This is a second shot from my 52 Timelapse Project. You can check out the details of the project or full list of the shots.

The second week of 2017 was all about candles for me 😉 I was finilizing the Alternative Gimbal Uses article for a long time. Now, I know the advantages and disadvantages of using a camera stabilizer as a motion controlled head for timelapses. Also, I found out, that in beta firmware for Alexmos controller there is a proper timelapse feature. However, this shot (and the tutorial) is about using scripts for timelapse purposes and you still can use that 🙂 For sure I’ll make an article about the new feature, but I’ve got to test it for some time. Enough talking, watch the shot below (looped version on the bottom as always):

Why the candles are tilted? First of all, they look like Titanic chimneys 😉 But it’s not that important. The shot includes two axis movement: tilt axis and roll axis. Using roll axis in this kind of shots is not very popular, there are only few solutions, in which it’s available. With a gimbal, you can use roll axis wherever you want (however in the most cases it’s useless). So, I’ve tilted the candles to use the roll axis and make this shot a little bit more interesting.

This shot is a part of my Scripting Tutorial. Check out that, if you want to use your gimbal as a motion controlled timelapse head.


So, how even to set-up something like that? The first thing I did was to burn one candle with a stopwatch, to find out how long does it take. Without that it would be just guesing, what’s going to happen inside the frame. Of course I could make it a lot wider, then crop it and move in post however I want. But that’s just a trick, I wanted to make this shot for real, in camera. Post production of a still shot would look almost the same. The ‘almost’ is an important part. The viewers maybe wouldn’t know why, but it’ll look a little bit fake to them. I don’t like adding a movement in post production to shots in any of my timelapses. If I want to move the camera, I want to do it properly, on set. These little things distinguish something, that people called PRO from the amateur shots. On the other hand, with this close shot I was able to achieve really shallow depth of field 😉

So, I measured that the candle burns for about 14 min. I wanted the result to be 10 sec video, so it gives me 3 sec interval (14min is 840 sec, 10 sec at 25fps is 250 pictures, so 840s / 250 pics = 3.36 sec). After that it was time to set up the camera. I’ve connected the gimbal to the computer and I was trying different camera angles using a single line of script. For example I run the script:

ANGLE RA(15) PA(20) YA(0)

and watched on the camera, whether I like the framing. If not, I adjusted the angles and checked again. Then I did the same thing for the end of the shot. When I had the angles, I used my Script Calculator to calculate the speed for each axis. When it was all set, I just started the script and waited 😉

That’s it 🙂 Thank you for being with me another week. Now it’s time to make a shot for week 3! Stay tuned 😉

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