High speed time lapse movies

These pictures were taken with an Olympus E-10 digital camera and the Time Machine. An optical sensor was arranged near the spout of a container suspended over an inverted champagne glass. The container was filled with milk and a valve was opened just enough to let a drop fall every two or three seconds. The Time Machine was programmed to wait 150 milliseconds after first detecting the drop, then fire two Vivitar model 285 flashes that were aimed at the base of the glass. After each exposure, the Time Machine waited 15 seconds to let the E-10 store the image, and then opened the shutter of the camera. When the next milk drop fell, an increment of .0005 seconds was automatically added to the previous delay setting and the milk drop was captured a little later. While these pictures are being taken you can stand back and watch, leaving the Time Machine to calculate every delay and take every picture. Or you might even leave the room and do something else. The Time Machine can be configured to take a predefined total number of pictures.

With the lights in the studio turned off, the Time Machine caused the E-10 to take about 100 automatic exposures in this way. The images were then taken to a personal computer and combined into a QuickTime move.

In the complete movie each frame is over 1,000 pixels wide and much more of the sequence is shown. But at over 8 megabytes in size, it's too large to display on a web site. This reduced version gives you an idea of what can be accomplished. It's interesting to drag the slider in the QuickTime toolbar back through the movie. You can see that, with a frame interval of .0005 seconds, you capture two frames as the drop enters the surface of the pool.

Click the arrow to play the soundtrack!
Kenny Sultan, "Crow Jane"


Since this movie was made in 2001, we have added a Drip Kit accessory for the Time Machine that makes it easy to create more complicated sequences of multiple drops. Click here to see a similar movie made with the Drip Kit.


Go back to the Time Machine