Although timelapses are getting a bit played out to some, that wont stop epics like the one above grabbing almost 4 minutes of your life as you sit there in awe. They may be on their way out but honestly they are still a great filler as b-roll or dedicated project like Tom Lowe has done with his film TimeScapes. A neat fact that because the time lapses created by digital cameras are beyond HD due to the fact that they have such high resolution, Tom Lowe offers his movie for example as a 4K download.
Do you want to join the party? Yes you say? Well here are a couple of Kickstarter projects that will help you create beautiful time lapses.
Kickstarter is the gear heads as indie music is to hipsters and they are making it easy for small companies to bring their dreams to real life. The two projects that I will be highlighting are the Astro and the Radian. These two devices are very similar and have been announced close to the same time.
The Astro has actually already met its goal but still has over a month until the project is officially backed. The materials used are anodized aluminum and molded rubber, it is also quite small at 3.15″ across and 1.18″ tall. The product is basically a puck shaped device that has 3 rings in the center. These rings allow you to set duration, range of motion and interval at which the photos will be taken. The duration can be set from 15 minutes all the way up to 12 hours. The range of motion is from 0 – 360° and can do a maximum of 30° per second. Two buttons on the bottom of the Astro will control movement in either counter clockwise or clockwise motion.
An included cable will come with the Astro will allow you to connect the device to your camera. Once connected the Astro will control your camera for the set duration. In the video above the creators give some examples of time lapses recorded using the device including the settings used.
The device weighs about a half pound and can hold up to 11 pounds of equipment. It is run on 2 AA batteries which is nice because they can easily be found or bought anywhere. A smartphone app is in production as well but so far has not been demonstrated. They say that it will have various basic and advanced features. Astro seems to be compatible with all major brands that support a remote input and is included in the package.
Astro will ship around December after it is successfully funded in about a month. A silver Astro is currently going for $180, more information can be found here.
The Radian was actually second to the scene following Astro just a couple days after on Kickstarter. Radian on the other hand is in a different funding boat than its competitor. Radian has just under a month and has yet to meet funding, this is mostly due to the fact that the creators are looking for close to 180,000 to fund the project compared to Astros’s measly 50,000. I have actually backed this project, not because it is better but because of the special early bird price of $125 which I was able to get.
Radian offers several if not all of the features that Astro above offers, like I said they are very similar. Radian although isn’t controlled by 3 rings it is instead controlled by Android or iOS devices. An app will be available for both systems and will only be able to be controlled externally. A device thats only able to be controlled by the phone isn’t a bad thing at all, you just have to make sure you always have a charged phone to start the time lapse. An app for both the Astro and Radian will means both can add features anytime to the devices without changing the hardware. If a good request comes though it can be implemented and available to everyone at no charge.
With the Radian you just have to change the settings in the phone app, plug into the device with the included cable. click start and then disconnect your phone. This way your phone isn’t locked down or become unavailable to passing the time.
Radian is being sold as a device that is able to pan and tilt, meaning if you have a L-bracket you could pan the unit plus camera vertically up and down instead of just left and right. The panning load is 15 pounds and the tilt load is about 4 pounds. The weight is a bit less than the Astro at 8 ounces or 225 grams but is a but larger at 4.57″ across and 1.77″ tall.
The interesting fact that is included with the Radian and not the Astro is how small the increments of movement are. The Radian is advertised as having 29,000 discrete positions per 360°, this comes down to a shot every 6 seconds for a full revolution over 24 hours.
Radian is expected to built and shipped in December and is currently going for $150 each. More on their project here.
Although AA batteries aren’t very green they are very easy to find, that along with the ability to control the unit without another device are strong advantages for the Astro camp. Buying on kickstarter is a risk but investing money in a product that may never reach a goal is just a waste of hope and time. Good thing that another advantage of Astro is the fact that its already funded and ready to go in about a month, thats something we cant say for Radian.
Radian does have a few features unique to it, of course these are products that can change at any time but so far here are a few advantages for Radian. You can use the Radian on a flat surface without a tripod, for example use it on a desk or countertop. Bulb tamping for smooth night -day-night transitions (this is currently only available for Canon cameras). They have also added the ability to run the device off of a USB rechargeable battery pack, they say that by doing this will allow the device to run for multiple days. An advantage for the Radian is the fact that an app has already been demonstrated and works, we have yet to see the app from Astro.
Have I missed something? Let me know! I am excited to receive my time lapse device and if you are interested in why I chose the Radian over the Astro it was just the simple fact that I wanted to save some money, I’m cheap… sue me. I do think the Astro is brilliant and do want some sort of physical control or dial. If my backed project does become successful I will surely do a review when I receive it!
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