chasejarvisTECH: Three Timelapse Toys

Timelapse shots have achieved ubiquity, yet it’s still a technique I get asked about on the reg. I’ve touched on the timelapse How-To in past posts, but I’m touching base again with a new look at what has become must-have.

I love using timelapse in my work. Alternating between real time, slo-mo and timelapse contributes to the temporal tug on the viewer, which keeps them present and guessing. Cloud movements and dipping suns over beautiful landscape is the norm, so we’re always looking to change up our style and try something a little different.

Adding camera movement is one way to do that. In the vid above, we use a slider, a motor, and a 5D to pull back and reveal some stunning Icelandic beauty. Keep the last in mind as I break down the equipment we used, because I come back to this again and again: more than the gear in your bag, it’s your vision and execution that matter most. In our case, we had Iceland’s ridiculously photogenic land and light working in our favor. Scouting the site, we found a cool ice formation and decided on a shot you don’t see daily. I’d say the gear we use is secondary. Which is why I’m mentioning it second.

Anatomy of a timelapse:

_Kessler Pocket Dolly v2.0
_Kessler Elektra Drive – set to slowest speed in “continuous mode.” The Elektra drive is the motor that moves the camera up/down the dolly, giving the shot movement.
_Intervalometer – set to shoot a picture every 3 seconds. We let that baby go for about 20 minutes.

Add’l equipment:

_Canon 5D Mark III
_Manfrotto support
_Viking 12 oz

You can see how we integrated timelapse footage into our Iceland edition of chasejarvisRAW. If you want more Iceland in your life, check out some of the stills that convinced us to put Iceland in our list of 10 Spots to restore your creative juices.

Music by Small Face.

22 Responses to chasejarvisTECH: Three Timelapse Toys

  1. Paul Richardson December 4, 2013 at 9:47 am #

    Looks like there’s a bit of flicker in your shots. As you use a Canon (doesn’t work on Nikon), hold down the DOF preview button, and screw the lens off about 15 degrees. This will lock the aperture at a set value.

    Basically the aperture is never exactly the same size between photos, so you end up getting small differences in exposure which cause the flicker.

    • chase jarvis December 4, 2013 at 5:27 pm #

      cool tip – will check it. most often use GoPro these days for timelapse unless cropping needed ;)

    • photokev / kevin db December 5, 2013 at 7:26 am #

      or shoot wide open, so there’s no aperture fluctuation… (then you lose on DOF unless that’s the effect you are going for / LRTimelapse can also rescue flickering)

      • Skunk December 5, 2013 at 11:03 am #

        Hey guise, Nikon shooter here. Even if I’m in manual ISO/aperture/shutter I still get some flickering. Any tips?

        • Marius Batman Viken December 8, 2013 at 2:02 am #

          Try saving it in post. Use a program like LR Timelapse ( to analyse everyshot. The program will mark/highlight the shot’s that stands out, then you bring those to e.g lightroom and fix the exposure settings (check out this tut. ->

          Hope this works out for you man! :)

    • Simon December 5, 2013 at 10:31 pm #

      You beat me to it… Arrgh.. :)

  2. Sander Huisman December 4, 2013 at 9:52 am #

    Thanks for posting Chase! I enjoy the behind the scenes :)

  3. Emiel December 4, 2013 at 9:52 am #

    The only piece of gear that I can actually afford right now is that can of Viking..

  4. jeremy earl mayhew December 4, 2013 at 10:17 am #

    v cool. couple of tech questions. why did you opt to go with the 5dmk3 being a nikon user, and knowing how the nikon has the sweet built in intervolometer (sp)? not that i’m judging, being that I sold a kidney and bought a 5dmk3 myself :-)

    secondly, what are you using to stitch the images together? there was alot of exposure stepping going on so i wasn’t sure if you just loaded them up in quicktime or used something like LRtimelapse?

    thanks again!

  5. Adam Simmons December 4, 2013 at 10:34 am #

    The Dynamic Perception products are much better and far cheaper. They also use commonly found aluminum rails that can be used to expand your system, for just a penny to Kessler’s dollar. Taped intervalometer, that’s pretty ghetto. Especially when using a premium priced gadget.

    • Chase December 11, 2013 at 9:41 am #

      adam. not sure if you’re a pro or just coming up but it’s actually way more common for the pros I know to use things like gaf tape and just get the shot and move on than have some fancy piece of bs gear to do every little thing. that’s just my experience. we have a lot of gear – but little widgets that do thing gaf tape can do are usually a waste of $ and time.

      that said – i will check out the Dynamic perception gear. not familiar with it… thx

  6. Axel Brunst December 4, 2013 at 11:51 am #

    Hey Chase, nice insight like always!

    you don’t trust MagicLantern for the intervalometer work?

    • Chase December 11, 2013 at 9:39 am #

      i like nikon for timelapse because their IV is worked into the camera controls. if using a canon – we roll just like outlined in this vid. not that i don’t trust the magiclantern i just don’t use it.

  7. faisal December 5, 2013 at 5:33 am #

    Some very expensive toys.

  8. David December 5, 2013 at 6:07 pm #

    If you can’t afford the Kessler or the Dynamic Perception gear you can build something functional for about a hundred dollars. Check out this video for the overall idea ( but just buy a slider rail (check out the “DryLin” line from Igus). Drill holes in the rail and tap the holes to attach it to your tripod (I put two holes in mine to attach a quick release plate). Drill a hole in the truck of the slider and get a tripod-sized screw (check Amazon) to attach a tripod head to the truck. Then find a 1 or 2rpm barbecue rotisserie motor (plenty of websites sell them) and attach that to the end of the slider. In the video he has it affixed to a little piece of wood on the end but on mine i just drilled a hole in the rail near the end and had the shaft of the motor stick up from below. Now just use a piece of fishing line to attach the truck to the motor and as the motor winds up the fishing line it will pull the truck along. I power the motor with a Radio Shack AC adapter hooked into a Paul Buff Vagabond battery pack. The AC adapter even has selectable voltages which I can use to vary the speed of the truck.

    • Chase December 11, 2013 at 9:38 am #

      thx for the notes on that david. will go check it out.

  9. foto trgovina January 8, 2014 at 7:12 am #

    David thanks for nice and simple idea. I’m gonna try to build one of my own from old printer parts.

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