Saturday, 1 August 2009

Forgetting To Change The Clocks

I always remember to change my watch when I travel abroad or when we switch from BST to GMT (or vice-versa) but I nearly always forget to change the clock on the digital cameras. This usually doesn't cause too many problems other than annoying me when I realise I've forgotten just after taking a few hundred photos.

When I put together the highlights programme for the British Formula 1 race I was using photos from two separate cameras and so needed to ensure that the clocks were in sync. Unfortunately they were both out by an hour and about five minutes different from each other. So to put the photos in order I had to find a way of easily changing the timestamps.

After quite a long period of browsing the web I came across a really easy tool for doing almost anything with the EXIF information embedded in the JPEG files including altering the timestamps. The tool is unimaginatively called ExifTool. I actually used two commands, one to fix the timestamps and then one to rename the files based on the time they were taken. This allowed me to then put the photos from both cameras into the same folder and hey presto they were in chronological order and easy to import into the video editing software.
1 August 2009 at 11:43 , Rob said...

Quick tip that you might like to help deal with this accurately in future:

When you notice / remember that your camera isn't set to the correct time; grab a trusted local time source (laptop hooked up to a time server, mobile phone taking time from the networks, news channel on tv, maybe even a town clock) and take a photo of it. Then you instantly have a record of the trusted time in the photo and the camera's time in the exif data and can accurately compute exactly how far off you are when making adjustments later.

Think I picked that up from the This Week In Photography podcast that I listened to for a while.

Hope all is well :)


1 August 2009 at 20:47 , Mark said...

Thank Rob, a very sensible solution that had never crossed my mind. Fortunately with the F1 race we both took a number of photos of the drivers parade, which as it was quite slow really helped me to sync a few photos and hence work out the difference between the clocks on the two cameras.

In future though I'll definitely make sure I randomly snap the odd clock as I walk around places just in case I later find the camera clock is wrong.

3 August 2009 at 03:15 , Scriptor Senex said...

You could end up with a fascinating collection of clock photos from across the world.

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