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Tracking/Dolly/Pan/Tilt Timelapse options?


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#1 Seth Mondragon

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Posted 18 October 2005 - 06:49 PM

someone brought this up just a moment ago in another thread, but I thought this topic title would be a little more specific. Here is my question once again:

I love a good timelapse, but what's even better is a timelapse that pans, tilts or tracks. The only thing I can think of to achieve this is moving the camera ever-so-slightly between each frame....my inspiration for these shots is Ron Fricke and his many, many beautiful shots in films such as Baraka and Chronos. I know he rigged an electronic device with a bike chain of sorts to do his stuff, but it there any other way for us regular people?

Any and all help is appreciated...thanks!
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#2 jbraver

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Posted 18 October 2005 - 08:04 PM

I know that the time lapse in requiem for a dream was a moco shot. the camera moved about half a foot a minute.

hope that helps

Jake
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#3 drew_town

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Posted 19 October 2005 - 12:06 AM

Most of the time this is done with a motion control rig, like the one used on Requiem for a Dream. It's a matter of adjusting the camera consistently through the shot.
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#4 Benji Wade

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Posted 19 October 2005 - 12:31 AM

Yeah, if you move the camera an inch or two every hour or so, it will look like crap. All the sudden the camera will simply leap in the frame. Not good.

So yeah, without a *smooth* consistent motion control device, I wouldn't attempt it. Ron Fricke accomplished it with proper equipment...otherwise known as a budget. :D
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#5 Dimitrios Koukas

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Posted 19 October 2005 - 01:39 AM

someone brought this up just a moment ago in another thread, but I thought this topic title would be a little more specific. Here is my question once again:

I love a good timelapse, but what's even better is a timelapse that pans, tilts or tracks. The only thing I can think of to achieve this is moving the camera ever-so-slightly between each frame....my inspiration for these shots is Ron Fricke and his many, many beautiful shots in films such as Baraka and Chronos. I know he rigged an electronic device with a bike chain of sorts to do his stuff, but it there any other way for us regular people?

Any and all help is appreciated...thanks!


First,
Some simple questions...
How long this time lapse you wanna be and what is about.A sunset?A flower? A dinner table?
Cause all this as you know have different filming rates, so if it something simple maybe you won't need something so advanced as an equipment.
Dimitrios Koukas
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#6 Stuart Brereton

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Posted 19 October 2005 - 04:09 AM

It is possible to achieve these moves without MoCo or other specialised equipment. I have seen a short clip by an Australian Timelapse/Time Slice cameraman named Mark Ruffy, where he just moved his stills camera 6 inches between every shot. When his sequence was finished he imported it to After Effects and stabilised the picture. The results are spectacular. I'll try to find a link to the clip.
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#7 Luke Prendergast

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Posted 19 October 2005 - 04:28 AM

ruffy.com - In Situ - bottom of the list. It's Flash or Java so no link.
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#8 Michael Collier

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Posted 21 October 2005 - 04:52 PM

You should be fine doing it yourself. Just remember, consistency is key. Heres my cheap trick of the day:

If its just a pan or tilt, rig up a dial and pointer system. the actuall layout will depend on the move and the layout of your tripod head.

once you have your dial and pointer you gotta mark your dial. If they are evenly spaced you will have a smooth motion, if you want the shot to a slow stop, then have the marks getting closer and closer together.

If you want a tracking shot lay tape down on the floor in the track you want. then set your marks again the same way you did with the dial, now the key for a rock solid move is to hang a plumb bob from the bottom of your tripod. If you can get it directly in the middle then your golden, if its slightly off center its no problem just make sure you keep the tripod oriented the same way during the whole move. (if its constantly changing orientation you could have what would be equal to the camera shaking 3-6 inches as it moves)
so if its off center find one leg to be north (use a compass) and keep that leg pointing north.

when you shoot just make sure your plum bob lines up with the marks you have made.

as you go through your marks roll your camera for 3-5 seconds, at least enough to record one frame (remember a camera has a lag of a few seconds when you roll and stop, so carefully watch timecode, or just overroll to make sure you get it. this could also be done with a high speed megapixel digital. with the megapixel your output could be highdef or even up to 4K res.

planning will be complex. figuring out where you want the camera to slow down and how to slow it down will take a lot of thought. have the shot in your head before you draw your diagram, and use your diagram to set the tape track and the dials. if you shoot with this method you shouldnt have to stabalize each frame very much.
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#9 Seth Mondragon

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Posted 23 October 2005 - 03:23 AM

Michael Collier wrote:

once you have your dial and pointer you gotta mark your dial. If they are evenly spaced you will have a smooth motion, if you want the shot to a slow stop, then have the marks getting closer and closer together.
If you want a tracking shot lay tape down on the floor in the track you want. then set your marks again the same way you did with the dial...

Yeah, I was thinking about something like a way to mark the position....somehow using tape didn't even come to mind. Thanks for knocking some sense into me!

Michael Collier also wrote:

as you go through your marks roll your camera for 3-5 seconds, at least enough to record one frame (remember a camera has a lag of a few seconds when you roll and stop, so carefully watch timecode...

Actually, when I get around to doing this timelapse, I plan on doing it on Super8, so I will actually be firing off one frame at a time. Also, I may try it with my Sony VX2100 camcorder as that has a single frame capability. I have a remote zoom/record device for it and I used the single frame mode for a time lapse of this big lake with clouds flying overhead. Came out great! I shot one frame every 12 seconds for about an hour.
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#10 Chris Keth

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Posted 23 October 2005 - 11:42 AM

You should be fine doing it yourself. Just remember, consistency is key. Heres my cheap trick of the day:

If its just a pan or tilt, rig up a dial and pointer system. the actuall layout will depend on the move and the layout of your tripod head.



Bingo. As long as you're willing to work the controls for the duration of a time-lapse shot, you really dont need much equipment at all. Only a camera that can do one frame at a time, and a tripod that's sturdy as a rock.
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