@media screen and (min-width: 641px) { article { width: 580px; margin: 0 auto; } }

For any questions please use the form below. For licensing stock images or timelapse, you can fill out one of the forms below to help speed things up and get you your footage as quickly as possible.

Name *
Please choose one

123 Street Avenue, City Town, 99999

(123) 555-6789



You can set your address, phone number, email and site description in the settings tab.
Link to read me page with more information.


Filtering by Category: gear

Stepper > DC motors for Timelapse Motion Control

Jesse Attanasio

At first I had this article titled "Stepper Vs. DC motors", but I honestly couldn't think of a logical reason to defend DC motors when being used for motion control timelapse. I've been getting a ton of emails asking for advice on what motion control timelapse system I would suggest for someone to purchase. First I try to sell them my DP stage zero (still for sale!) but most of the time they have already been to my website and read my comparison review of the MX2 and the ChronotimerHonestly though, that was a comparison of the controllers, not the entire rigs capabilities. Plus it was mostly an opinion piece to show how important a simple interface is for the less tech savvy folk (like myself) but without loosing any features. In Chronos' case, I actually gained a few. Now that there are a few more low cost systems on the market and a couple on kickstarter, I decided I should post a blog about what I think is a very important factor when it comes to a useful timelapse system. 

I believe the most important factor in a good motion timelapse system(besides the controller) is the motor being used. DC motors really cannot hold up to the precision repeatability and dependability of stepper motors without the DC motor being encoded. DC motors operate on pulses, so you can make it go slower or faster be increasing the pulse rate. A capable controller can send a pulse for a constant speed for a set amount of time, then pause and expose the shot, then pulse for movement again and so on and so forth. This is referred to as a move-shoot-move mode(MSM). So when you set your controller to MSM mode, it is really only telling the motor to move for a certain amount of time, not a specific distance. Which explains why when you change from a horizontal to a vertical axis you must recalibrate and/or change the speed on the controller to get the desired travel distance. This also becomes an issue when using different loads of weight on the cart (i.e. a large lens will cause the motor to move slower).

Stepper motors on the other hand operate in "steps". A correctly calibrated controller can efficiently tell the motor to move the cart a specific distance, and it WILL move that  distance! You can tell it to move a distance whether it is vertical or horizontal and have a variety of different payloads with confidence that it will move the correct distance (as long as you don't exceed that particular motor's payload capabilities).

Besides the obvious fact that your movement is predictable with stepper motors, regardless of changing payload and/or angle of the rail. One of the most important reasons to use stepper motors is REPEATABILITY. The same way that the stepper motor can move forward in precision "steps" it can also move in reverse that exact number of steps, so you can have the cart back in the original position it started from and even repeat the same routine it did previously. Below is a good demonstration of repeatability being used with a macro timelapse.

I want to add that all of this information is important in any case of motion control timelapse, not just linear motion. Emotimo has a very impressive Pan/tilt mount that uses repeatability using stepper motors and a Wii (style) controller to set keyframe points so you can plan out a movement in realtime and it will do the same routine you set when shooting timelapse . Here is another good example of how useful precision repeatability is with their rig. 

Feel free to contact me on any further questions or if I have any false information!  

All of the videos used in this article were embedded with the permission of the owners.

@media screen and (min-width: 641px) { article { width: 580px; margin: 0 auto; } }

Quest For Motion

Jesse Attanasio

My Quest

A little over a year ago, I decided to take the dive into motion control timelapse photography. At the time, the options I found were from Kessler and Dynamic Perception. Kessler was too large of an investment for something I didn't fully understand. I read a lot about Dynamic Perception's Stage Zero and watched plenty of tutorials and example videos to see how it works and what it could do. After a few back and fourth conversations with Randy Halverson (aka dakotalapse) I took the plunge and made my purchase of the Stage Zero system, but without the rail. Instead, I bought the rail from Amazon in three 2 foot sections and some adapter plates to connect them so I could break down my rail to travel or reduce weight.




Setup of Stage zero

It took me a while to learn how to appropriately control the MX2 and achieve the movements I was looking for, but in the end it was the D|P HELPER app that helped tremendously. I combined that app's calculations with a small ruler that can measure down to as little as 1/60th of an inch to establish true distance movement. This eliminates me having to calibrate the controller while doing certain angles or changing camera bodies or mounts. I usually calculate to overshoot a shot with the MX2. This assures me that the expected distance will be traveled. The result will at least cover the minimum amount of frames needed. 


Roughly 80 lbs. of camera and backpacking gear

After my backpacking trip in Alaska through the tundra I brought with me my Stage Zero system as well as all of my additional camera equipment. I realized it was incredibly straining on my back and shoulders to carry roughly 80 lbs. of camera and backpacking gear. I started to wonder if I should buy the Stage One dolly which is made for travel and can be broken down into sections as well. However, I couldn't justify buying a whole new dolly system yet.

Kickstarter campaigns for motion control timelapse systems started to take off. I began exploring other options for movement besides Dynamic Perception. Most of them had intuitive designs and ended up being successfully backed and produced, however they did not have any features that really stood out.


Setup shot of Chronos Lite using manfroto Magic arm

 I was lightly following the posts by Chris Field (aka Jack Ripper) on Timescapes.org for quite some time, but never read too far into Project Chronos. When Chris posted a teaser of the Chronos Lite rail on the Project Chronos Facebook page, I knew it was exactly what I was looking for. There are many videos on his Vimeo page demonstrating and explaining his Chronotimer and it's functions; specifically catering for timelapse. The Chronotimer and it's two dial system seemed easy to make adjustments, yet packed full with different ramping modes, repeat/reversal patterns and even a live ramping mode which I have never seen or heard of before.

I don't have the patience nor the expertise to build one of these systems. Therefore, I emailed Chris to order one as soon as I had the funds. Right out of the box, I plugged the motor into the controller, hooked up the battery, and did a run that took exactly 360 shots with 9 second intervals. It moved exactly 34 inches, and had a 30 percent symmetrical ramp and was moving 90 degrees vertical. This was amazing to me, because now I can spend more time achieving the composition I really want and ensure that my camera is correctly exposing the scene without feeling rushed.

Shot of canon 6d on Chronos Lite, taken with Canon T2i @ 11mm f2.8

Whenever I go on a trip or head out to do timelapse, I almost always pack both rails and all of my camera gear into my Jeep even though I normally only bring one camera body. I mostly reach for my Chronos Lite system due to its lightweight, easy setup, and built-in adjustable legs. It makes the motion side of things very simple and dependable for the correct amount of shots that will be taken within the distance I have selected. Previously, on my MX2, I neglected to apply ramping. I wanted to avoid miscalculation that could result in a poorly composed timelapse clip. With my Chronotimer, I can not only setup symetrical ramping with complete accuracy, but I can apply a asymmetrical ramp, which is awesome. To learn more about symmetrical and asymmetrical ramping with Chronotimer I suggest you check out this short video explaining how it works. 

Everything shown packs in or on the bag and total weight is roughly 25lbs

I would also like to add that I have knocked my total camera gear backpack weight down from roughly 40lbs to 25lbs. One of the biggest contributors to weight loss was my Chronos Lite. I since even added two more lenses, a set of LEE filters and sometimes even a laptop to my pack list.  I have been incredibly impressed with my Chronos Lite and the customer service that Chris provides.  Eventually I plan on selling my Stage Zero system and Merlin Pan/Tilt head to get another Chronos system or possibly another body.

Comparison Review

Comparison Review

@media screen and (min-width: 641px) { article { width: 580px; margin: 0 auto; } }

Coming Soon: Reviews for Timelapse Photographers

Jesse Attanasio

I am working on a couple reviews on some recent products I have gotten specifically for timelapse. I won't do lens or camera body reviews because I think there is plenty of that already on the internet. But I do have a few things that I think should be of some interest for fellow timelapse photographers or people interested in timelapse. To give a hint, I have been on a quest for keeping my gear lightweight without loosing ANY capabilities or comforts.

 First up I am writing a comparison review of two timelapse systems that I don't believe has been done yet. Dynamic Perceptions MX2 vs. The Chronocontroller by Project Chronos . I am leaving on a week and a half trip starting tomorrow so you can expect this review to be posted by the middle of June. 

From there I mostly have nonessential but incredibly helpful tools to anyone doing timelapse photography.




 Anyways, I have to get back to packing and Fedex just dropped off the Canon 6D from Borrowlenses.com so that will further my procrastination. 

ead to my Instagram and follow me to keep updated on my trip. I'm really hoping weather permits for some amazing astrophotography for my next video. 


@media screen and (min-width: 641px) { article { width: 580px; margin: 0 auto; } }