Timelapse film from the Set of Lucasfilm’s “Red Tails” using motorised sliders

I have just come back from Prague where I have been DPing the 2nd Unit DSLR part of the “Red Tails” pick ups.

Being the busy bee that I am, whilst doing that I also knocked off a few timelapses using the Canon 1DmkIV and my Nikon D3s. Lenses used were the Zeiss 21mm and 50mm, Canon 50mm F1.2 and 14mm F2.8.

The key to these timelapses though were my use of Kessler Cranes motorized slider. and the new V2 Pocket Dolly with the Elektra Drive Motor and Oracle Controller I did a variety of push ins or tracking timelapse shot. There were also 3 locked off shots with small digital zooms…The dolly moves were about 1 hour long each…but it varied. You can set the duration with the Oracle controller to whatever length you want…

I shot almost entirely in Aperture Priority mode due to the constant light change. I evened out the flickering with the plug in Time Collection Long Exposure from CHV electronics.

The Cineslider/ Pocket Dolly work in manual mode or with a motor. Also the motor does not just work timelapses you can also use them for repeated programmable normal speed moves or remote operation. It’s an incredibly well made genius piece of kit.

Big thanks to Lucasfilm for letting me post this and to all the crew. Big thanks to Rick McCallum as always and to my assistants Sebastian Wiegaertner and Nino Leitner

There is a little commentary track to play synced with the video, it’s below the vimeo embed…only press play on video when I tell you to. Play audio first!

Me, Sebastian, Nino and Rick

A full blog about the shoot and what I used including the modified PL 7D by Band Pro and the pimped up Zacuto 5D with Cage and all the trimmings will be along soon!

Watch on ipad/ iphone

Red Tails Timelapse commentary by PhilipBloom


      1. Thanks for the answer sorry I hadn’t listened to your commentary when I asked as I know realise the answer was on there.

        Looking forward to hearing about your modified 7D as a 7D owner

  1. The commentary is a great idea. Worked well here. The details appeal to the geek in me. It would be great if Vimeo would allow for optional audio tracks. I can see this as a great teaching tool. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Loved the slider effect and your choice of shots. Very dramatic when edited as nicely as you’ve done to the music.

    Excellent commentary. Thanks for the details, really helpful blog!

  3. That worked really well. Loved the commentary link up and good idea for separate audio tracks for Vimeo.

    The slider, although small and portable do add a lot I feel. Just a little bit of movement… feels like more, somehow.

  4. Excellent work. Appreciated the commentary. You could put up two videos, one with out the commentary and then another with commentary. You could just add the audio track in your Video Editing program and re-export the video file.

      1. 1. You would make your commentary track your primary audio track, but put it on track 2 or 3 of the editor.
        2. Place the video on the time line directly when you wanted the video to go.
        3. Have either a graphic or just an image in the timeline where the video isn’t moving at both the beginning and the end to cover the extra commentary audio.

        That should work just fine. On the other hand it was kind of fun to listen along and then hit play when you said “Now”. Just trying to be helpful. Really appreciate your blog.

          1. Yes. You definatly got me there and that wold be taking more time to upload and more storage space on Vimeo. Instead of Vimeo coming up with a solution perhaps Apple would be the better candidate and the option to have a commentary track would be an export option and it would make Quicktime Pro even more worthy of purchasing.

            1. To be honest I think the way you’ve done it is fantastic. I don’t mind you telling us to push play and stop, works for me. If you wanted to do it better, you could film yourself talking to camera and then cutaway to the edit when you push play, but this would be way more time consuming!

  5. That was a pretty kick-ass timelapse, Philip! Great work.
    I just ordered my a remote control for my 7D and will be doing my first timelapse very soon. Thanks for the tips on your other posts and the commentary on this one.

    Keep up the excellent work!

  6. Finding it quite funny how you have all these cameras and just leave them around in apartments and on sets recording timelapses…do you sometimes forget you’ve left one running somewhere?! Some serious multitasking going on there 😉

  7. Thank you for the great commentary! Can you share the technical info as far as interval time between exposures and distance traveled on the slider for each exposure?

  8. The commentary was great- a nice personal touch, really taking interaction up a notch. Great solution as well, so if we want to watch the video with or without we have the choice. Would love to see more of your stuff with this commentary feature. Thanks.

  9. Fantastic commentary!
    I thought your timelapse of a timelapse in your timelapse intervention film was just a joke… but you actually did it in this timelapse film!

    Motorised sliders definitely give that extra oomph to timelapses with movement of foreground objects in giving it depth… hhmmm motorised follow focus maybe next?

    Philip, are you still using the TC remote? I’m looking at some third party battery grips for the 7D on Ebay and some seem to have inbuilt TC/Inter that even claims to display battery life. Could be a gimmick, or could be something worth looking into. Actually, think I’m going to order myself one.

  10. Congratulations on hitting the 10th Million mark.. noticed it was on 10,000,144 when I visited so it must have happened within the last 2 minutes or so.

    A fantastic achievement….

    You are an inspiration to us!..


  11. Hi Philip,
    New here, and very thankful for all the info you post on your blog.
    Images are fantastic, as is your willingness to share you thoughts, ideas,

    Very much appreciated!

  12. Yeah, the commentary idea is great! It would be very nice to see it again in the future.
    But I think that it is better to hear to commentary after you’ve seen the video.
    Maybe like this it gives you the inside/backstage/tech info after seeing it in the emotional way.

    and by the way, great work as usual!

  13. Really liking what you’re doing with timelapse Philip. Keep it up. Looking forward to more audio commentary as well. Would be awesome to see some of your older videos updated with an optional commentary track.

  14. Not only are you very talented Mr. Bloom but you must be one the hardest working people on the face of this planet. Working on a set is hard but then making a film while making a film. excellent!

  15. Nice stuff, as always! I also think it’s kinda cool to hear you verbally cue up the video with the audio track… it’s very old school! I used to do stuff like that with tape recorders and my Dad’s 8mm film footage. Sometimes the simplest solution is the best one. Hehehe!

  16. Loved the commentary, it was great to hear it side by side and didn’t mind the way that you did it at all! It’d be nice to see this with more videos! As someone who learns greatly from all the information that you post, these help a tonne!

    Thank you!

  17. Fantastic stuff Phil – some great moves / shots…

    what is just as awesome is your audio commentary!! excellent Idea and look forward to hearing more of them ! great idea getting us to play the video in sync. Would love to hear them on your shorts / other works – challenges / what lenses you used – creative decisions etc. May even save you having to type up so much for your particularly long epic blog posts as well! ( although I do enjoy reading them at work! )

    Looking forward to more !



  18. Hey Philip, as I was watching again I thought of something cool that you may or may not have tried – but I would love to see someone do it. Since your rig is motorized, you could conceivably shoot with your slider at the same rate each time – therefore you could place the slider in different positions along a really long trajectory and the camera would move smoothly enough to transition from one motion shot to another. Imagine a dolly track where you have three pieces – you take the far right piece and move it to the left end, and keep doing that as long as you want until you’ve travelled as far as you want to go. You could do that same concept with the slider, and probably use the slider in places dolly track could never go! Then in edit just line up the first and last shot points (maybe with a bit of dissolve or position adjustment to cover any slight changes in angle/position from one slider position to the next) and string it all together into one smooth, long move. Don’t know if it’s been done or not, but it’s a cool concept, I think.

  19. Phillip,

    Could you write a bit about color correcting these pieces? Would very much appreciate knowing a little about your process (program, schemes, filters, etc.).

    Great stuff as always.


  20. Hey Philip congrats on all the success! I was wondering if you are shooting using a manual exposure or automatic or some aperture priority setting for this? Over all what is the best setting to be on in general for timelapse? Thanks for all of the info, it’s great fun pushing the envelope.

    1. cheers Mike. I mention in the blog I was AV setting. it’s always a tossup depending on the situation. i prefer manual but if the light changes like it did here a lot AV was best

  21. Nice peace!!… We are shotting 200m far away from you. We still shooting in Milovice (Boží Dar) our student post-apocalyptic movie with almost same equipment, Canon 7D :)…. but The budget is probably very different. It is big lucky accident 🙂 isn’t it??

  22. Beautiful shots, shades and colours. Philip, if I may ask about sun long exposure and timelapses – I wanted to do a timelapse of the Sun pointing the camera directly towards the Sun. Could you please say if such long exposure can damage the camera, I will use an ND filter. Thank you, Best!

  23. Beautiful work as always Mr Bloom. You mention you use CHV Long Exposure filter in FCP for deflicker. I can’t find any info anywhere on how this filter workflow works. Do you apply to still or video of still created in QT7 in FCP? Any help with workflow would be greatly appreciated by many.

    Kindest regards…

  24. Hi Philip,
    you seem to have a Tascam DR100 in your hands isn’t it ? I’m pretty sure you haven’t used in the movie, but let me ask you something. I just bough one of those (and have a T2i/550D), you just record separately and sync on the post or you use something to sync them?

  25. Hey Phil,

    This mood you have created is amazing! Could it be due to you using my fave soundtrack, possibly but really great work!

    Quick question because i know your always busy…

    I’ve noticed you using some primes of Zeiss and i’m Just wondering if the 5D can take them without vignetting or adapters as full frame lenses? And if so would the Zeiss range that Letus provide work with the 5D?

    Thanks mate! Keep up the visually stunning work and we’ll keep watching.

  26. Great work – the blog & the filmed stuff as well! Chapeau!
    You’re writing: I evened out the flickering with the plug in Time Collection Long Exposure from CHV electronics.
    Which off the tools did you use? Is there any software you know which gives you this kind of anti-flickering control while filming/capturing? Besides manually adjusting aperture?
    Greetz E.

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