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Download two free timelapse HDRI sky domes

Tuesday, April 29th, 2014 | Posted by Jim Thacker

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Originally posted on 25 March 2014. Scroll down for updates.

Hyperfocal Design has released a free timelapse HDRI sky dome, running from sunrise to sunset, as a teaser for its upcoming ultra-high-res timelapse HDRI skies.

The 586 EXR frames are provided at 1,024 x 512 resolution, and there is a single teaser frame of the 9,500 x 4,750-pixel original. Hyperfocal plans to release its hi-res commercial products later this quarter.

You can download the free samples, which are licensed for non-commercial use only, via the link below. Below that, Hyperfocal founder Jay Weston explains the often gruelling process by which the timelapses were created.

Updated 29 April 2014: Hyperfocal Design has released a second trial timelapse HDRI sky dome, this time showing an afternoon sky darkening into a moonlit night. It’s an 863-frame series, again at 1,024 x 512 resolution.

You can get both skies from this link (registration and/or social share required).

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Hyperfocal Design founder Jay Weston describes the making of the HDRI timelapses:

“These HDRI timelapse sky domes are something I’ve wanted to do since Paul Debevec’s Direct HDR Capture of the Sun and Sky a decade ago.

“The project has been quite challenging, to the point of harrowing. There are only one or two spots in Adelaide, South Australia, where these can be shot in order to eliminate all background elements.

“One of those is in a beach-side car park, where I’m camped in my car from before sunrise until after sunset. Losing an entire day of shots due to weather or something on the lens is pretty brutal after 14 hours!

“I used a Nikon D800E camera with a custom-made deep-cycle battery to keep the camera firing all day long, hooked up to a Promote Control to automate the bracketing and timing.

“A Sigma 8mm fisheye lens sits on top of the D800E, with a ND 3.0 filter to block out most of the light and capture the entire dynamic range of the sky. So these are ‘real’ HDRIs: there are no clamped pixels.

“Once back to the office, the shots are run through LRTimelapse to account for the ISO changes I make as the light changes, then color correction is done using a SpyderCheckr colour chart.

“Lightroom does a good job of defringing, chromatic aberration and vignetting. We then export TIFFs to load into Nuke to merge the brackets, transform into lat/long and save out EXRs, working in linear colour space.”

Read more about Jay Weston’s workflow and see an animation rendered using the HDRI timelapse

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