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Holy Grail Time Lapse of Solar Eclipse

We recommend reading our Complete Guide to the Solar Eclipse first. For ambitious photographers, this article is a quick guide for holy grail time lapsing the eclipse.

A day to night to day, all in about three minutes, would be an incredible capture for any photographer. The tradeoff is you need enough images to actually make a timelapse (therefore you want a faster interval) but you also need enough time between photos to take your solar filter and put it back on without messing up a shot, or moving the camera. The few experts who have done this remove the solar filter literally seconds before totality begins, and replace it seconds before totality ends. Keep a close eye on that eclipse shadow on the ground if attempting this! If you are using Pulse, you can adjust your camera settings from the app as needed.

If you are going to try and pull this off here is what we recommend: First get the burliest tripod you can get your hands on and hang some weight off it for stability. Make sure everything is super stable, and then mount your solar lens but don’t fully tighten it down. You will decide what you are comfortable with, but there is a tradeoff on how securely attached the filter is, and how fast/efficiently you can remove it once totality hits.

Interval Decisions: If you are in middle of the eclipse path, totality will be 2 minutes 30 seconds.

A 5 second time lapse interval over those 150 seconds will give you about 1 second of darkness in your final video clip. A 3 second interval will give you about 2 seconds, and a 2 second interval will give you just over 3 seconds of footage in your final video. (this is all assuming a 24 - 30 frames per second compilation).

Removing or replacing a filter in any of these time arrangements sounds risky, especially considering you will also have to immediately change your camera settings as well.  But you don’t really have a choice if the Holy Grail is your goal. Our recommendation is to decide on a 3 or 2 second interval and just plan on deleting the frame that gets taken while your hands are in the way. Also do some test shots earlier in the day to know exactly how many stops you will want to adjust once taking your filter off. You may know the number of stops on your filter, but practice will make perfect for when you only have one chance to do it right. Having a second set of hands to either remove the filter or change the settings on your phone will give you a higher chance of success.

Lastly, practice this series of hand movements and app changes. While it might seem silly, it will make a huge difference in execution when you literally have seconds to do it right!