My Gear: Timelapse and Motion Control

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KESSLER SHUTTLE POD SYSTEM

The Kessler Shuttle Pod System  is a unique camera dolly system that can utilize your existing standard Kessler Crane as the rail / track system for the dolly. The beauty of this system is that it can grow with your needs – you can build more complex systems as you go and your needs become more complex.   The Shuttle Pod is completely smooth and silent and can be used for both time lapse and live action (motion control)  I use this system extensively for all of my time lapse photography.

 

Shuttle Pod Starter Rail Kit 4ft

Mfr. Site

VL:  This is a fantastic slider system that can literally grow with you.   You can start with a 4 foot system and go all the way up to 12 feet – which I do regularly.   As long as you use proper support you’ll find zero flex which is critical.   This is the heart of my time lapse system – and works perfectly with or without motors.  The legs are a great solution for a low mode use as well.

Additionally, I love the outrigger feet – really fantastic way to put the slider down on the floor, on a  table or just about any surface (especially uneven ones) quickly in seconds and make very quick adjustments.  Tripods take significantly longer.

Description (from Kessler): The Shuttle Pod Start Rail Kit (4 ft) is the base to your Shuttle Pod Rail System. By adding on the 4 foot Extension Rail Kit (or multiple), you can expand your Shuttle Pod Rail System to 8 ft, 12 ft, or more (with proper supports).

  

Shuttle Pod 4ft Extension Rail Kit Mfr. Site

VL:  It’s great to be able to quickly go from 4 feet, to 8 feet and eventually 12 feet… or as long as you want to go theoretically!   

Description (from Kessler):  Turn your 4 foot Shuttle Pod Rail Starter Kit into a 8 foot length, or add multiple extensions to extend the rail length longer. The cross includes standard threaded holes for adding additional support.

Includes:
2 – 4 foot rails
2 – coupler bars
4 – knobs
1 – cross brace

Kessler Shuttle Pod

Mfr. Site

VL:  We’ve mounted fully loaded RED Epics, and all HDSLRS to this system without a problem.

Description (from Kessler): The Kessler Shuttle Pod™ is a unique camera dolly system that can utilize your existing standard Kessler Crane (11.5" width) as the rail / track system for the dolly. You can also use our proprietary expandable rail system (available soon) if you do not have a Kessler Crane. The Shuttle Pod™ has multiple optional camera mounting options available, using the Cheese Plate and 100mm Bowl Mount inserts. The Shuttle Pod™ is completely smooth and silent and can even be removed and used as a table top dolly, by rolling on a smooth surface

elektraDRIVE 500 Series Motor Pod

Mfr. Site

VL:  Smooth and powerful – once you go motorized… you never go back.   You become incredibly spoiled at the perfect control you get on the speed and ease-in and ease-out (dampening.)

Description (from Kessler): The 500 Series motor is the suggested Time Lapse (slow) motor for the CineSlider and would be the very slow Time Lapse motor for the Pocket Dolly and has the most torque of the 3 main motors. Approximate Dynamic Range below, for continuous live movement at the lowest and highest motor speed settings. In Timelapse mode, the motors are stepped, to slow them down to where they could take years, using the pulse method.

  • Pocket Dolly - 10min 15 sec/ft (slow) 8.7 sec/ft (fast)
  • CineSlider - 3min 53 sec/ft (slow) & 3.9 sec/ft (fast)

Both a motor mount and controller are required to use this motor.

Kessler Camera Control Module

Mfr. Site

VL:   This is an ESSENTIAL kit for long exposures.  This ensures that your camera doesn’t fire when the sliders is moving.   This allows you to move the motor, shoot a long exposure, and then move again.

Description (from Kessler): The Camera Control Module is required for the intervalometer function of the ORACLE Controller. You will need an ORACLE Controller with firmware version v2.06.1SL or newer and the camera control cable for your camera. The Camera Control Module comes with your choice of one camera control cable. Additional cables for other cameras can be purchased separately.

N3+ Cable

Mfr. Site

VL:  The adaptor for Canon cameras for the control module.

 

Oracle Control System – Controller

Mfr. Site

VL:  This is the brains of the system if you will.   I absolutely love the controls on this unit for live action moves.  Very very precise – and that’s the most important part.

Description (from Kessler): The ORACLE Control System is the core of our elektraDRIVE line of products. Almost two years in development, we set out to make the ultimate multi-function controller for our line of electronic products. The ORACLE Control System is interchangeable between multiple products, like our REVOLUTION Pan / Tilt System, elektraDRIVE motor pods for the CineSlider & Pocket Dolly, and other products to be released in the future.

Shuttle Pod Keeper/Grabber Wheel Kit 

Mfr. Site

VL:  I highly recommend this whether or not you want to go inclined/inverted or not – this insures the camera can never come off the track…

Description (from Kessler): The Keeper / Grabber Wheel Kit is used to hold your Shuttle Pod to the rails, when using in an inclined or inverted configuration.

Shuttle Pod 100mm Bowl Mount Insert

Mfr. Site

VL:  We use this with our video heads regularly – a must have if you want to use non-still photo heads.

Description (from Kessler): The 100mm Bowl Mount allows for mounting a 100mm Ball fluid head to the Shuttle Pod. You may also mount a 75mm Ball fluid head, using the optional 100mm – 75mm Bowl Adapter ring.

Not compatible with first edition Shuttle Pod that has the camera platform without the center insert "cutout". If you have the original Shuttle Pod that only has the mounting holes in the center of the plate, this will not work, and you will need the 100mm High Hat in the slider accessories area.
 

 

 RREVOLUTION PAN AND TILT HEAD

The Kessler REVOLUTION Pan and Tilt System is our answer to the need for an affordable, quality motorized pan & tilt head. After two years of development, we have produced a motorized head that addresses the failings of other pan / tilt heads in this price range. When paired with the ORACLE Controller, we honestly feel the REVOLUTION is the most feature rich and best motorized head solution on the market, for under $5000.

 

Oracle Control System – Controller Mfr. Site

VL: This is the brains of the system if you will.   I absolutely love the controls on this unit for live action moves.  Very very precise – and that’s the most important part.

Description (from Kessler): The ORACLE Control System is the core of our elektraDRIVE line of products. Almost two years in development, we set out to make the ultimate multi-function controller for our line of electronic products. The ORACLE Control System is interchangeable between multiple products, like our REVOLUTION Pan / Tilt System, elektraDRIVE motor pods for the CineSlider & Pocket Dolly, and other products to be released in the future.

REVOLUTION Pan and Tilt Head System

Mfr. Site

VL:  Love it. Period.  For time lapse, for live action – this is one of the easiest ways to add serious production value to your film.  We use it on everything from the Cineslider, to the rail system and Jib.   We’ve mounted all HDSLR kits and Epic on this head without issue.   

Description (from Kessler): The Kessler REVOLUTION Pan and Tilt System is our answer to the need for an affordable, quality motorized pan & tilt head. After two years of development, we have produced a motorized head that addresses the failings of other pan / tilt heads in this price range. When paired with the ORACLE Controller, we honestly feel the REVOLUTION is the most feature rich and best motorized head solution on the market, for under $5000.

 

KC 12/8 CRANE

85 Pounds of standard weight

Mfr. Site

VL:   Don’t forget the weights for your JIB…

 

K-Pod Tripod System Mfr. Site

VL:   A very sturdy tripod is necessary once you extend the JIB out 12 feet with a fully loaded HDSLR or Epic system – this fits the bill well.

Description (from Kessler): The Kessler K-Pod System™ is a revolutionary tripod system designed to support camera cranes / jibs. The K-Pod™ has extremely rigid double strut legs with the patent pending incremental Posi-Lock System™, that friction locks the legs, as well as interlocks into incremental lock pockets. The lock pockets allow you to equally position the legs while providing a lock that can not slip down.

The pop-lock spreader system locks the legs in a pre-stressed position to eliminate instability in heavy load conditions, and acts as the frame system for the various dolly configurations.

The K-Pod™ was designed to be the best tripod system for your camera crane / jib, but it is also an excellent tripod to shoot from, when not using your crane.

The K-Pod™ comes with standard pad feet, but has multiple foot/wheel options available including dual locking dolly caster wheels, dual locking "all-terrain" wheels, stainless steel spikes, and swiveling track dolly trucks.

Kessler Extended Weight Bar Mfr. Site

VL:  A great solution when you’d rather use engineering over the brute solution of carrying more weights with you.

Description (from Kessler): Explore another configuration option for your weights with this extended weight bar. This package will still allow you to use the factory weight bar for fine tuning as well as provide extra surface area for other accessories such as zoom control or a monitor. The extended weight bar is a must when using larger cameras as it provides more leverage by moving the weight further away from center.

Vertical Break Kit Mfr. Site

VL:   You must have a brake with any jib for both safety and to be able to do purely lateral jib moves.

Description (from Kessler): When the Kessler Crane® is not in motion protect it from unwanted vertical movement with this braking system. Simply tighten the knob and the crane will stay in the angle you place it allowing you to film locked down static shots as well.

Hercules 2.0 Head Mfr. Site

VL:  Very strong and necessary with a heavily loaded JIB.

Description (from Kessler): The Kessler "Hercules 2.0" Head is the new and improved version of our ultra strong, solid aluminum pan / tilt head. Originally designed specifically for use with our Kessler Crane®, the “Hercules 2.0” now has panning drag control and with an optional quick plate* is an excellent head to mount your camera to, when not using your crane. Mounts to your tripod using a 100mm levelable ball mount, 75mm fixed ring mount, or a flat mount. No quick plate is used to mount your crane to the "Hercules 2.0", so you get an ultra stable connection.

The “Hercules 2.0” features our revolutionary Bio-Glide™ technology for extremely smooth pan and tilt movement and spring assisted drag control. Tilt can be pin locked, so the “Hercules 2.0” functions as a Fluid Swivel™. Also has a positionable handle, built-in bullseye level and the Kessler Lifetime Warranty. Utilizing our Bio-Glide™ technology and unrivaled 150 lbs weight capacity, the “Hercules 2.0” out performs the normal fluid heads, but still maintains an affordable price tag.

KC 12/8 Mfr. Site

VL:  Here is the JIB we use with HDSLRs and Epic.   We hang the revolution head from this unit to give you an incredibly powerful system for the price.

Description (from Kessler): 

  • V3 Mounting plate / base section, compatible with 18′ Upgrade.
  • 360 rotation. 
  • Invertible camera platform for Under Slung or Over Slung Positions.
  • 2 arm design for maximum stability and minimum wobble.
  • Internal sleeve bearings insure incredible smoothness.
  • Constructed of high grade 6061-T6 aluminum.
  • Coated with a flat black non-reflective finish.
  • Right and left hand set up option.
  • Has rear control handle included.
  • Manual, fixed-angle mode, & automatic camera tilt control. (10lb. camera max for Manual tilt on 12ft crane set up)
  • Sliding weight bar to easily achieve perfect balance
  • Uses standard household style exercise weights. (1 inch hole).
  • Breaks down into three easily transported sections
  • All parts are precision made and held to +/- .005” tolerances.
100mm Ball Relocator Mfr. Site

VL:  This pieces is perfect not only for the JIB – but can also be used with the sliders / cineslider to mount a video head in the inverted or normal move off to the side a bit.

Description (from Kessler): 

Kessler Crane Soft Case Mfr. Site

VL:   Everything fits nicely and safely in these bags.

Description (from Kessler): This case is custom made for the Kessler Crane®. The new model has a rigid Masonite padded floor. The foam lined top and sides keep their soft shape and ensure the protection of your equipment. A removable V-shaped “taco” divider creates three separate sections, each piece of your 12 foot crane can be easily placed in it’s own padded slot. No more scratches from rubbing together! If you have opted for the 8 foot crane, use the extra space to house your extra accessories. We have included a utility pouch with a velcro flap on the front. Use this 12” by 18” wide pocket to carry your tools, extra plates, light weights…whatever you need! With less surface area than the old model, the Kessler Crane® soft case makes shooting on location with your Crane a snap!

 

KESSLER CINESLIDER SYSTEM

Kessler CineSlider w/ elektraDRIVE motor, REVOLUTION head, and ORACLE controller Mfr. Site

VL: The CineSlider is incredibly well built – and will work wonderfully with the hand crank or the Elektra motor.  I personally love this CineSlider because you can start with the base model shown here – and add to it over time with electric motors, the revolution head, and Oracle control system over time.   This will allow you to operate the entire system remotely for video (a remote controlled slider with pan/tilt head!) and to use it not only for video – but also for incredible time lapse photography setups.

Description (from Kessler): The Kessler CineSlider™ is a heavy duty portable mini-dolly / linear slider system for camera rigs weighing up to 80 pounds or more. Weighing in at only 10 pounds, with a length of 40.5 inches, 5 inches wide, and a total camera travel distance or 35.5 inches, the CineSlider is a very portable solution to get those quick, smooth short-run dolly movements, without having to transport a large dolly system.

elektraDRIVE 200 Series Motor Pod Mfr. Site

VL: Rock solid motors.  As stated above – once you motorize your slider you’ll have a hard time ever going back.  You get spoiled very quickly with the incredible precision and smooth, regular motion you get.

Description (from Kessler): The 200 Series motor is the suggested Time Lapse (slow) motor for the Pocket Dolly, and the suggested normal use motor for the CineSlider. Approximate Dynamic Range below, for continuous live movement at the lowest and highest motor speed settings. In Timelapse mode, the motors are stepped, to slow them down to where they could take years, using the pulse method.

  • Pocket Dolly - 4min 24 sec/ft (slow) 4.3 sec/ft (fast)
  • CineSlider - 1 min 48 sec/ft (slow) & 2.4 sec/ft (fast)
Both a motor mount and controller are required to use this motor.
elektraDRIVE BASIC Controller v2.0 Mfr. Site

VL:   This is a fantastic solution for users who want to do basic slider moves with a very small unit that doesn’t require as much support to mount.

Description (from Kessler): The elektraDRIVE BASIC Controller is for use with the elektraDRIVE motor configurations for the Pocket Dolly or CineSlider, when the advanced features of our ORACLE Controller are not needed. The Basic Controller allows for linear (side to side) movement, with adjustable speed control and has built in 0.5 second of digital dampening for starts / stops. 

The BASIC Controller now has 3 modes. 

Momentary Mode: 
Hold down the direction button and the carriage moves as long as the button is held down. Variable speed can be adjusted "on the fly" while the carriage is in motion. 

Continuous Mode: 
Press direction button once to begin carriage movement, and press it again to stop it. 

Pulse Mode: 
This mode allows you to make ultra-slow movements that can be used for basic time lapses. 

The elektraDRIVE BASIC Controller is only for use with the slider configurations. It is NOT compatible with the Revolution Pan / Tilt Head. 

 

ACCESSORIES

These are a variety of accessories and alternate items that can be incorporated with the above systems.

Timer Remote controller TC-80N3 B&H Mfr. Site

VL: This is the unit I rely on for all of my timelapse photography.   You can dial in pretty much any setting / duration / interval setting.  It’s compact and I have one with me at all times – you never know when the timelapse urge will hit!

Description: This is a remote switch with an 2.6ft cord and a self-timer, interval timer, long-exposure timer, and exposure-count setting feature. The timer can be set anywhere from 1 second to 99 hours, 59 min., 59 sec. A new dial enables you to easily enter the numeric settings with a single thumb. The LCD panel can also be illuminated.

Bescor 12v (12Ah) Battery Pack Mfr. Site

VL:  I’m not sure these ever die… I never remember needing to charge them!  Seriously – I’ve gone DAYS and NIGHTS on one battery… no problem.  I’ve done several multi-hour time lapses in a row on one charge.

Description (from Kessler): Need more power? Well here you go. Hang this 12 volt power pack on the base of your crane and it will supply you with up to 16 hours of run time for your monitors, cameras, motorized pan/tilt heads or anything that will run on 12 volts. Comes complete with hanging shoulder pouch, 4 pin XLR and female cigarette lighter style power outputs and an automatic charger that will prevent overcharging and lengthen batter life.

elektraDRIVE 100 Series Motor Pod Mfr. Site

VL: Rock solid motors.  As stated above – once you motorize your slider you’ll have a hard time ever going back.  You get spoiled very quickly with the incredible precision and smooth, regular motion you get.

Description (from Kessler): The 100 Series motor is the suggested normal use motor for the Pocket Dolly or very fast motor for the CineSlider. This motor has less torque than the 200 or 500 Series motors. Approximate Dynamic Range below, for continuous live movement at the lowest and highest motor speed settings. In Timelapse mode, the motors are stepped, to slow them down to where they could take years, using the pulse method.

  • Pocket Dolly - 2min 15 sec/ft (slow) 1.6 sec/ft (fast)
  • CineSlider - 56 sec/ft (slow) & 0.83 sec/ft (fast)
Both a motor mount and controller are required to use this motor.
12v DC Power Adapter Mfr. Site

VL:  A really nice option to have with you on the road.

Description (from Kessler): 12v DC Power Adapter to power ORACLE or BASIC Controllers with a DC power source (battery). Will also work to power monitor by a 12v DC power source.

12v Y Adapter Mfr. Site

VL:  Another great option.

Description (from Kessler):

12v Y Adapter to plug two 12v DC power adapters into a single battery.
elektraDRIVE 12v (7.2Ah) Battery Pack Mfr. Site

VL: A nice more compact solution for those who want to travel even lighter.

Description (from Kessler): Used to power elektraDRIVE BASIC and ORACLE Controllers. Requires 12v DC Adapter