Thursday, July 18, 2013

Time Lapse Video

The Toledo Museum of Art Glass Pavilion has an artist residency program called G.A.P.P. (Glass Artist Pavilion Project).  At first the artists in residence were all glass artists, but more recently they have been artists in other media who were interested in working with the glass artists on staff in the Pavilion.  The current artist in residence is Erwin Redl. He is perhaps best known for draping the Whitney Museum in red and blue lights for the 2002 Whitney Biennial, Redl works with tiny light-emitting diodes mounted in a grid to play with viewers’ perceptions of space and architecture.  For his project in the Pavilion, Erwin and the GP glass artists created a series of glass balls filled with red liquid.  These are suspended in an array inside a light well in the Pavilion that is open to the sky.  Since nearly all of the interior and exterior walls of the Pavilion are glass, visitors can see the balls moving in response to the wind.  The installation is titled "Floating."

My part in this came when Erwin requested that we create a time lapse video of the installation for the entire year that it is to be in place.  I had never done a time lapse video before, so this sounded like fun.  I started looking into cameras, and the first one that came to mind was a Go Pro Hero 3, which is advertised as shooting time lapse.  We bought one, I went through the manual and set up the camera on a tripod outside the light well, and let it run.  The next day I removed the card, uploaded the images, and found that it had only run for two hours.  It turns out that although it will function as a time lapse camera, the battery is only good for two hours under optimum conditions.  Go Pro Support said in response to my query that no, I shouldn't try to run it directly off a charger; it would overheat and could explode!  Great little camera, but not what we needed in this situation.

What to do?  I did a Google search for time lapse cameras and came up with the Brinno TLC 200.  It's a dedicated time lapse camera and it's battery life at the settings I wanted to use is two months!!!  It shoots 720p video and it's only $130.  (The GoPro, by the way, doesn't shoot time lapse video. It takes a series of still images which you then have to drop into the timeline in your editing software.  The Brinno gives you an AVI file.)
 It looks like a toy, but what a great little camera!  It's insanely easy to set up and accepts SDHC cards.  Here's a shot of the installation.  You can see the tripod with the Brinno in the air space at the back of the light well.

 I want to get a few more.  I can think of lots of things to do with them.  You can get attachments to turn it into a stop animation camera or a motion detection camera, and you can get a waterproof housing for it.

Here's the video.  The only problems are the occasional reflections that show the camera.

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