Kessler Crane: Smartlapse. Excellent tutorial on 3 axis smartlapse

Kessler Crane’s Smartlapse is a very clever addition to the Oracle Controller. It gives you the ability with the Oracle Controller and either the Pocket Dolly/ Cineslider and/ or Revolution head to program ramped and intricate timelapse moves simply by doing the move manually in real time with the Oracle controller and then getting it to play back at a MUCH slower rate. For example you can program a real time move that takes you  5 minutes to do (it’s best not to rush the real time movement, the slower you do it for the programming the smoother the end result will be) and then get the Smartlapse to play back at a much slower duration that you tell it to, as slow as you want really…days if you really want to but realistically a few hours.. have done an excellent tutorial on a complex 3 axis set up using a long 5 foot cineslider, revolution head and two Oracles. You need one Oracle for the Cineslider/ Pocket Dolly and one for the Revolution head.

The Smartlapse feature comes with all  new Oracle controllers and if you have an older one then it can be sent in for a free upgrade. It’s certainly worth it. Just click here and select Smartlapse Upgrade on the left menu.

3 Axis timelapse is epic and hard to do but it really is effective… but Smartlapse does not need to be used for just 3 axis stuff. If you have a PB Dolly/ Pocket Dolly/ Cineslider you can use it for really effective ramped timelapse movement, likewise with the Revolution head.

Anyway enjoy this superb tutorial below and I look forward to what Tobis achieves with this set up!

Kessler Crane SmartLapse 101 from SwissFilmmakers on Vimeo.

From Video showing how to use the new SmartLapse feature of the Oracle Controllers by Kessler Crane. SmartLapse allows you to easily do complicated 3-axis timelapses by recording the movements of the slider cart and the head.

I love this new feature, doing cool timelapses has never been easier.

Read written instructions here:

Gear used:

– CineSlider 5ft

– 2 Oracle Controllers with SmartLapse

– Electra Drive motor (500 version shown here)

– Revoloution Head

– 2 Manfrotto tripods (MPRO 536 carbon fibre 3-stage)

– Canon 5D Mark II

– Viewfactor Contineo Cage

– Anton Bauer Battery plate and battery

– Canon TC-80N3

– SmallHD DP6 monitor

Watch this space for example SmartLapses…

Eric Kessler himself has done the below smartlapse showing 3 axis movement. He has exaggerated it deliberately to show the possibilities (and ignore the 4 minutes of black at the end of the video as it’s an upload error). I will be doing my own Revolution head smartlapses as soon as I get the chance to take it somewhere interesting to make the most of it…

Left Turn Lapse from Kessler Crane on Vimeo.

FROM ERIC: Did this 3 axis Smart Lapse™ continuous motion (no shoot move shoot) move that took less than 10 min to set up and wow! Do the math even though continuous motion moving the thickness of a sheet of card stock during a 6 second exposure means no blur and no hassle. Loving this rig!! 31 inches of travel = 31,000 thousands of an inch. 3 hours of time = 10,800 seconds.

Divide 31,000 by 10,800 =2.87 thousands of an inch of travel per second. I had 6 second exposures so the cart moved 17 thousands while the shutter was open. The neat effect about continuous motion is that when doing long exposures back to back the photos blend from one to the next giving a very soft and smooth playback. This is harder to achieve when shooting with fast shutter and your photos spaced out or shoot move shoot method in short amounts of time because the distance moved between photos are too large giving playback a stop motion look.

ORACLE & elektraDRIVE Tutorial w/ Philip Bloom from Kessler Crane on Vimeo.


  1. It’s a pity that upgrade must be done in the hardware just for a software uprgade.
    I’m in France, so it would cost me a lot just for this, about 100 euros.
    It’s strange not to have an upgrade by some king of sync…

    So I won’t do this upgrade.

  2. This would be great if Kessler added 2 features:

    SD Card slot so you could load/store motion paths

    Computer software to create your own motion paths and store on those SD Cards… (this way you could match motion to 3D capable software)

    How about a custom SD card 3-axis Philip Bloom edition?

  3. Philip, do you know if it’s possible to controle one revolution head’s axis (pan per example), and cineslider for the available axis from one Oracle ?

    I know the whole control of Revolution head and cineslider needs 3 axis and 2 Oracle, but maybe using just one Head’s axis make it possible for one Oracle.

    I’m thinking about getting a revolution head, but the 2nd Oracle is a big extra cost.
    By the way, I see wee can rotate the joystick in addition to the up/down/right/left movement, do you know something about it ? Maybe it’s some kind of third axis…

    Sorry for all these questions, but you seams to know much more than me about all this.

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