While the remote was one of the easiest ones on the market to use - it still had a rather steep learning curve thanks to the wide variety of settings and input needed to setup the device. While those that stuck with it had great success, casual users often found all of the settings a bit overwhelming. The idea of using a light meter seemed to make sense at the time, but a light meter isn't seeing what the camera is seeing; can easily be fooled by street lights or other artificial lights; and they don't actually work once light levels get too dim.
To get around the light sensor's sensitivity issues extra programming and settings needed to be added to the controller, and extra input was needed from the user in order to achieve a successful and smooth ramp from daylight through to the night sky. All of this helped to make devices like the Timelapse+ and Ramper Pro a product solely used by enthusiasts - as they are the only ones willing to invest the time it takes for trial and error.
Elijah is hoping to change all that with the launch of the new Timelapse+ VIEW. This new time lapse remote control removes all of the complexities of capturing advanced time lapses and makes capturing a "holy grail" time lapse as easy as capturing a standard time lapse. Say goodbye to wasted nights of trial and error.
Elijah has spent a lot of time hanging out with participants at my TimelapseMoab.com workshops over the past few years. This investment in time has given him insight into the struggles that photographers deal with when out in the field. Struggles such as the feeling of being rushed when setting up a shot (the sky always seems to be doing something amazing as soon as we get out of the car). The struggle of trying to find small buttons in the dark. The struggle we face when trying to set up our cameras and intervalometers while wearing gloves. The struggle of trying to compose a scene using the LCD on back of the camera when the camera is placed low, but aiming toward the sky. And more importantly, the frustration that sets in when we realize that we stopped our timelapse JUST as it was getting good!
Like any inventor would do, Elijah started working on ways to solve these problems; and today with the launch of the Timelapse+ VIEW he is providing a solution to these as well as other issues that made time-lapse more complex than it needed to be.
Here is a small list of features that are part of the Timelapse+ VIEW.
Displays a REAL-TIME preview of your time-lapse up to the current frame.
This feature alone is worth the price of admission. No longer will you be trying to sneak a 1/2-second peak between intervals on the back of the camera to see the last exposure. With the Timelapse+ VIEW you can view the full time-lapse from the start to the current frame anytime you want - without interrupting the time lapse or even touching the camera. The time lapse can be viewed on the device's small color display or using the free downloadable smartphone app.
This one feature will help so many time lapsers and in so many ways. When shooting time lapses we usually have no idea how the time period played out while we were capturing it. Sure we see the pink sky or the moon rising above the horizon, but we often don't see the true effect of what we captured until we render it out. A couple of years ago I was capturing the full moon rising off the coast. I waited until the moon went behind a cloud to stop the time lapse. Little did I realize at the time, but this is when the time lapse started to get good. The clouds were beautifully back lit by the moon and the night sky was a vibrant shade of blue thanks to the long exposure and light from the moon. If I had the REAL-TIME preview feature I would have been able to watch the time lapse as it was being captured and would not have stopped it until later.
Designed to be used with just ONE cable
Say goodbye to the spaghetti mess of cables. Just connect the USB cable from the Timelapse+ VIEW to your camera and you're done. The Timelapse+ View slides onto your cameras hot-shoe, giving it instant access to timing errors of your camera without requiring a PC Sync cable.
Designed to be used while wearing gloves
The interface of the Timelapse+ VIEW can be controlled using a large knob on the right side of the unit. Turn it to navigate the menu, press it to select an option. Even the other buttons were created with enough space to make them easy to press while wearing gloves.
Designed to be used hands-free
Sometimes we don't always have the lightest tough, so the Timelapse+ VIEW can be navigated using hand gestures. Wave your hand to the right to activate the menu screen and wave your hand up or down in front of the VIEW to change options. You no longer need to risk jarring your camera or tripod while changing settings.
Designed to require as little user input as possible
The Timelapse+ VIEW no longer relies on the user having to know too much or on a light sensor that can't see when light gets too dim (although, it does have one built-in for future possibilities and for use with hand gestures). Instead, it looks at each photo as soon as it is captured and compares it to the one before it. It then averages these changes over a small period of time to ensure that one or two problem frames (car headlights, flashlights, cloud blocking the sun) don't throw the time lapse out of whack. It then compares what the exposure should be on each frame with what the camera actually recorded, and writes corrective XMP (metadata) files internally that can be merged with the actual RAW files to make a perfect, flicker-free, time lapse.
Here's an example of how corrective files work:
As light levels change the camera can only make exposure adjustments in 1/3 increments either up or down. When light levels fall by 1/8, the camera has to decide to not make any change or to make a full adjustment of 1/3. In either case the changes to the settings won't match the change in actual exposure. This difference helps to cause flicker in a time lapse. The Timelapse+ VIEW will write a data file, called an XMP file, which when imported into Adobe Photoshop Lightroom, Adobe Bridge, or Adobe After Effects or Premiere Pro - along with the original image, will tell the software to correct the exposure for that frame by 1/5 - the difference between 1/8 and 1/3.
Designed with motion control in mind
While the code for this hasn't been completed,
the Timelapse+ VIEW, like its older sibling, will
be able to connect to the Dynamic Perception
NMX controller wirelessly or via USB and take
control over its three axis (Slide, Pan, and Tilt).
This will provide users with the ability to easily
combine motion control camera movement with
holy grail time lapse sequences.
TL+View App for Setting and Previewing
With Wi-Fi and Bluetooth functionality built into
the Timelapse+ VIEW, you'll be able to set up or
change the settings of a time lapse without having to touch the controller. Elijah has also given the VIEW the ability to be controlled remotely (across the world) via a web browser. For those that shoot long-term time lapse projects this feature will give you access to your controller regardless of where you are. You'll be able to change settings and get a real-time preview of how things are going. Of course the VIEW will need to be connected to a wireless network.
In every day use the app functionality will give you the ability to check the status of your time lapse without having to keep getting out of the car to check if things are still running. In cold weather environments you'll love this feature.
On the iOS platform the TL+VIEW app provides a "Live View" window to check composition, focus and exposure. You can change camea settings and intervals from this screen, as well as get feedback as to the current shutter speed, aperture, and ISO settings.
One Day with the Timelapse+ VIEW Prototype
The "VIEW" arrived late morning via FEDEX. I immediately plugged it in to a USB port to charge it while I read the brief user's guide that Elijah emailed to me. This is Elijah's one and only prototype and programming has only just begun, so I can only really talk about what this current version has enabled so far. Every feature I listed above is currently up and running on the prototype. The only feature I wasn't able to test was the hand gestures. It was working when the Prototype was shipped to me, but for some reason wouldn't work when I tested it. Elijah has already created a video showing how it works, so I have no question as to whether this actually works or not. Bear in mind that the prototype is just a taped together version to show / prove that his ideas are functional and work. The prototype will go through many changes before it goes into production this summer.
This afternoon I spent time on the phone with Elijah asking him many questions on things I had yet to try out. Since I only had one day with it I wanted to be sure that there wasn't anything I could do to screw up my one shot at capturing a time lapse with it. I also wanted to double check my facts before
I made my video and wrote this article.
This evening I packed up my gear and headed to a golf course along the ocean. I live about an hour from Boston, but only 10 minutes from a smaller town, so light pollution is still an issue. My goal on this night was to see how quickly I could set up my time lapse and how well the VIEW would perform. The temperature was 40 degrees which is fairly mild, but it felt much cooler thanks to 30-40MPH wind gusts. These are the times when you want set up to be quick and easy - and it was.
From the time I had the camera on the tripod and my composition framed up it took me less than two minutes to focus my camera, change the exposure, and program the intervalometer. It was so easy that it felt like I had to be missing something. Luckily, I wasn't.
Here are the steps I took to get my camera shooting.
Slide the Timelapse+ View onto the hot-shoe (not a required first step)
Turn the camera on
Turn camera mode dial to Av or Manual Mode
(I chose Av mode since it's more challenging for a controller)
Put my lens to manual focus and set focus
Set the camera ISO to 100
Set the camera's shutter speed to 1/2500
Turned on the VIEW and selected "Timelapse" in the menu using the knob
Double checked the Exposure on the Timelapse+ VIEW
Turned on Auto Ramping and Auto Intervals
Set the minimum interval to 6 seconds and maximum to 35 seconds
I didn't have to tell it what time sunset was or when astronomical twilight ends. I didn't have to worry about connecting an external battery to power the remote, I didn't have to do all of the things that I'm used to doing when shooting a 'holy grail' sequence. It was a very freeing experience for sure.
I then sat in my car for a couple of hours while I waited for the camera and the controller to do their thing. Every 15 minutes or so I would open the VIEW app on my iPhone to check the status of the
time lapse. I was able to view the last frame captured, the current exposure value, ISO, shutter speed, aperture setting; and was able to watch my time lapse play back in real time. The real-time playback is very low resolution, but it is enough to see exposure and the progress of the time lapse. According to Elijah, the real time playback feature takes into account the corrective meta data, but since it builds the live preview from small JPEG's it doesn't have the exposure latitude that RAW files have to really make it look perfect. But have no fear - the time lapse I rendered from the RAW files looked great.
One thing that really surprised me was how strong and immediate the Wi-Fi connection was. I was sitting inside my car about 30-35 feet away from the camera, yet every time I turned on the phone it
was instantly reconnected. As soon as I opened the VIEW app I was able to see what was going on without any lag time or waiting. I hope this won't change as the VIEW goes through final production.
Nothing in life is perfect and I am sure there will be things that the VIEW won't be perfect at. Since this is just the prototype it's hard for me to guess as to what those traits may be, but tonight everything that is important to getting a smooth day to night time lapse sequence worked flawlessly.
Since this is an early prototype there are many features that are not yet incorporated and which I was not been able to test. The ability to wirelessly control Dynamic Perception gear will be added, the ability to ramp focus between keyframes will be added, the ability to use it with brands other than Canon or Nikon will be added (Sony coming soon), and there will be much more.
two losses I see examples of gear that I now use that were only made possible because of crowd funding (Michron intervalometer, the original Timelapse+, Collar Perfect, MeMINI wearable camera, and the Breakthrough Technology X-Series ND Filter (amazing filter).
I have known Elijah for 3 years and will say that he's one of the most intelligent, soft spoken, and
honest people I have ever met. He has already had a successful crowd funding campaign on Kickstarter and knows what it takes to go into production on a product. While this still doesn't guarantee anything, it has made me comfortable enough to hand over my money to him for one of the first Timelapse+ VIEWS, and after getting a chance to use the prototype tonight I can't wait to get one
of my own.
TWO Day to Night Time lapses Captured Using the Timelapes+ VIEW
Head on over to the Kickstarter page to see the video and to learn about the project.
About Ron Risman
Ron is the founder of TimelapseWorkshops.com, a workshop that specializes in providing an intimate in-field and classroom workshop experience for photographers and cinematographer wanting to learn how to shoot professional time lapse for use in TV and Film. Ron's time lapse work has been used in commercials, television and in films by HBO, The Discover Channel, Land Rover, Liberty Mutual, Restoration Hardware, Orlando 9, FOX CT, and many others.
Ron has been a photographer for over 30 years and in 2004 launched Cameratown.com, a
free information portal designed to share his knowledge of photography and the latest gear.
Ron's Social Media Links
Hands-on with the new Timelapse+ VIEW
Real-Time Time lapse Preview
Written by Ron Risman, TimelapseWorkshops.com
Today I had the opportunity to spend time with a new product that quite possibly will change Time-lapse capture forever. There is currently only ONE of these in existence but that will soon change.
Eljiah Parker successfully launched an advanced intervalometer through Kickstarter about 4 years ago. The product was the Timelapse+, a compact handheld time lapse controller that featured a built-
in light sensor and offered interval and exposure
ramping, focus ramping with select cameras, and the ability to wirelessly control the Dynamic Perception motion control sliders and heads. It was also the first time lapse controller on the market that allowed users to capture "holy grail" sequences (the smooth capture of day to night transitions) without having to babysit the process.
First Look at the TL+View Intervalometer
My first ramp using the Timelapse+ VIEW
I normally don't show "unprocessed" work but I didn't want to 'fix' anything in post in order to show you what the results were directly from the Timelapse+ VIEW controller. I did remove the vignette in post, but that was the only correction I made to this. I then rendered the timelapse and imported it into Premiere Pro to add titles and then re-exported as a 1080p H.264 file for uploading to Vimeo.
My second ramp using the Timelapse+ VIEW
Elijah allowed me to hold onto the Prototype for one more day, but because of work load I had to head out to my backyard to shoot this time lapse. Once it gets dark you'll see how much light pollution there is from street lights, yet the VIEW still ramped perfectly from daylight all the way through to the starry skies (albiet washed out starry skies).