Can Anyone Figure Out How This Timelapse Was Filmed?

The guys at T-Recs (short for timelapse recordings) created a timelapse video that is unlike anything I have seen before. We have all seen timelapse videos that have camera movement but nothing like this. Some how these guys are making really big moves, almost like they are shooting out of an airplane. Anyone know how this sort of thing is done?

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Must have been shot on some sort of massive jib.

Seshan's picture

Could be just shot on some kind of vehicle and they just crop the images to stable them out.

Sankey Photography's picture

No firsthand knowledge, but it appears to be an intervalometer-triggered camera, probably mounted on a fluid head in a clamp on top of a car/jeep/vehicle for the ground shots; some on roads, some on overpasses.  The early 2 or 3 that are from a higher perspective could've been on an elevated road, ski lift, gondola, etc.  The cloud effect in the beginning was very cool; if that's non-photoshopped, I'd have to guess at a mountaintop cloud swirl around dusk.

Just my $.02 - could be dead wrong.  (But I bet I'm at least partially correct.)

Brian Hawkins's picture

Could also have been a riding on dolly track with the operators leap-frogging sections of track as it goes along.  Possibly also an RC helicopter transit, stabilized in post (would have plenty of resolution to spare for this if shooting 21MP or so).  Vehicles, as stated above, are also quite likely.

No idea but it is cool! They appear to be keeping it a secret.

im thinking some from a vehicle and some from a tripod that is either one wheels or they just really took care while moving it from shot to shot.  cool video

Maybe they found a solution a create a slider in several parts that can be unmounted and than added at the end of the last piece and so on, so it looks like a giant slider.

arthurkendrick's picture

only two ways too do that:
1. a full size computerized dolly with track (preferably one that has the ability to move up and down too). It's huge, really expensive, and a pain to haul around but it would do shots like this easy. You just lay the track, plan your shots, and then tell the computer how much to move each second and it takes care of the rest. 
2. You could rig up a cheaper version of this with a super tight (I mean ultra tight) steel wire and a robotic computerized rig that would run along the cable. Never seen it used in time lapse but on a day without high winds and a super tight cable you might be able to pull it off. Since it is traveling long distances the small movements wouldn't make as much a difference as it would over a shorter distance. 

that being said a couple of the shots (ones near the grapevines) looked like dolly shot IMHO. 

I've actually built a rig for shooting time lapse with a steel cable, and it sort of worked.  A normal, short exposure has to be used for the necessary! stabilizing in post, which will give you a stop-motion sort of look, as opposed to the longer exposures usually used in time lapses.  However, I would imagine a two cable rig like the one Sea-to-Sky cam uses would work quite well.  With a single cable design, even the slightest wind will push the camera slightly, and even half a degree of tilt is pretty obvious.

That said, I don't think they used that here.  I think they were probably from a car with a crane mounted on it, and stabilized in post.  Changing the exposure for a daylight time lapse to a normal sharp exposure gives a lot more freedom with how smooth the movement needs to be, because of the effective stabilizing in post.  There's a timelapse video called "The Sandpit" (youtube it), in which some panning shots were done handheld.  Also, in Tom Lowe's "Rapture," there is one amazing shot which I believe was done from a boat, if not then from an R/C helicopter.

I have to disagree with you about the R/C Helicopter, Ive worked with them in the past on jobs, they are not nearly stable enough to get shots like these. They wouldn't be practical for shooting a time lapse. Figure about 8-10 minutes with a 5D hung from a quadrocoptor, not long enough to do this. 

You can, with very high end equipment, set up cable dollies with a stabilizer and a programable pulley of some sort to get time-lapse videos like this accomplished. Personally thats the only practical way I see to get shots like these over the heights and distances that TRECS is shooting. 

Heres a home spun version of what I think they used:

And a much larger professional version:

The super tight wire is my guess also. Also like a zip line for a camera. 

I am saying an RC helicopter for most of it. 

While plausible I don't think you would get the needed stability out of such a method. They can only hold so much weight and the gear needed to stabilise a camera with be more than it could handle IMO

There is a guy that shoots video with a 7d on a huge helicopter (like 4-5ft wide) that has been shown on fstoppers before. You obviously couldn't do it with just a $50 RC copter.

yeah, its definitely not your mall kiosk mini helis.  I use to fly Rc helis...the $2000 versions..I've never tried to lift a dslr but I'm sure it could with a lot of effort.  You still have the problem of wind and stability.  Even the most expensive gyros to keep the heli headed in the right direction is no match for radio interference and the slightest wind gusts.  The faster it flies, the more chance of keeping things stable, if you're flying slow, forget it.