Eyjafjallajökull in time lapse

My nephew Ben sent me this nifty video of the Keyboard Volcano (you know, EyjafjallajökulljalfjakofeyjaKABOOM!). I love the time lapse, but I was especially struck by the camera’s motion. Something about moving the camera during the image capture process completely changes the character of the movie. With a normal time lapse image, I can see, in my mind’s eye, a camera bolted to a tripod for the hours or days required. But when the camera translates through space, it feels like the dreamy vision of a slow moving creature.


Iceland, Eyjafjallajökull – May 1st and 2nd, 2010 from Sean Stiegemeier on Vimeo.

I first saw this technique on the recent Life series that Oprah Winfrey made in her spare time. The Filming Plants short video on the Life site gives you an idea what I’m talking about. The camera doesn’t so much record the plant as dance with it as it grows.

In the way of all things technical, this high-end trend is being made available to hobbyists. In the notes under the volcano video, filmmaker Sean Stiegemeier thanks MILapse for his motorized dolly. MILapse turns out to be Jay Burlage, and he’ll help you build an open source hardware motion control system for your high dynamic range time lapse video system. God bless the hobbyists! Amazing stuff.