Timelapse ideas for planetarium?
February 28, 2012 2:49 PM   Subscribe

Timelapse ideas for planetarium?

I work as an 3D animator for the Charles Hayden Planetarium. We recently got a Nikon D700 for doing timelapse photography. We use a fisheye lens so that a 180° shot can be achieved. Then footage can be projected in a planetarium. This camera can take up to 8 frames per second. Or with an intervalometer we can take a frame less often: every 1 second, 1 minute, 1 hour, etc...

So the important thing to keep in mind is that the camera must be pointed straight up.

Every time I think about timelapse, I remember the Planet Earth series with the shots of plants and animal patterns. Of course we plan on doing astrophotography. The nature photography has been inspirational.

Can you think of any environments that are ever-changing?
posted by supyo to Media & Arts (15 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Cloudscapes, particularly if there is an incoming storm front or other interesting weather patterns (like cumulonimbus development)
posted by jquinby at 2:56 PM on February 28, 2012

looking up at sunflowers turning to face the sun?
posted by sexyrobot at 3:01 PM on February 28, 2012

Blooms developing on an apple (or whatever) tree over a week

The tide going in and out (camera could be underwater for part of it)

Snow falling then getting shoveled or melting

Fast-growing vines (beans, hops, etc) growing over a structure

Flocks of birds moving around a tree/lake/something

Frost forming on a cold day
posted by thirteenkiller at 4:24 PM on February 28, 2012

The movement of clouds would be pretty awesome.

The movement of light through tree branches
posted by spunweb at 4:45 PM on February 28, 2012

I'd second the tides. Since you're in New York, perhaps the city lights and traffic, along with the tidal surges of the Hudson.

And tell your boss(?) Neil DeGrasse-Tyson that we all think he's awesome.
posted by Sunburnt at 6:27 PM on February 28, 2012

Oh, and if you can find a good spot, even if the camera is inverted, you could film some of the large open spaces inside the AMNH and Rose Center.
posted by Sunburnt at 6:31 PM on February 28, 2012

Oh, and filming the Sun at the North and South Poles is usually down with a similar camera pointing downwards onto a reflective hemisphere, but if you happen to have a travel budget, your camera (well insulated and heated!) would do the job better with its own lenses.

Last idea: "Paranormal Activity 4" Think about it.
posted by Sunburnt at 6:33 PM on February 28, 2012

FSM, I'm jealous of your job.

If you want to take a day trip out to Long Beach (45 minutes by LIRR, blocks to the beach), you could always do a nice summer day with the boardwalk above, the ocean in the distance, the sun racing overhead as you condense a day into less than a minute.

A tight inbound flight pattern of plans zooming overhead at JFK with the water in the distance (less than a 20 minute drive from LB), though you'll have to get some sort of approval for that, I assume, or otherwise be arrested as a terrorist.

Yankee stadium right in front of the pitcher's mound on the ground, use those 8 FPS to get a series of the windup, the pitch, the swing. If you get lucky with the timing, you might even get the ball mid flight. If it's a night game, maybe you'll get all those point and shoot cameras lighting up in the distance all around.

Grand Central during rush hour. Ideally, put the camera on the ground between the center booth and the steps to the balcony, about one third of the way from the center booth, so two thirds from the balcony steps. You'll get people going up and down the steps, hanging out, you'll get people buying tickets to the south and people running to catch their trains to the north. (I think I've got my directions right, I'm not a metro north sort of person.)

What's the museum with the huge dinosaur in the lobby?

On the ground in the Times Square pedestrian area for a night.

Last thing I can think of off the top of my head for 180 degree fisheye photography with the lens straight up (though I'm fairly certain you can do other orientations, sure it will be weird for people sitting in seats looking up to be "looking at a scene sideways" but photography does that all the time, e.g., I take a picture with my camera aimed down at my feet and then print it and hang it on the wall, I'm off by 90 degrees) is find a nice bridge, probably the Brooklyn Bridge, but super cliche. Get the camera up (ever hear of pole panos? it's an option if you can't find a place to get to yourself) and and try and get the bridge going out in the distance on a third of the frame, ideally so you can see traffic going across and the skyline in the distance, the water in between and let that run for several hours or a day even.
posted by Brian Puccio at 6:37 PM on February 28, 2012

How about a truck stop in the Midwest, with big open sky and sunshine and occasional clouds and trucks coming and going, lights coming on, stars coming out, etc.
posted by thirteenkiller at 7:48 PM on February 28, 2012

Put it on the ground amid tomato plants and watch as fruit sets on, grows, and turns red.
posted by thirteenkiller at 7:55 PM on February 28, 2012

Capture a day's worth of a pendulum's motion or several days worth of the shadow of a tower or flag pole.

Go up to the Bronx Zoo and make a long study of where certain animals walk/swim/crawl in their enclosures. Similarly, if you could find a high perch, capture the foot & bike traffic going through Central Park.

Depending on how well the camera handles low light, mount it near a movie screen and capture the light playing over an audience throughout a whole movie. (I expect it would look like blue firelight flickering across their faces.)

Can you get to a warehouse shopping club or other high-traffic store? It would be fun to watch piles of goods be built up, then shrink as shoppers buy stuff, then be rebuilt.

Are there visible public works projects you could capture from inside the boundaries where normal people are excluded?
posted by wenestvedt at 6:49 AM on February 29, 2012

Can you do anything with the planes onboard the Intrepid? Or OH WAIT WAIT WAIT, what about the arrival of the Space Shuttle Orbiter Enterprise this summer?!?!?

See http://www.intrepidmuseum.org/shuttle/
posted by wenestvedt at 6:50 AM on February 29, 2012

Nevermind, it looks like I (and Sunburnt) were thinking of the Hayden Planetarium, not the Charles Hayden Planetarium at the Boston Museum of Science. Please ignore all of my NY-centric responses.
posted by Brian Puccio at 6:50 AM on February 29, 2012

Oops, looks like wenestvedt thought the same thing. Maybe you should just take a trip to NY.
posted by Brian Puccio at 6:51 AM on February 29, 2012

What about getting the rise of the planets and their movement in the sky this week? Aren't Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, and Mercury supposed to be unusually bright? I could be wrong tho...

Anyway, here's a weekly update for the sky this week:


Here's Nat Geo's discussion about bright stars and the five bright planets:

posted by spunweb at 10:41 AM on February 29, 2012

« Older Need to put my dog on a diet   |   Bat meet Cat; Cat don't play with Bat! Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.