Sample In Camera HDR Processing – TimeLapse Photography with Canon G12

Sorry guys, another Canon G12 post, but I can't help it. The Canon Powershot G12 camera is not only fun, it's very functional. I decided to take a trip down to the local bart station to get some movement for an HDR Timelapse test. What's special about this video you see before you? There is only about 240 images in this timeline, but keep in mind that every single image of this Timelapse is actually 3 different photos, taken with 3 different exposures, that were automatically stitched together by the Canon G12 and saved as 1 single photo. It's not that overly posterized looking HDR we often see, but a more delicate balance of shadows and highlights for a more pleasing balance. The camera did all the work as I just sat nearby surfing the internet from my phone. From my results, it does an excellent job for something this small. Everything on the camera was left on default Auto including the ISO, and I even left the focus on Auto!

You can see the camera does a great job with exposing the highlights and shadows by using this built in HDR technique, but who knew you could Timelapse with this feature? Literally just grabbed all the images and dumped it into Sony Vegas. I've been asked several times to provide timelapse footage for client events, showing setups, breakdowns, and just crowd movement, but I never wanted to deal with the post image correction and especially having to leave one of my DSLR's behind. Now after testing the G12 with the built in HDR processing I can see this camera fitting perfectly into my workflow and offering client timelapse video footage. In fact if you had the funds, grab yourself a few G12's and setup timelapse in multiple angles. It's not the best, but it could definitely be incorporated into any video for additional creative footage that would make your production value stand out. This was my first run and I think it went well. With practice, i'm sure it can be refined and useful. I'm going to try it on some sliders and dollies next.

Click image for pricing on Canon Powershot G12 with Built in HDR

The remote i'm using for the Canon G12 can be found at this article:

30 thoughts on “Sample In Camera HDR Processing – TimeLapse Photography with Canon G12

  1. eddie

    Sorry to come back to this, but I do have a doubt, i must admit

    If you do hdr photography rule no 1 is: no moving objects, because the 3 pics were combined and moving objects blur the image. especially if you combine with the timelapse rule not to expose too short, so the movements in the timelapse will get smooth. But even if you expose short, it will get messy. And, I never got intervals shorter than 4 Seconds that way

    What is your trick for moving objects?

  2. Emm

    Post author

    @Salva - The Camera might have a 'bracketing' feature. You would set your exposures, allow the camera to take several images and then do it in post. This is not a perfect solution because you can't set the HDR photos separately from the Timelapse Interval. Or you could find a more expensive remote that you can use to set HDR timelapse and interval settings.

  3. Salva

    hey im just wondering does the Olympus E-PL2 have this HDR feature. and if not what must i do to obtain what you have. And if i were to choose, which would you reccommend this or the Olympus E-PL2. Thanks for your kind replies. Your videos have helped with alot!

  4. Emm

    Post author

    @David - GF1 with Pancake lens. You'll always have the option to add different lenses later.

  5. Sharon

    Hi, I am trying to get a timer remote to learn how to take time-lapse video. Do you know where I can get a cheap timer remote online or in Singapore? What's the brand name recommended for a Canon G12?

  6. So it only takes 1 second to render the new image in camera? That's impressive! (Or does it continue shooting and buffer the processing?) I use the in-camera HDR on the Pentax K7 regularly, but it's not so great for timelapse use as it takes 15 seconds to render the 14MP HDR frame after firing off the 3 shots. The exposure blending feature on the Pentaxes is much faster (and I like it over HDR, to be honest =) but has to be reset after every shot...


  7. Taha


    Can this be done on sony a55? that can take hdr too

    is there any EF to E mount for using canon lenses to sony a55?

    except g12 and sony are there another camera for shooting hdr?


  8. Emm

    Post author

    @Lensdude - Correct, HDR mode needs to take 3 images so that's already longer than 1 second interval. The camera can be set to normal AV or TV to get down to 1 second. HDR is just an option and seems to work well, but every situation might require a different setting.

  9. Lensdude


    I am not sure how well this would work when you need to do timelapse with a fast interval? Say you needed to shoot an exposure every second? While this HDR feature sounds very cool I am not it would keep up if it has to to record three exposures and then combine them into one image? I should say I have not tried this method using this camera.

    If readers are interested in the whole timelapse concept then THE place to go is the forum section at There are a ton of techniques covered in this great forum. Some are simple and some are extremely complicated.

    Capturing a sunset for example is quite complicated if you want your video to be flicker free. Its not that easy!

    All the energetic timelapse kids are into adding movement to their projects via rotating platforms and slow moving sliders. Its very cool really...

  10. Emm

    Post author

    Real quality timelapse videos are constantly 'baby sitted' and the cameras are adjusted periodically. For a general one you could choose aperture priority and let the camera decide on the best shutter speed. For 'white balance' real timelapses can be shot in RAW and later white balance can be selected in post work.

  11. Emm

    Post author

    Old school one, but has been with me on many travels in ocean and sand. It's taken a beating and still fun to travel with. Benro makes some really great lightweight travel tripods for cameras like the G12. I always have one of these when I go on vacation.

  12. Emm

    Post author

    There are ways to batch process HDR and definitely come out with great results. But you have to know that it takes several hours to timelapse a few minutes, and then in post work even longer. It's a serious art if you want great results. It's something that will take lots of patience. There are great websites dedicated to just timelapse.

  13. xlerate

    Regarding the intervalometer, I wonder also how to catch a sunrise sunset unattended without having the white balance blow out from a night to day or the reverse.

    I see videos of night > day and the lighting does not explode.

    Anyone have ideas on what settings besides auto to use?

  14. Emm

    Post author

    @Jarrett - the 7D can accept a Timer Remote, but does not have the HDR processing. You would have to take 3 pictures in Bracketing Mode and then process them all in post.

  15. dorn

    hey Emm,

    did you try the miniature setting on the s95?
    it sounds really nice, recording at 6, 3 and 1.5 fps. it's only 720p but I think it's worth a try... the specs say, you can record 23 hours with the 1.5fps setting. I'm wondering if it will record all the time, because of the 30 min recording limitation, the bigger canons have.

    thanks again for your great website!!!

  16. Emm

    Post author

    @MV - Yeah that would be nice. I'm thinking that would take more than two hours unless I catch the right time. I'll try something longer when i have time.

  17. MV

    Emm - I think a good candidate for 'more interesting' would be a setting sun situation. Obviously the drastically diminishing light would pose a challenge, unless the camera can auto compensate for it. A freeway overpass with the camera facing west, and the oncoming cars going from lights off to lights on as the sun sets behind them would be really cool. Great site btw. Thanks.

  18. kevin

    Nice! I just ordered a remote for my camera so I can't wait to try it out! Thanks Emm! Your website keeps getting better and better everyday!

  19. Emm

    Post author

    4 seconds. So times three the camera really took 720 images, and only saved 240 processed ones. I'm excited to try something more interesting next. This Bart station was just a few blocks from The studio.

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