TimeLapse on the cheap

Filmmakers have traditionally used 35mm film to capture time-lapse footage - a process that proved costly in both time and money.

Filmmakers have traditionally used 35mm film to capture time-lapse footage – a process that proved costly in both time and money.

But Vancouver-based filmmaker Rene Beland of TimeLapse Digital has changed that with a cheaper, proprietary technology that captures motion-control time-lapse footage on a high-res digital still camera.

Going digital means Beland can work quickly and without a costly crew.

‘I can turn around the shot a lot faster than if it was shot on film,’ he says. Beland’s setup uses motorized pan, tilt, zoom and focus functions. ‘I just tell it to capture 300 frames per hour, do the calculations, and keep my hands off the camera.’

He then strings the frames together to create a broadcast-quality QuickTime movie, typically around 10 seconds long. Beland, who has also worked as a TV editor, does all his work in-house, color correcting and generating the final shot for clients.

The cost of his handiwork varies. Sunrise and sunset shots – such as the dazzling footage he shot for the opening sequence of CTV’s Robson Arms – are the most expensive, as they take the longest to capture. Other shots are composites of locations at both day and night, shot at different times.

Citytv Vancouver keeps him busy doing beauty shots around town for station interstitials. The Oxygen reality series Making It Big and the supernatural police procedural Touching Evil (USA Network) have also used his services.

Beland typically charges around $500 for a single shot, and around $1,500 for a full day’s shoot.

-www.timelapsedigital.com