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Well Hung Hardware

Time lapse photography is very hot right now and I’m grateful for the amount of commissioned work that’s come my way on a steady basis. My clientele have been generous, supportive and appreciative of the stories I’ve produced for them.

On most set ups, I take BTS snappers of my camera rigs. These photographs are used for reference and for the many talks I give on shooting commercial time lapse assignments.

C-stands, Gorilla Pods, Magic Arms, adjustable A-Clamps, segmented tubes, sandbags, apple boxes and tripods are fair game, especially when I have to rig in odd, out-of-way places: on scaffolding, attached to structural beams, wrapped around tree trunks, setting on soft earth or resting on rocks and boulders.

So without further ado, here’s a rogues gallery of my hanging hardware…

Moving cameras along a vertical axis requires a 27:1 stepper motor.

Moving cameras along a vertical axis requires a 27:1 stepper motor. Real power for driving up and down in a controlled fashion.

I'll use whatever is handy for supporting a camera. In this case, anything other than a GoPro would have been too heavy.

I’ll use whatever is handy for supporting a camera. In this case, anything other than a GoPro would have been too heavy.

This camera rig was kept in place for 21 days. At the end of each day I would remove the GoPro body  only and put back in again the next morning. The Li-On battery was recharged each night too.

This camera rig was kept in place for 21 days. At the end of each day I would remove the GoPro body only and put back in again the next morning. The Li-On battery was recharged each night too.

The Syrp Genie is a very powerful drive motor and as you can see here, when rigged properly it can do beautiful vertical pans.

The Syrp Genie is a very powerful drive motor and as you can see here, when rigged properly it can do beautiful vertical pans.

My favorite combination is the eMotimo TB3 and the Dynamic Perception Stage 0 Dolly for slider or rail shots.

My favorite combination is the eMotimo TB3 and the Dynamic Perception Stage 0 Dolly for slider or rail shots.

A GoPro hung at the business end of a lighting boom. you have to be inventive when duty calls. This allows me to reposition the POV from the other end using two crank handles.

A GoPro hung at the business end of a lighting boom. you have to be inventive when duty calls. This rig, (with the attached umbrella stand connector) allows me to reposition the POV from the other end using two crank handles.

Once on the boom it gets about twenty feet in the air.

Once on the boom it gets about twenty feet in the air.

C-stands are also handy-dandy when it comes to hoisting a camera. I use  2-3 20 lb. sandbags to keep the stand secure.

C-stands are also handy-dandy when it comes to hoisting a camera. I use 2-3, 20 lb. sandbags to keep the stand secure.

I like shooting into the sun, flare is my friend but heat is not. This is a compromise between limiting flare and managing heat buildup.

I like shooting into the sun, flare is my friend but heat is not. This is a compromise between limiting flare and managing heat buildup.

This rats nest of articulated clamps and a Gorilla Pod was juts the thing for this sequence.

This rats nest of articulated clamp, A-clamp and Gorilla Pod was just the thing for this sequence.

When shooting on a pitched elevation and the ground is soft, sandbags and cleats are called for to stabilize over the course of a three hour seqeunce.

When shooting on a pitched elevation and the ground is soft, sandbags and cleats are called for to stabilize over the course of a three hour sequence.

A CU of the cleats. It's my own homemade design, crafted in Pasadena from the finest particle board around..~:)

A CU of the cleats. It’s my own homemade design, crafted in Pasadena from the finest particle board around..~:)

A simpler use of the Genie. In this case I repeated the same 45˚ left to right pan over the course of the day. Editing this will be challenging no doubt.

A simpler use of the Genie. In this case I repeated the same 45˚ left to right pan over the course of the day. Editing this will be challenging no doubt.

Apple boxes, sandbags and a little luck made this end sequence sparkle.

Apple boxes, sandbags and a little luck made this end sequence sparkle. That’s a lead acid battery in the black bag. It’s my primary energy source because I get nine hours of time out of one charge. Sweet.

No, the camera did not go into the water but it got wet. Oh well it needed a good cleaning anyway.

No, the camera did not go into the water but it got wet. Oh well it needed a good cleaning anyway.

I'm not opposed to doing whatever it takes to get my shot.

I’m not opposed to doing whatever it takes to get my shot.

It's great to have such a large preview screen.

It’s great to have such a large preview screen. This sequence is very cool indeed.

The Lil Mule is a very good solution for long distance over smooth surfaces. I put the camera on a monopod but it can also be set very close to the ground.

The Lil Mule is a very good solution for long distance over smooth surfaces. I put the camera on a mono pod but it can also be set very close to the ground.

How can you not love a robot like this?

How can you not love a robot like this? Extra weight at the base is a must when the camera is this high.

The Lil Mule in use with a camera low to the ground. This POV make for some dynamic sequences.

The Lil Mule in use with a camera low to the ground. This POV make for some dynamic sequences. There’s that lead acid battery again.

A very simple and elegant solution for holding an intervalometer in place.

A very simple and elegant solution for holding an intervalometer in place.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4 Comments

  1. Olli April 29, 2014 at 8:17 pm #

    Nice explanations of your setup. I have to agree. Who cares whats the equipment, when it gets the job done. I am all for minimal amount of gear, so don’t use sliders and rails at all, but of course if the job requires it, then you add whats needed.

    The sandbags use is a good tip, however I tend to use simple strong plastic bags (again, easy to carry) and fill them with stones/earth/water/whatever where and when needed.

  2. Michael Stern April 30, 2014 at 7:00 am #

    Thanks for reading and commenting. I’ve heard about the plastic bag trick many times and I get it. Just stubborn I guess, but carrying them provides a bit of exercise on every job…:)

    Cheers!

  3. Gunnar Svensson May 4, 2014 at 12:46 am #

    Hi and thanks for all the nice exercises you shared…
    Using the syrp-genie..are there any android appl available…

  4. Michael Stern May 5, 2014 at 10:33 am #

    Hello Gunnar, thanks for commenting. Yes there many Android apps for sure, just google to find what you need.

    Best,

    Michael

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