Skypole – Aerial Platform for Time-lapse & Filming
We use the Skypole a lot for our aerial filming & time-lapse projects. This is the ideal setup when we need to ensure a stable and secure remote camera platform for a top view camera angle. This is a weather-proof heavy duty telescopic platform that can support a payload of up to 20 kg.
The Skypole is a versatile tool that goes beyond its intended utility as a support system for professional camera set-up. You can optically use it as a lighting stand too. For greater mobility, a set of quick release front and rear wheels comes with the Skypole. These can be quickly detached. Built out of corrosion resistant anodized aluminum as well as stainless steel components, the system can survive a considerable amount of abuse over a period of time without any issues. You can pretty much set it up and leave it on its own for an extended period of time, absolutely worry-free.
Assemble the Base Frame & mount the Skypole
The base frame is not necessary for short-term filming work if you are attending to it. But for long-term time-lapse, we mount the Skypole on a steel base frame. The 300kg frame doubles up as the supporting and mounting structure on which the Skypole is securely mounted. The extendable legs come with adjustable stretchers. We adjust the stretchers on the Skypole until it is perfectly level to the ground, like a tripod.
Mount the Time-lapse Camera
The next step is to mount the Titan2 time-lapse camera and adjust the camera settings. The Titan2 is a DSLR based time-lapse camera system that works with most Canon & Nikon DSLRs. We set the camera to shoot in 18 megapixels resolution. This will produce a 4K video resolution which is ideal for time-lapse videos. Settings need to be dialed in depending on the requirements of the time-lapse footage as well as the specific look. For this 2-year project, the camera shooting interval is set to 15 minutes per frame.
Selecting the Power Unit
The Titan2 time-lapse camera can be powered by AC or solar panels. We use solar power for most of our time-lapse cameras because they are mostly situated outdoor in remote locations. The solar panel is set to face the western sky to get the most afternoon sunlight. The next step is to attach the solar panel to the time-lapse camera so that it has an uninterrupted source of power for the entire duration of the time-lapse shoot. In most cases, the solar panels is placed above the Titan2 camera. However, this is not recommended on the Skypole because the extra weight and “wind-catching” surface area will create more unwanted movement. Therefore, we installed the solar panel at the base of the Skypole, facing the western afternoon sun.
Erecting the Skypole
Next, we raise the Skypole to its intended height. To do this, a 12V battery needs to be attached to the pneumatic pump. As the Skypole raises, its auto-locking section brackets root out any chances of a sudden descent. The pump will slowly raise the Skypole to its intending working height. The maximum working height of the Skypole is 9 meters or 12 meters, depending on the model. That’s the equivalent of a 3 or 4-storey building, which is ideal for most time-lapse projects. The DC compressor can fully extend the Skypole to its maximum height in about 2 minutes.
Finally, we tighten the supporting cables from the top of the Skypole to the steel base frame. With the 3-tie down ropes and heavy steel base, the Skypole can be secured even in windy conditions. The entire process of installation takes just about 1.5 hours.