Behind the time lapse camera

By Phil Plait | December 3, 2011 7:00 am

Randy Halverson is a photographer who makes lovely time lapse videos of the sky (like Tempest and Orion and Sub Zero). I love these videos, with their dramatic music and compelling depiction of the moving night sky… but what’s it look like behind the scenes?

Randy just put up a short clip from an upcoming release, showing what it looks like to stand behind the camera while it’s shooting one of these videos:

It’s a time lapse of a time lapse! Welcome to Inception.

Tip o’ the lens cap to Randy Halverson on Google+

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Astronomy, Cool stuff

Comments (12)

  1. Chris

    Can’t wait for the time lapse of the time lapse of the time lapse.

  2. Rob

    whoa, a time lapse of a time lapse….

  3. db26

    This will certainly lead to a paradox.

  4. Chris, I think you’ve got your (time lapse)^3 right there!

    There are three shots in the video, taken by three cameras. Camera A takes the first shot, in which we see two other cameras (we never see Camera A). Camera B is the foreground camera on the flatter track in the video’s first shot. Camera C is the background camera on the tilted track in the video’s first shot.

    So Shot 1 is a time-lapse video of B and C shot by A. Shot 2 is a time-lapse video of C shot by B. and Shot 3 is a time-lapse video of the sky shot by C. Time lapse^3!

    Cool! Although I could be wrong.

  5. JohnDoe

    Can anyone tell me why the start page is almost always stuck at an old embedded Video for me? Currently, it’s _always_ the ISS Timelapse at . In the page with just the posting, the proper video is embedded, in this case

  6. tcoreyb

    Phil, I love how your site brings these beautiful images together for those of us who love space. Between this kind of video, capturing long periods of time and compressing it, and stuff like Thierry does, capturing instantaneous juxtapositions and preserving them in time….

    It’s far and away the best source, web or traditional, that I have found for bringing the uncanny wonder and beauty of astronomy to the average reader. Thanks so much for what you do (and to the cadres of professional and amateur astronomers who spend their time doing it) !

  7. Brian MacDougall

    Brian is correct. There are three sliders.

  8. There were 3 cameras shooting. The first camera and first shot in the clip, was on a tripod. It was shooting both dollies. The 2nd camera was on a dolly and shooting the 3rd camera which was also on a dolly and shooting the Milky Way.

  9. Jim Saul

    These are so breathtakingly beautiful. Congress should be forced to screen one of these before every science funding vote.

    I assume the cover is mainly for protection from dew… are you also using heater straps around the lens?

  10. Jim, yes, they are for dew. I use disposable hand warmers held on with a rubber band around the lens, to keep dew off the lens. Thanks!

  11. snarl

    I’m seconding tcoreyb’s thanks. first off, sharing and pointing us to these remarkable time-lapse photographers is much appreciated; almost every one is astounding and awesome. More importantly to me, as just a layman with sparse high-school science education, Phil’s explanation of some of the things happening or being revealed in a lot of the footage of the sky is particularly interesting, revealing and helpful.

  12. Stan9fromouterspace

    We need to go deeper: TIME-LAPSEPTION


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