Day to Night Time-lapse Tutorial: The "Holy Grail" Technique Explained

19 Jan 2016 21:01 1,132
7,924 125

Did you know our videos are possible because of Patreon supporters!
Join the community so we can make science communication and teach others to do the same!

The Holy Grail Time-lapse technique is a way of shooting your day to night time-lapses whereby you constantly adjust your exposure throughout the sunrise or sunset.

In this video timelapse tutorial, I attempt to walk you through the entire process from start to finish. That includes finding a location, setting the camera and then walking through the images in post production.

Location: The following are my tips on finding a good location.
1. Get ahold of the local film/photography club and ask for advice.
2. Drive around the city ahead of time.
3. Look for your location via google maps - either via the images search or via google earth view.

Camera Settings:
There are two ways to shoot these sorts of timelapses: Aperture Priority and Manual adjustment. In both techniques I recommend leaving the whitebalence set to auto (although you can lock this as well). Make sure the keep the focus set to manual. In aperture priority mode, you simply let the camera adjust the shutter speed. However, the technique is only great when the sky is clear. Manual adjustment must be done in combination with a program like LRtimelapse

Using LRtimelapse:
I just started using LRtimelapse and am really blown away by how it improves the workflow. I highly recommend it (nobody told me to say that). I suggest watching this short explanation to give you a feel for what it can do. Then, go and download the trial version of LRtimelapse4. It gives you the ability to manipulate 400 picture sequences. That ends up being a 13 second timelapse, so it's a great tool to start with small timelapses. Then, if you like it, you can buy the personal user addition for 100 bucks.

I hope you enjoyed the tutorial. A few small notes in my timelapse:
a. I did bump the tripod once so I suggest avoiding that.
b. I stopped the timelapse half a dozen times to look at the images and accidentally took a few too many test shots in the middle. That made the clouds jump a bit. Avoiding that will make a perfectly smooth final product.

Read more about this day to night technique:

Our Camera:
The Adventure Camera Bag :
Main Lens -
Macro Lens -
Telephoto Lens -
MegaWide Lens -
On-camera Mic -
Drone -
Moving Timelapse setup -
GoPro -
Our Filmmaking Book!!! -
Music comes from here - Rob's edits:
Jonas' music:
Our full gear setup:
(if you buy from any of these links you help support us)

Instagram (Rob):
Instagram (Jonas):


Can’t wait through 2018 for all our new 52Things? Here are 52 ready-to-go and worth your time:

If you're new to filmmaking: our Series on Basic Photo and Video Techniques:

Our Untamed Science YouTube Channel:

Help us create amazing, world-reaching content by translating and transcribing videos on our channel:

Special thanks to Michelle Lotker for help in this episode. More on her here:

Music: "Movie Intro (entwined)" and "Inspiring short" via

Special thanks to our Patrons: You all are AMAZING and AWESOME!

Related of "Day to Night Time-lapse Tutorial: The "Holy Grail" Technique Explained" Videos