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A Labour of Love

Phew! After a 9 month gestation I’m really quite tired! Just finished a dream assignment that was equal parts labour-of-love and torture! I work a lot for the University of Calgary and over time have been rewarded with many great assignments and huge creative freedom. This one set a record though. The assignment pretty much broke down to this: “there’s a conference in 9 months and we want to show a video about living & studying in Calgary. See you in July… Oh, and we’d really like the video to get people stoked about coming to Calgary.”
And so for the last 3 seasons I’ve been a tormented tourist with a shoot wishlist far beyond budgetary common sense and an endless anxiety that I just need one or two more shoots of this, oh and that, and what about there, and this would be cool too! Some times maybe you can have too much creative freedom?! But having licence to be a tourist at home is truly awesome. I’m not really a dog-sledding or horse rides kind of guy, can’t think when I last took a sightseeing gondola and am now hooked on watching the sun rise and set over my home town. The assignment inspired me to be a bit more curious & filled with wonder again and challenged me to just get out and shoot for the love of it; something it’s easy to lose sight of in the corporate lens-for-hire market.
Being an inveterate tinkerer, I also enjoyed the opportunity to develop some dolly technology, both for video shooting and for timelapses. I’m a regular reader of the HDSLR Collected blog and loved the look of timelapses shot from moving platforms. Being Scottish, the idea of a home construction project was appealing too. So, today I unveil my two latest products:

The HD Dolly (as in Home Depot)

I built a 3′ track that was followed shortly by an 8′ track which I LOVE. There are plenty of dolly moves in this video and most of the videos I’ve posted to vimeo over the last while. The track is simply made from two aluminum L beams bolted together.

The DollyDragger

Motorised timelpase is truly a thing of beauty. Sure, you can shoot hi-res and create a pan in post but the perspective change created by a true camera movement just can’t be beat. Don’t just listen to me – Vincent LaForet mandates it! While I love my DollyDragger, I’m pretty sure I’ll be investing in a Dynamic Perceptions rig if I have to do a lot more moving timelapse in the future. Yes, it’s a geared bbq rotisserie motor – moves the dolly 8′ in about 3 hours.