One of the essential elements of this project is the believably of scene as it progresses through time, transitioning from night to day. I wanted to start testing this idea as soon as possible because I believe it will require some experimentation. I have a first pass of the timing posted below. I created this basic "previs" with AI Physical Sky shader on a AI Skydome light, animating the position of the "sun" in the sky to get a feeling of the timing. The samples have been set really low in order to save on render times and I am aware of the very obvious rendering artifacts. This test is only about 400 frames, and our final piece will be 900. I am not totally happy with it, as I want to be able to really direct the lighting of each day/night and create the most beautiful shot possible. So to have those results on the screen for only a few frames wouldn't do my work as much justice and the more variations we have, the less refined each will be. With this in mind, Jess and I are toying with the idea of cutting it down to about 6 days and 6 night variations. I am currently rendering a test of this new pacing and will post it when it has finished. For now, you can watch my first pass below.
Time Lapse Lighting Test
I was also able to create a quick 150 frame compositing test for the sky in the background. I am using a blend node in Nuke to transition between 4 different photographs of the sky during different times of the day. The results aren't totally polished but upon further refinement, I think it could potentially work for our time lapse purposes.