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

3 comments on “Time-Lapse of a Time-Lapse”

  1. Great work. May I ask what kind of tripod you have your DP dolly mounted on in the above video? Looks pretty solid. I would like to find something similar instead of using 2 tripods. Thank you!

    • Hi — It’s a large Manfrotto/Bogen video tripod (not sure the model # – I think #117) with a #116 (I think) video head on it, a unit I bought many years ago for use with a telescope I long since sold and has so had seen little use since. But it works for the DP dolly. However, to buy a unit like that now is hundreds of dollars. Perhaps close to a thousand. Two smaller tripods are far cheaper and lighter. But they are a fuss to set up. I like the single large tripod for ease of set up but the track can sag at either end causing a frame to turn slightly during a dolly. So I don’t really recommend a single centre-mounted tripod. But for me, it works fine and makes use of gear I had and had not been able to sell used on the local market. Thanks! — Alan

      • Thanks for getting back to me. I have a diy rig I built and would love the convenience of only one tripod, but 2 will have to work. I was curious if yours sagged when the cam/carriage got to the ends, that’s a lot to ask of a single tripod. I appreciate all of the information though. Keep up the great work, it’s amazing!


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