Day to Night
Kingdom of Plants
Turntables rotate subjects or lighting; from a butterfly’s wing to animate the scales & fluorescence to a whole living set. I have turntables for quick moves or extreme macro microscopy moves.
For the larger landscapes bigger moves are required and for that I’ve developed a motion controlled crane (up to 20 foot). Ideal for landscape or plants growth sequences in a studio or more controlled environments.
Focus motors for lenses, and focusing racks enable precise macro moves on a variety of sliders from Chapman & Ronford sliders to ladder dollies. Alternatively they can be attached to standard lenses to keyframe focus with other motion parameters.
Dolly (with pan / tilt)
From small rigs (single DSLRs) for timelapse or live action repeated moves, right up to heavy 3D mirror rigs – their motion can be programmed and repeated with a pan / tilt / dolly head and track.
With motion-controlled timelapse it is possible to dissolve between UV and visible light. The image below shows the same iris flower captured in visible light (on the left) and in true UV (on the right). Use the slider to dissolve between the two. The UV capture is possible due to a hardware modified camera and a UV Nikon lens with quartz glass. Timelapse allows animation of the subject so the iris can be seen opening with a dissolve at any point from visible to UV.
my first timelapse
epiboly in an embryo filmed for my undergraduate dissertation while studying at Bath for my degree in Biological Sciences
The nature of timelapse often means shooting in controlled, studio environments. This requires realistic and detailed, living, sets being built inside. Set designing is as much part of the timelapse shoot as dealing with the cameras and the motion control, so green fingers certainly help.
Out of this world
It’s not just about what we can see, but about what we can’t see also. Shooting in UV and IR reveals new behaviours that otherwise go unnoticed. I have a variety of specialist kit including UV lenses, adapted cameras and notch filters to selecting wavelengths.
Something are just very, very small. Take social amoeba (dictyostelium) for example. Hardly any bigger than a pin head but full of life that timelapse can bring alive, and in 3D too.
And repeat. But faster.
Stepping up gear, it’s sometimes helpful to combine framerates together. Repeating a move in timelapse, live action and then over-speed means compositing can then bring hyper-real worlds alive.