Inexpensive Camalapse enters the time-lapse video market
By Ben Coxworth
September 11, 2012
People really seem to like time-lapse video devices. In the past several months, the Genie, Radian, and Astro have all surpassed their Kickstarter funding goals. While those gizmos are presumably heading into production, however, the Camalapse is a similar product that’s available now. It may not have all the bells and whistles of the others, but that fact is reflected in its price tag.
All of the devices do pretty much the same basic thing – they slowly pan or tilt the user’s video camera, as that camera shoots at a very slow frame rate. The result is time-lapse video, in which the camera moves as opposed to sitting locked off. The footage can actually look quite impressive.
Some of the features offered by one or more of the Kickstarter devices include variable panning speed, and the ability to control the camera (or smartphone) via software built into the device.
The Camalapse doesn't concern itself with such things.
It offers a single speed of six degrees per minute. This is meted out into four time/rotation presets which the user can choose between, ranging from a 90-degree pan taking 15 minutes in real time, to 360 degrees in one hour. It is entirely mechanically-operated, so no batteries are required.
How much footage is recorded in the chosen time depends upon how many frames per second (or minute, even) the camera is shooting at. For that, the user is left to whatever settings are available on their camera, or whatever app they can find for their smartphone. Another option, of course, is to shoot in real time and then speed up the footage in editing.
The camera attaches to the device via a simple threaded stud on top – depending on the specific camera or smartphone, a tripod mounting adapter may be required. The Camalapse also has a threaded hole in the bottom, so it can itself be mounted on a tripod. It only pans from right to left, although clever types might experiment with turning it upside-down or sideways. Be aware, however, that it’s intended for small, light cameras and smartphones only.
The Camalapse is available at various retailers, and sells for US$25. Footage shot using it can be seen in the video below. Prices for the other, fancier time-lapse devices range from $150 to $999.