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Live Composite - First try w/ Sparklers

Discussion in 'Other Genres' started by bsdubois00, Jul 3, 2015.

  1. bsdubois00

    bsdubois00 Mu-43 Regular

    48
    Nov 10, 2011
    Houston, TX
    Got my new E-PL7 the other day and was excited to try out Live Composite so I bought some sparklers around the corner. We found that with the smoke you have to be VERY aware of the direction of the wind.

    First Try:

    19375491312_a09a0aed07_c. Light Painting by Brandon DuBois, on Flickr

    This was our FAVORITE:

    18761027793_1b44b659d8_c. Light Painting by Brandon DuBois, on Flickr

    This is going to be a SUPER FUN tool to play with!
     
    • Like Like x 7
  2. Phocal

    Phocal Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 3, 2014
    What were your settings for these.........
     
  3. TwoWheels

    TwoWheels Mu-43 Top Veteran

    679
    May 28, 2014
    British Columbia
    Evan
    Can you or anyone explain to me what Live Composite is and how it works? I've read the standard blurb about it a couple times, but at this point I don't really understand how it's different from a standard long exposure. Having said that, the few shots I've seen taken using it have been great...like these.
     
  4. bsdubois00

    bsdubois00 Mu-43 Regular

    48
    Nov 10, 2011
    Houston, TX
    Here is my non technical explanation:

    Live Composite allows you to stack photos in camera. You set the default exposure time to properly expose your scene and then the camera has two actions. The first time you press the shutter it will take a photo exposing your scene properly. The second time you press the shutter it will start "adding" any new light to the scene. You will be able to see on the LCD the camera doing its stacking automatically. Once you are happy with the results - press the shutter again.

    What this allows for is take a properly exposed scene without worrying about over exposing certain areas. Its great for star trails, light trails, fireworks, and tons of other fun things
     
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  5. bsdubois00

    bsdubois00 Mu-43 Regular

    48
    Nov 10, 2011
    Houston, TX
    The "LOVE" photo was 2.5 seconds at F4 and 800iso - the other photo was 1 second at F4 and 800iso - it was also pitch black in my back yard.
     
  6. Phocal

    Phocal Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 3, 2014
    Thank you.......you can really see the difference between the two exposure times, the 1 sec really does not show the person doing the writing. Nice job.

    I am wanting to experiment with this, not only for night shots but during the day also. I have seen some really great photos using Live Composite during the day and looking to give it a try.
     
  7. Phocal

    Phocal Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 3, 2014
    oh, any practice using this with fireworks? Going to try it out tomorrow and hope I get some good shots.
     
  8. alan1972

    alan1972 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    592
    Jun 23, 2012
    Malaga, Spain
    Alan Grant
    bsdubois00 pretty much covered it, but I thought I'd expand on the differences compared to Live Time as it took me a while to figure that part out initially.

    Live Composite works particularly well when there are other fairly bright but static elements in the frame (apart from the "moving" element you are trying to capture, fireworks or star trails etc.). For example think of fireworks exploding over an illuminated monument that you want to form part of the composition. With Live Time you would have to stop the exposure before the monument gets blown out, which might not give you enough time to include many firework bursts (or to get longish star trails). With Live Composite the exposure of the monument would not change after the first exposure, so you can let it run as long as you want until you are happy with the fireworks.

    Where the moving lights are the only thing in the frame (e.g. fireworks against a dark sky), there is probably not much to choose between Live Time and Live Composite in principle. One difference is the way the display updates. With Live Time you have a certain amount of control over update frequency through the menu, but the total number of updates is limited to a fairly small number (I think 24 depending on ISO) - once you go past this you don't really know what is happening your exposure. With Live Composite the display updates with each exposure, so if the base exposure is 1 minute you will see a fresh display every minute. This has the disadvantage that you have not control over the update frequency, but the advantage (a big one, I think) that it will happily keep updating for as long as the Live Composite lasts. So if the composition looks "just right" after the 234th exposure, you can see this immediately and stop the exposure at that point.

    Another difference is that the dark frame subtraction (long exposure noise reduction) for Live Composite only needs to be as long as the base exposure, not the total exposure. So a Live Composite of 10 minutes as 20 base exposures of 30 seconds only results in 30 seconds "dead time" while the camera does dark frame subtraction, whereas as standard long exposure would require 10 minutes.

    A situation where Live Time or a standard long exposure might be better is where there are relatively bright moving objects that you would prefer not to record as moving. For example if people are walking around in light-coloured clothing the same person (or just their bright clothes!) may appear in several places (much as can happen when stitching panoramas with moving objects, but for a slightly different reason). The resulting ghosting effects can be unpredictable - sometimes nice, sometimes a bit weird and distracting. In the photo by WiserTime that won your recent Image Quest challenge, you can see that a person with a white shoe has been picked up several times while crossing the street at the right. In this case it creates a rather pleasing effect as there is a kind of rhythm with the white bands of the pedestrian crossing.

    Star trails are good to practice with as the precise timing is usually not crucial so it is easy to experiment with settings. I found I could tell after watching the screen for about a minute if I was going to get the effect I intended - after a few attempts I then let it run for the maximum 3 hours. With fireworks you might miss the whole display if you do too much experimenting!

    Live Composite is a lot of fun and I'd encourage anyone who is interested to play around with it.
     
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  9. alan1972

    alan1972 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    592
    Jun 23, 2012
    Malaga, Spain
    Alan Grant
    Just in case you were not aware, there is a limitation of 0.5 seconds on the shutter speed for Live Composite (i.e. the base exposure has to be half a second or longer). So if you want to try it in full daylight an ND filter may be useful.
     
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  10. Phocal

    Phocal Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 3, 2014
    Thanks, I was aware of that............still working out which ND filter/s I want to get and in what size............as I really want to get one for my 150mm ƒ2.0 it could get expensive
     
  11. Wisertime

    Wisertime Mu-43 All-Pro

    Aug 6, 2013
    Philly
    Steve
    I was planning for that this weekend. Seen some examples online.
    For Two Wheels or others who haven't used it, search "live composite" on youtube and you can see some good examples. There is an official Olympus one too. I only just got around to trying it and it's really cool. Can take the place of a 10 stop in some situations or do completely unique things too.
     
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  12. Lcrunyon

    Lcrunyon Mu-43 Top Veteran

    758
    Jun 4, 2014
    Maryland
    Loren
    Thanks, all, for the detailed explanations. I really want to play with this. The weather looks to be bad tomorrow night, so I may miss an opportunity to use it on fireworks. Maybe I can find a good spot to do city traffic at night.
     
  13. Lcrunyon

    Lcrunyon Mu-43 Top Veteran

    758
    Jun 4, 2014
    Maryland
    Loren
    So it can be used in liu of a filter in normal lighting? I had no idea. That'd be... Pretty cool...
     
    Last edited: Jul 3, 2015
  14. hazwing

    hazwing Mu-43 All-Pro

    Nov 25, 2012
    Australia
    Does it output a raw file?
     
  15. Phocal

    Phocal Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 3, 2014
    Live Composite? Yes it does
     
  16. bsdubois00

    bsdubois00 Mu-43 Regular

    48
    Nov 10, 2011
    Houston, TX
    • Like Like x 1
  17. bsdubois00

    bsdubois00 Mu-43 Regular

    48
    Nov 10, 2011
    Houston, TX
    I did catch a cool reflection in my truck window from behind me
     
  18. wjiang

    wjiang Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    I have been investigating this. There are some examples on dpreview forums - http://www.dpreview.com/forums/post/54096993
    The examples are a mixed bag. Pekka Potka sums it up nicely here - http://www.pekkapotka.com/journal/2014/5/22/live-composite-another-hidden-gem

    The problems with using live composite in place of an ND:
    1) The stacking mode between rounds is lighten, not mean or median. This means that only brighter stuff between rounds registers, darker stuff just completely disappears. Rather than a general smoothing effect, you just get the sum of all bright parts.
    2) Small gaps due to read out speed between live composite rounds. For slower trails (e.g. stars and fireworks) this isn't a problem, but for high speed trails (e.g. close up rushing water) you might get some weird effects unless your base exposure is slow enough to smooth things out already.

    As Pekka says, this is a huge missed opportunity for Olympus, if they could implement mean/median stack as well it could quite often negate the need for a super huge ND (you'll probably still need one though due to problem 2, unless they change the implementation for how they deal with reading each round of exposure).
     
  19. Lcrunyon

    Lcrunyon Mu-43 Top Veteran

    758
    Jun 4, 2014
    Maryland
    Loren
    That makes sense to me. Thanks, wjiang.
     
  20. barry13

    barry13 Super Moderator; Photon Wrangler

    Mar 7, 2014
    Southern California
    Barry