Outside In Dark Sky Time-lapse Shoot

Exciting news literally on the horizon…Colin Legg is embarking on a truly ambitious mission to capture stunning dark sky time-lapse footage in the wilds of Western Australia. He’s taking a truly amazing 5 camera rig using high-end DSLR’s and specialized electronics that will capture some of the best dark sky time-lapse footage ever made.

The fantastic part of this (for me) is that he is shooting 12 days of day & night time-lapse footage for Outside In and donating this work to the film. It’s an amazing gift as the footage I originally planned to use was just some stills stitched together – nice stills but pales in comparison of what now will be there.

The Rig with Milky Way: Photo Credit Colin Legg

Colin and I crossed paths on the interwebz via the Timescapes Forum – he was really excited about my film and I loved his work. So we begin chatting about possibilities of him helping the film. After some testing on my part and tons of work, planning and building on he and his team’s part, the expedition is finally a go!

THE SHOOT:

The plan is to shoot a 12 day continous sequence timelapse sequence, 6 days either side of the new moon. Changing light will be tracked as smoothly as possible in camera and all 5 cameras will fire together. Images from each camera will be stitched together to cover 195 degrees of sky. The sequence will be used for the key sequence in Outside In that shows the loss of the night sky over the entire history of human civilization.

THE EXPEDITION:

The shoot will take place in a dry lake bed, Lake Auld, that is basically in the middle of nowhere. It’s about 80 km from the nearest aboriginal community to get supplies and 160 km from nearest mining operation, so there should be zero light pollution.

Location of Shoot (credit Google Earth)

It’s far enough north to escape most southerly winter storm systems but far enough south to avoid tropical lows with a very high chance of clear skies. Of course, nothing is easy especially shooting in the wilds. There could be smoke from fires, sandstorms etc. but hopefully if those occur, they will be brief and maybe even incorporated into the film.

THE TIME-LAPSE RIG:

The rig is built using five Canon 5D Mark II DSLR cameras arranged to capture a full sky dome panoramic time lapse with sophisticated electronics and software to control the cameras during the shoot. The rig allows all camera to fire at once, manages the exposure as light changes from day to night to day. By using five 5 Canon 5D’s, it will give better resolution and lower noise than even 15/70mm film used in IMAX and other giant screen productions.

Colin has a lot of help from key people in pulling this off that I’m also very indebted to.

  • His wife Uta Bauer is a critical member of the team helping with everything Colin can’t handle.
  • David Gargadennec is talented photographer & collaborator on the project. He will be with Colin on the 12 day shoot for the Outside In sequence. He designed and built 5 camera mount, power systems and contributed post processing advice.
  • Thomas Bethell built an 8 camera bulb firing and monitoring micro-controller for the project. He is a pioneer in bulb ramping camera controllers for smoothly tracking light (sunrise/sunset/moonrise/moonset). You can read more about the building of this here.
  • Fred Bruenjes is the developer of Eclipse Orchestrator software used in adjusting camera settings and orchestrating and timing the 12 day sequence. He modified his software to Colin’s needs for the shoot.
  • Carsten Oehring –  Created custom power systems engineering to keep all 5 cameras and supporting gear running.

As I get updates from Colin, I will keep everyone posted. This is a very exciting part of the creation of the film.

 

 

 

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