Ramper Pro Help

Discussion in 'Intervalometers, CHDK, Magic Lantern and Brampers' started by Joe Belanger, Mar 2, 2017.

  1. Joe Belanger

    Joe Belanger New time-lapser

    Hi everyone,

    I have the RAMPER PRO and the PDF manual Elysiavisuals provides is horrible. I am trying to set up for a night to day, where I am shooting the Milky Way at perhaps 3 am. and end the exposure at 7am. I cannot seem to get answers on what are probably common questions from users. So I thought I might ask them here and also ask whether anyone can point to useful manuals, tutorials to better get something I can print and throw in my bag.

    1. If I am using the light sensor and histogram function for the sunrise part of the shoot, it is essentially 'on' during the night. Does that auto exposure feature shut down and default to my max setting, say 25 seconds at iso 3200 @f2.8?

    2. If yes to above, when does the sensor know to "turn on"? Is it based on my civil/twlight sunrise times and then it starts to look for light? When it finds light, it takes over?

    3. If I want to interval ramp, that whole feature is very unclear with respect to how to set that up. If I want my intervals to go from 30 (at 2am) to 10 seconds (when it can at sunrise) how do I calculate this? Andre does not explain under what specific parameters this set up feature should use other than "go from this to that over x images". But when you don't really know when your exposures will be less than 10 seconds, what ground rules do you use to set this up without ruining a multiple hour shoot?

    Thanks in advance for the feedback.

    Joe
     
    marcofama likes this.
  2. Oliver

    Oliver Active time-lapser

    Location:
    Miami
  3. Aaron Priest

    Aaron Priest Active time-lapser

    Location:
    Maine, USA
    Donate a few bucks and support the project!
    Hi Joe!

    Congrats! The Ramper Pro is a great intervalometer, been using it since the preorder. I recommend you get the latest firmware before doing anything else, as a lot has changed over the past year or two and some of features I'm going to mention won't exist or work the same otherwise. 3069 is the latest. It has three intervalometer "modes": Easy (or basic) with no ramping at all, advanced (the default mode), and expert mode. Expert mode has the most features, such as bulb ramping, 24hr timelapse (sunset and sunrise or double holy grail), ND filters, and interval ramping (which you might not need, but I'll elaborate in a minute on that topic). Most people don't need expert mode and the default mode works great. I often use expert mode because I need 24hr support for my long timelapses.

    On the home menu is a Quick Setup button that will get you up and going quickly in the advanced mode. I'll step through the menu options and explain them... Say no to expert mode for now. Yes to sunset if you are going from day to night. Yes to automatic end exposure if you are shooting urban cityscapes and don't want to overexpose, otherwise say no and it will ramp to the maximum ISO / shutter that you set later (important for very dark skies like Milky Way). The interval you set here should be what you want for the day, such as 10 to 15 seconds. Don't worry about interval ramping for now. The RP will automatically extend this when your shutter speed becomes longer than your interval and just shoot as fast as it can after analyzing your image. So if you set your maximum shutter speed to 25 seconds, it will probably have an interval of around 30 seconds automatically without needing to do any custom interval ramping/faring in expert mode. This is very convenient! Set your runtime to however long you want it to run, or a really long time if you want to manually stop it later. On the next screen, set your start exposure and ISO to your current ambient light (assuming you are starting it now). On the next page, set your civil sunset and astro sunset times and the aperture you are going to shoot at (I don't think it does aperture ramping yet, this just helps with calculations). Civil sunset is a bit misnamed, it is actually the END of civil twilight and beginning of nautical twilight that it is expecting (also called Civil Dusk in a lot of astronomy apps like Sky Safari). It is not looking for sunrise or sunset itself where the sun is 0° on the horizon. If you use PhotoPills, it is the last number or end of civil twilight. Astro sunset is the same, it is the end of astronomic twilight, called Astronomic Dusk in a lot of astronomy apps. Civil sunrise and astro sunrise are similar but in reverse. The Ramper Pro will only use these times to calculate the speed of the ramp when there is not enough light from the light sensor, as the sensor takes preference, but if you are shooting from sunset into Milky Way there will not be enough light for the light sensor to be accurate below 1EV or so, and you'll want these times to be correct for your geographic location and date. I use either PhotoPills or Sky Safari to look it up. Moving on... the current time it can get over USB from some cameras (assuming your camera's clock is accurate). You can set it manually here if your camera doesn't support this. That will pretty much get you up and running for a good sunset to Milky Way timelapse (or sunset to urban cityscape if you enabled "automatic end exposure"), assuming you chose a proper maximum shutter speed / ISO.

    If you want to use expert mode, here are a few more tips: Enable 24H mode if you want to shoot both sunset and sunrise in the same sequence. Automatic end exposure is not available in expert mode. Start bulb speed is optional, if you set it to a number higher than your maximum exposure time then it won't be used. This means you will get 1/3 exposure jumps and will have to use the .xmp files from the Ramper Pro with properly dialed in exposure changes. If you want to use bulb ramping instead for much smaller increment changes, then feel free to set this to 1 second or whenever you want the camera to switch to bulb. Don't go faster than 0.05 or 1/20 sec as anything faster is not reliable on most cameras. Also, if you have a Nikon it should switch automatically to bulb mode via USB command, but this does not work on most Canon models. The Ramper Pro should pause and ask you to switch to bulb manually and resume, but this does not always work right either. In short, if your camera can't automatically switch to bulb then it's probably not worth using this feature. ISO shift speed tells the camera when it should raise ISO or when it should raise the shutter speed. Generally speaking, you want to raise the shutter speed to your max first before raising the ISO to your max. In non-expert mode, the Ramper Pro does this automatically for you. In expert mode, you want this to be at least 1/3 stop longer than your start bulb speed (if you are using that) and 1/3 stop shorter than your maximum shutter speed, otherwise you are not giving the Ramper Pro any headroom to shift gears so to speak between shutter speed jumps. Use positive EV correction--say yes for sunset, no for sunrise, and yes for 24hr mode. This tells the RP whether to shift the .xmp corrections above 0EV or only below. Depending on the dynamic range of your camera and how extreme an edit you make from the RAW files, this can create or prevent "pumping" of the highlights. Interval ramping--you can try this out, but I haven't used it since the RP got automatic interval collision handling several firmware versions ago. I just leave this disabled and either set my interval to the shortest I desire during the day and let it ramp, or 3 to 5 seconds longer than my max shutter speed if I don't want it to ramp at all and I want precisely consistent intervals, since there is a small amount of variance with auto ramping; but it's such a small percentage of your overall exposure that it is not noticeable in the footage. Use external intervalometer--this is useful for sliders and motorized heads that can't be externally triggered, and you can have the Ramper Pro be a slave instead and stay in sync. Of course, your interval becomes critical then and you'd have to be sure it is at least 3-5 seconds longer than your max shutter speed in this case and equal to your external intervalometer. Use light sensor--I always say yes, it's how the Ramper Pro creates the .xmp files for deflickering. Auto setup--yes (manually setting sensor gain, minimum time per stop, right clipping, and right cut off for the light sensor and histogram analysis is very complicated and auto setup makes all this MUCH easier)! Histogram mode--yes, the RP will analyze the brightness of each image after it is shot and expose to the right. This is why it requires a minimum of 3 to 5 seconds more than your maximum shutter speed to have time to process the image. Show previews--yes, I find this useful, especially when remotely monitoring over WiFi. Auto brightness--yes (back to right clipping and right cut off previously for the histogram, auto is easier). Make sure your sunset and sunrise apertures are both set correctly, I think this is used for ND filter calculations. I don't use ND filters on my ultrawide lens though, it has no filter threads.

    Lastly, some camera settings and other setup options: set your camera to RAW + JPEG and JPEG mode to small and basic for the smallest possible. You'll use the RAW files to edit in LRTimelapse or with Jeffrey Friedl's Timelapse Support Lightroom Plugin, and the Ramper Pro will use the JPEGs for faster transfer over USB for histogram analysis. Use manual focus, manual white balance, and manual meter mode too of course. Some cameras models need to be in single exposure motor drive, not continuous. If you want to use bulb ramping in expert mode, you'll need a USB cable, shutter cable, and bulb cable. Without bulb ramping, you can use just the shutter cable and USB cable. You can also use just the USB cable to simplify your wiring. You'll have to enable Trigger by USB under config, Camera 1, etc. If you do enable Trigger by USB, make sure you DON'T plug in the shutter cable or you'll find the camera didn't store ANY photos at ALL to the memory card. I lost a whole night of shooting once to this, thinking it was working fine because the previews looked great, argh! If you do use an external intervalometer in expert mode and want the Ramper Pro to be a slave, you'll have to set this up in I/O under system settings--set input to yes. I think enabling "Use external intervalometer" under expert mode does this for you automatically now though. You can also setup your screen saver timeout, screen brightness, and whether all the LEDs should also go dark at night with the screen saver (I enable this) under system settings.

    That should get you up and running, and hopefully explain how some of the settings work behind the scenes if you want to get into expert mode and play around.

    Happy shooting!!!
    Aaron
     
  4. Joe Belanger

    Joe Belanger New time-lapser

    Donate a few bucks and support the project!
    Thank you very much for the details, Aaron. Very helpful.

    I had done one TL with the Ramper but it produced a series within my 900 images where the unit was spot on exposure then went over expose crazy for 200 images, then ramped exposure back down to normal. When Andre could not tell me what the issue was, and it had to be me, I set it aside and haven't used it since. It's not me because I used Easy mode. Then I read where another user, Ron Riseman, had the same issue and could not figure it out. I know Andre is aware of the issue but since my firmware was 3068 I should have been fine.

    Anyway, I am excited to have the RP, but my trust in it is low. Spending four hours and 1,000 shutter clicks or more to find out I cannot use the TL is VERY frustrating. I put some questions in red above. Hope to hear your input on that.

    Thanks again.

    Joe
     
    marcofama likes this.
  5. Joe Belanger

    Joe Belanger New time-lapser

    Donate a few bucks and support the project!
    Thank you. I sent a request to join. Much appreciated.

    Joe
     
    marcofama likes this.
  6. marcofama

    marcofama Time Lapse Network Founder Staff Member

    Location:
    Italy
    Donate a few bucks and support the project!
    Aaron, Oliver - you both are awesome guys.

    Thanks.
     
    Oliver likes this.
  7. Aaron Priest

    Aaron Priest Active time-lapser

    Location:
    Maine, USA
    Donate a few bucks and support the project!
    Shooting sunrise is the most challenging for ramping, for any of the timelapse hardware/software out there, from the View, to DslrDashboard, to the Ramper Pro. All of them have been trying to get it perfect. The best automated solution so far is probably GBTimelapse, but it is Windows/Canon only and requires a laptop or notebook. I’ve had many sunrise timelapses go off the rails in the past 4+ years testing these various products and providing feedback for them to tweak some more. They don’t call it holy grail for nothing, haha! It can be done though. This was a double holy grail taken with the Ramper Pro a couple years ago when we started to get it right:



    It usually works pretty well today if you follow the steps I posted, but if it wasn’t getting a reading from the light sensor (loose cable, pointed the wrong way, or not enabled in setup), or you didn’t have the correct begin of astro dawn and begin of civil dawn entered for times it would cause it to ramp too slowly and then have to catch up, causing a couple hundred frames to blow out.

    To answer your question about interval for sunrise: yes, set your interval to 10 seconds if that’s what you want after sunrise. The RP will use the maximum shutter speed of 25 seconds if you programmed it for a sunrise ramp, and the night interval will be as fast as it can analyze your JPEG histogram (usually somewhere around 3-5 seconds longer than the maximum shutter speed, depending on camera model). Your ISO will drop first, and then your shutter speed during dawn. When your shutter speed starts dropping below 10 seconds, it will keep the interval at the 10 seconds you programmed, a nice smooth automatic interval ramp. The light sensor will take over when there is about 1EV of light and it has had a couple of minutes to establish a curve. Before then, during astronomic and part of nautical dawn it will ramp from the times you enter for your geographic location (this is why it’s important to have them accurate for the correct date and location). For your minimum shutter speed, set it to something like 1/4000 – 1/8000 or whatever your fastest shutter speed is on your camera and your lowest ISO. The histogram analysis will keep it from underexposing so it will never hit this minimum shutter speed. If you want to stay at 5 to 7 second exposures for smooth water or something then you’ll have to use ND filters in expert mode as I don’t think the Ramper Pro supports aperture ramping yet (which has its own set of problems with flicker, depth of field and focus shift, and still doesn’t get you dark enough for several second exposures in bright daylight anyway). But the interval ramping works very well. It’s a little inconsistent between shots (you’ll notice it in the interval column in LRTimelapse), mostly because the camera is not consistent with how long it takes to compress a JPEG and transfer it via USB, however the overall difference is usually a very small percentage of your shutter speed, so it doesn’t affect the footage visually after rendering.
     
    Last edited: Mar 3, 2017
    lkunl and Joe Belanger like this.
  8. Joe Belanger

    Joe Belanger New time-lapser

    Donate a few bucks and support the project!
    Very nice TL, Aaron. And like Marco said, you guys are awesome. Your explanation above has told me more that I've been able to get anywhere else. Not a Ramper TL but here's one I did in the Joshua Tree desert at another workshop. I'm getting very excited to get more deeply into Ramping TL.

    https://www.facebook.com/joe.belanger.524/videos/vb.1821280328/10206118212713929/?type=2&theater

    Thanks for the help. Really appreciated.

    Joe
     
    marcofama likes this.
  9. Aaron Priest

    Aaron Priest Active time-lapser

    Location:
    Maine, USA
    Donate a few bucks and support the project!
    Your link didn't work, probably isn't made public on Facebook? One of Ron's excellent timelapse workshops I assume?
     
    marcofama likes this.
  10. Oliver

    Oliver Active time-lapser

    Location:
    Miami
    Donate a few bucks and support the project!
    In this Case, Aaron is awesome. He's probably one of the most knowledgeable person for that kind of stuff. Just look his portofolio !

    In my case, I've never been satisfied with these holy grail solutions. I had the Ramper Pro V.1 but I sold it due to the cluster mess of cables and settings. I found it much faster to do the Holy Grail shots manually and post process them with LRTimelapse instead of wasting hours with settings and unusable sequences.
    There is also the View Intervalometer that seems promising but I'll take a look on V2 or V3 once the kickstarter customers finish beta-testing...

    That being said I mostly do urban time-lapse and I rarely shoot a sequence longer than 2 hours. Beyond that, I would probably need an automatic solution.
     
    marcofama likes this.

Share This Page