Time-Lapse Test: Adding Motion Control


Here’s the movie I show being taken in my previous blog. This is my first attempt at a motion-control time-lapse.

In this movie the camera shifted position during the 3 hours of shooting by sliding along a rail, with the movement controlled by a little computer box that opened and closed the shutter (in this case for 15 seconds for each frame), then between each exposure it pulsed the motor to shift the camera a centimetre or so down the dolly’s rail. 

Pretty nifty! And until this unit, the Stage Zero Dolly, came along this capability would have cost much more money, from some Hollywood cinema supplier.

This was only a test, and I did mess up at one point (where I appear in the frame in the previous blog’s movie) as I tried to adjust the speed in mid-track, resulting in some dead motion for a few frames. So the motion comes to a halt briefly. It will take some learning to know how to set the speed right for the number of frames and exposure times I typically shoot.

But the ramping up in speed at the beginning of this movie is intentional, and is one of the motion control variables you can program in. 

The Stage Zero Dolly unit is from Dynamic Perception LLC. Lots of time-lapse shooters are employing it now, for their cinema-like pans and moves. I’ve been inspired by the work of Randy Halverson at http://dakotalapse.com/ . Amazing stuff — representing a whole new level of time-lapse techniques. 

So now I know what I’ll be doing now on moonlit evenings! 

— Alan, September 12, 2011 / Movie © 2011 Alan Dyer

Time-Lapse of a Time-Lapse


I’ve been taking lots of time-lapse movies of late. But this one is a time-lapse movie of my other camera taking a time-lapse movie.

Here you see my Canon 7D camera riding aboard my latest tool (or toy!), a motion-control dolly. The camera takes its series of still images (that will be later stitched together into a movie) while it tracks down a rail, riding on a motorized cart.

The unit is called the Stage Zero Dolly, from Dynamic Perception LLC. It is a nifty device that fires the camera shutter for the exposure time and interval you desire. In between each exposure it also moves the camera a small amount down the track. The result can be seen in the next blog, a time-lapse movie with a changing perspective, giving a cinema-style dolly shot. Except, I took this one over 3 hours.

While this scene might look like I took it during the day, it is the middle of the night (witness the moving stars). The blue sky is due to moonlight, from an almost Full Moon on September 10.

The Stage Zero Dolly takes some work to set up and program right, but the results open up a whole new dimension (literally!) in time-lapse shooting.

— Alan, September 12, 2011 / Movie © 2011 Alan Dyer