New Gear: Genie TimeLapse Controller

Posted on Jun 22, 2012 by Definition Magazine

The Genie Timelapse controller working with a Canon DSLRTimelapse photography makes Time Lords of us all and the rise of the DSLR has enabled the most humble photographer or videographer to try and master the bending of time and space – Newton and Einstein would definitely have bought DSLRs.

But the art of capturing the best timelapses is built on some inescapable and earth bound disciplines, mainly to do with continuous exposure and continuous stability. The ultimate examples are from the BBC’s Planet Earth Timelapse ( – see a fascinating 10 minute behind the scenes narrated by an impressed David Attenborough). This one minute sequence of the spring growth of an English wood took two years to complete at a cost that probably wouldn’t pass the BBC’s ‘cuts tsars’ today. Also if you haven’t already looked at Tom Lowe’s Timescapes which combines timelapses with documentary slow motion and is a stunning artistic and technical achievement go here ( You can even buy the movie in 4k resolution if you want and the have the required monitor.

With these examples to reach for Timelapse videography has saturated Vimeo and YouTube and inevitably the art of making these films has matured and demanded more movement in the frame. Historically adding this element has been expensive with pricey astronomy tools being used to pan and slide the camera across the sky in a pre-determinded arc. Maybe help is at hand for the rest of us who can’t afford such astronomical tools (and prices) in the guise of a couple of New Zealanders who have introduced a product to try and recreate this panning and linear movement at a fraction of the price.

Chris Thomson is an industrial designer and Ben Ryan is a film maker and through the promise of a sizeable investment through Kick Starter they have invented the Genie. Their concept consists of a box that moves a camera under its own power. It has two heads, one for panning and one for linear movement based on a rope track that can be attached to standard support equipment.

The Kick Started investment page and a video introducing the product is here ( As you can see from the investment break down they have over achieved their initial investment goal of $150,000 by about three times. The investment window ends on June 26th so be quick if you want to get a discounted Genie. (Investment price is $690 and retail will be $999).

The Genie’s features allow filmmakers to choose from a variety of presets, or users can create their own.  The device also has the ability to draw itself along a guided rope, either on a dolly track or cable-cam for landscape photography.


Apart from the two modes of filming the Genie also allows presets to be used, like stars or landscapes, definitely one for the timelapse newbie. You can also save your own preset. You can also preview your shot with a preview mode for last minute adjustments.

The inventors claim their experience with Motion Control equipment leads them to believe that some film makers are put off by the difficulty of achieving such shots mainly down to the bulkiness of the equipment but as you can see from the video the unit and accessories won’t take up too much space.

Other features include a smart phone app which allows full remote control and interface ports for light, motion and sound sensors.

The videos will tell you so much but the key is how its performs in a real situation. Investment packages also includes resellers options.

Genie – Motion Control Time Lapse Device from Syrp on Vimeo.


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