -- 2.5", f5.6, ISO200:
    E7040169.JPG E7040172.JPG E7040174.JPG E7040177.JPG
    (All E-M1 and 12-40mm @12mm)

    Barry
     
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  10. barry13

    barry13 Super Moderator; Photon Wrangler

    Mar 7, 2014
    Southern California
    Barry
    Full Manual -- 3.2", f5.6, ISO200 -- note that longer shutter time doesn't change the brightness of the trails, but they can be longer and you can capture more shell bursts (too many bursts in one place can cause overexposure though):
    E7040184.JPG E7040186.JPG E7040189.JPG E7040191.JPG
    (All E-M1 and 12-40mm @12mm)

    Barry
     
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  11. barry13

    barry13 Super Moderator; Photon Wrangler

    Mar 7, 2014
    Southern California
    Barry
    I was going to post some of the f8 shots, but I think I've already hijacked this thread enough.

    Anyways, sort of back on topic... here's some shots of the grand finale; these are still in manual mode (3.2", f5.6, ISO200), but I suspect Live Composite would probably still have been too bright in the center of the last images.

    E7040226.JPG E7040227.JPG E7040228.JPG E7040229.JPG E7040231.JPG E7040232.JPG
    (All E-M1 and 12-40mm @12mm)

    Barry
     
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  12. barry13

    barry13 Super Moderator; Photon Wrangler

    Mar 7, 2014
    Southern California
    Barry
    FYI, I've seen posts saying you can set a shutter time in Live Composite... probably in some other mode than Manual.

    Barry
     
  13. Phocal

    Phocal Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 3, 2014
    Once in you are in Live Composite you hit menu and can change the shutter time
     
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  14. alan1972

    alan1972 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    592
    Jun 23, 2012
    Malaga, Spain
    Alan Grant
    You have to be in Manual to use Live Composite. As Phocal said, once in "LIVE COMP" you hit the menu button and it allows you to select a shutter speed between half a second and 60 seconds for each individual exposure within the composite. I don't think there is any prompt on the screen that would enable you to guess this - it is hardly obvious that the Menu button controls shutter speed! You would have to have read the manual or otherwise seen it described to know about it.

    This individual exposure shutter speed is the value that gets recorded in the EXIF - as far as I can see there is no way of knowing subsequently what the total exposure was, or even that Live Composite was used, which can be a little frustrating if you are trying to figure out some time later what worked and what didn't. From what you said earlier it sounds like you used a default of 1 second for the individual exposures.
     
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  15. barry13

    barry13 Super Moderator; Photon Wrangler

    Mar 7, 2014
    Southern California
    Barry
    Yeah, the EXIF showed 1".

    So even if you choose a shutter setting, you still have to hit the shutter release button 3 times for each shot? Or maybe only 2 times?

    Barry
     
  16. Phocal

    Phocal Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 3, 2014
    So I set up for the fireworks using my EM1 with my Bower 7.5mm fisheye lens, mounted on a tripod. I started at a shutter speed of 4 seconds, which really exposed the crowd very well but was not working for the fireworks. The fireworks here in Houston seemed to be exploding in a very small area, leading to overexposure of the burst. I dialed it down to 2 seconds, then to 1 second and finally ended at 1/2 second. I found that at 1/2 second it allowed me see what was happening with the fireworks and end the shot before it got to overexposed and still exposed the crowd somewhat.

    My first real time doing fireworks and using Live Composite so I am more or less happy with my results. These are all 1/2 second shutter speed exposures, I do not have that Olympus program (what ever it is called) so I can't find out how many exposures it stacked using LR (I just stopped it when I liked the display). These are all cropped some, but not defished (I like the curved look in them personally). The first one is the only one taken before I moved the camera, the rest are from the exact same view.

    Any and all CC is welcomed as well as more discussion on using this great feature.

    19419528276_87d676df19_b.
    _-1
    by Bohicat, on Flickr

    19439286512_5b6c89a0a9_b.
    _-2
    by Bohicat, on Flickr

    19449837571_d75e9c861c_b.
    _-3
    by Bohicat, on Flickr

    18824947133_f0abe6b39c_b.
    _-4
    by Bohicat, on Flickr

    18823056444_f1cd1b05cf_b.
    _-5
    by Bohicat, on Flickr

    19259377579_b197e24459_b.
    _-6
    by Bohicat, on Flickr

    19259363169_5a65ce8c70_b.
    _-7
    by Bohicat, on Flickr

    18824883263_38e0e0d179_b.
    _-8
    by Bohicat, on Flickr

    19439181232_2df98e2358_b.
    _-9
    by Bohicat, on Flickr

    19257908658_4d19e371ab_b.
    _-10
    by Bohicat, on Flickr

    19445445905_ee9e6aa45d_b.
    _-11
    by Bohicat, on Flickr
     
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  17. Phocal

    Phocal Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 3, 2014
    Twice to start and once to end, so I guess three times for each shot.
     
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  18. Phocal

    Phocal Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 3, 2014
    Forgot......I did a fast edit on one photo and just did a copy/paste settings in LR to the others.....so they are a rough edit........not a lot of time today to edit.....when I get some time I will finish editing the ones I really like and post some final edit examples.
     
  19. alan1972

    alan1972 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    592
    Jun 23, 2012
    Malaga, Spain
    Alan Grant
    3 times. Once for the "preparatory" shot (the exact purpose of which Olympus are rather vague about), once to start the composite, and once to end the composite. The chosen shutter setting tells the camera the individual exposure but it doesn't know how many exposures you want until you stop the exposure by hitting the shutter the final time. I sometimes find this easier via the Remote Shutter in the Wifi app but that just replaces 3 button presses with 3 screen taps.

    Note that you can't really NOT choose a shutter setting - if you don't hit the menu button you are in effect "choosing" the last setting you used (or the default of 1 second if you have never changed it as in your case).
     
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  20. Phocal

    Phocal Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 3, 2014
    The app did not show me Live Composite, only Bulb and Live View.