Timelapse photography is one of those mesmerizing but evasive techniques. It takes dedication, skill and a mix of fortuitous timing and being in just the right position to pull off a truly engaging and effective timelapse shot.
Here at Brüdder we have been experimenting with timelapse photography for some time, and as great as the shots are there is a level of commitment that few put in to take their shots to the next level.
Over the past few months, we have engaged in the challenge of building our own motion control timelapse rig. Inspired by the great culture of sharing found on the internet and websites and forums such as Timescapes where people share their amazing work, often constructing devices with regular consumer products, adapting them in such a way to pull of epic and stunning motion controlled timelapse imagery.
The project begun by getting our hands on a MEADE telescope head, as used by MiLapse:
This is a fantastic bit of technology used to pan & tilt the camera over several hours, we got ours for $150 second hand (with a tripod and telescope). This is a fraction of the cost of any professional dedicated pan & tilt solution. On its own this head can create some amazing imagery, just work out your start and end shot, the degrees between them and away you go.
There is a calculator online for you here:
The next order of business was how to make a robust and portable timelapse dolly system. This took some planning, but once the parts were ordered it came together extremely well.
We opted for the device aptly dubbed the “TIME MACHINE” from B.Mumford Microsystems:
This is a simple timelapse controller that interfaces with our Canon 5DmkII or the Canon 7D and utilizes a highly precise rotary table. We used the rotary table to drive the crank on the Pocket Dolly from Kessler Crane:
The Pocket Dolly was literally the only HD-DSLR slider system we could find at the time with a built in crank system. They literally made the majority of the rig for us. I have since found out they are in the process of releasing a motor driven unit for the Pocket Dolly and Cine Slider to do motion controlled timelapse. This is great as it will give everyone the opportunity to be able to buy and try moco timelapse if building their own isn’t something they want to do.
With the Time Machine, Pocket Dolly and MEADE telescope head we had the basis for our motion control rig. A great, local machine shop here in Vancouver and only a few blocks from our studio http://www.smithindustriesltd.com/ helped us weld, cut and form all the fixings required.
We did our first preliminary, field test using an emergency powerpacks to power the whole system. In theory, we should be able to run a motion control timelapse for over 24 hours…we will let you know once we have tested it out and we will be sure to share the results.
So here it is, our Motion Control Timelapse rig. Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions.